How I Make Goals for My Kids (Printable)

When the new year comes, it takes me a couple of weeks to sift through all the aspirational goals to reach the point of, “Now this is what I’m really going to do.”

Goals have to be short and basic, not a long list. You have to be able to easily say your goals from memory, if you’re going to really do them.

I plan goals for my kids using a simple approach I learned from the book Desperate Households by Kathy Peel. It starts with the Bible verse, Luke 2:52 (NIV):

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

This one sentence focuses on growth in four essential areas: intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social.

I use it as a framework to purposely choose ways that I can encourage growth in each of these areas. Because it’s just one sentence, it’s easy for me to remember, and I can tailor my plans for each kid.

(It works for grown-ups, too.)

I made a printable if you want to do it too:

Kids’ goals printable pdf

Kids’ goals printable pdf (two on a page)

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I have found that the number one way for me to accomplish my goals is to write them down. You are so right that we can extend this to our children. We sort of have these ideas “up in our heads,” but putting them on paper is galvanizing.

    Thank you!
    Jeannine´s last post…Sewing a First Communion Dress – 1

  2. I like how simple this is, simple but effective.
    Jennifer Spadaro´s last post…Decorating Open Storage

  3. I love this. I kept my goals simple as well. I named one goal (or focus area) for each month. I think it’s true, if you have a long list of goals, it’s just another to-do list that ends up collecting dust on your desk. Keeping it simple helps me to remember my focus is X so each day I’m able to remind myself and not have to refer to lengthy and overwhelming list of tasks. Thanks for the printable, I’m going to use it for my son!
    Mel@MySunshine´s last post…January Focus: 21 Day Yoga Journal Challenge

  4. That is the same scripture I use to guide my personal goal evaluations! I love the printables, thanks!

    I find that my goals tend to be big and long term (e.g. graduate from college) so when I write them down I also break them down into smaller, short term goals (e.g. pass English class > schedule homework appointments and keep them). That way I have small goals that I can focus on everyday and know that I am making progress towards my bigger goals.
    Ryann´s last post…A Tupperware Wish

  5. I really, really like this. Thanks for posting!
    Rachel´s last post…Merry Christmas to me, 15 days later

  6. I love setting goals. It gives me fresh motivation and helps steer me in the direction I want to go. I’m learning as I get older to get more specific–I used to set broad goals that were difficult to montior progress. My kids are still a bit young for this, but I love the idea! I wonder…did they participate in the goal making, too?

    Great chart!
    Meaghan´s last post…Comment on The Lost Art of Cooking At Home by Kathleen

    • I think they’ll participate and set their own goals when they’re a little older. Right now I’m the one who brainstorms goals. Their goals would be something more like “eat more candy canes.”

  7. I just read that verse this morning! wow! Thank you for sharing how you’ve applied it to your children, because after all, we are the likeness of him and what a simple framework to use to encourage growth in those four areas. Along with that verse, I recently read Psalm 78:72 which says He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands. (my prayer as I mother them). Great post..printing printable now.

  8. I love this too! I’d never thought about making goals for Eleanor, but it’s a great idea.
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Review: Haiti: After the Earthquake

  9. Always the best ideas, always!
    Amy Sullivan´s last post…When You Find God in Surprising Places

  10. Great post! Like Meaghan, I’d also be curious to know whether your little ones participate in the goal choosing and/or evaluation at the end of the year? Thanks for sharing your chart!
    Danielle´s last post…Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful

  11. Love it.

  12. Can I suggest that this is one category of paper that you not ever declutter? I have a file of these kinds of things for our now grown and nearly-grown kids. It does a mom’s heart good to look back now and then see how far they’ve come.
    Lori´s last post…{pretty, happy, funny, real} Decluttering the bathroom edition

  13. You have to be one of the best mom’s out there!!
    Donna´s last post…Sneak Peek: Striped Zig Zag Quilt

  14. We used this verse while homeschooling for the same reason, to set goals for our kid’s progress, but this is a great short,but sweet way to do so. I love Kathy Peel, but had never heard of this book before. I have 4 or 5 of her earlier books!
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…9 posts for the overwhelmed and overworked

  15. This is exactly how I make my goals: using the same words and everything. I got it from a girl I admired in high school, and it really changed how I saw and made goals.

    My favorite part is that it is a constant reminder to become like Jesus, who based on this verse alone, was a well-rounded individual. Everything we do, even if it is something social and not spiritual, can bring us closer to Christ, if we do it in the spirit of becoming like Him.

    Thank you for the reminder; I need to do this for 2012.
    Jennie´s last post…Simplicity as a Mantra

  16. THANK YOU! Your blog has been a blessing to me ever since I started reading it about 6 months ago. These short, simple and to the point goals are exactly what I needed to keep me focused and on track in raising my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Thank you for including the easy to print pdf file.

    God bless you and yours.

  17. Ok, could the photos be any more splendido ! I am also going to pinch your idea if that’s ok. In our house, myself and my girl are working on positive self-affirmations…

  18. So simple and beautiful, as usual! Love the photos of your sweet kidlets running amok in the leaves. :)
    Thanks, Rachel!

  19. I did the same kind of thing this year for my own yearly project. My 2012 project is called “The Year of the Stripper”! I have it broken down in to goals for my home, my body, my lifestyle, and spiritual life. I love it when everything is working together to accomplish something. My two teenage sons are a bit mortified about the “Stripping” title, but oh well! :)
    They make goals for themselves now and they do it in the same way, so that they have a plan for progress in their lives. One of them is good at it and works on it, the other one? not so much.
    I often send people to posts that you have when they have questions about things that you have already so eloquently written about – no need for me to reinvent the wheel so to speak! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Diane´s last post…A minimalist? What was I thinking?

  20. That’s so lovely! Thank you; I can hardly turn my printer on fast enough…I’ve had things rattling around in my head to work on with my daughter, but this will definitely add just the right pinch of structure. Again, thank you, thank you.
    MK Jorgenson´s last post…Political Evangelism

  21. thanks for this reminder – i tend to think of long, long lists of goals (both for myself and my kids).

  22. This is a great idea! As an atheist family I think I will replace Spiritual with Music (both my daughters are interested in music and instruments). But I love the idea of posting these goals somewhere so that the kids can focus.

  23. We used to do this when my kids were younger and we were homeschooling. I had forgotten all about it. It was so easy to plug individual goals into this framework, rather than start from scratch every year. I think I will sit down this weekend and make a Family Goals chart. Thanks for the reminder!

  24. So cute.
    I’m always hoping that folks will post “teachable moments” on our linky party since raising kids is even more important than a great recipe or even the cutest decor idea.

    I think this is perfect.
    Would you please consider adding it to our linky party?
    (It’s still open.)

    All the best,
    Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D´s last post…Friday FREE-FOR ALL! (Linky Party #7)

  25. Love this. Don’t you just love it when God tells us just what to do? It makes things so much simpler…

  26. I hadn’t thought much about making goals for my two-year old but I think it’s great especially since you’ve made it so simple. Thanks for the idea and the printout.

  27. Super appreciate this! I was feeling anxious today about what my focus needs to be in my parenting and this is a great SIMPLE tool! Thanks!

  28. I love this idea and printable! I always make it too difficult and then it seems that none of it gets accomplished.

  29. I feel that it’s super important for people (kids included) to make goals for themselves.
    Wendy´s last post…New Shavees for St. Baldrick’s

  30. Katie Anne says:

    I love this idea, but would love a customizable version! We alternate subjects, and being able to switch around the headings and even the quote would be fun.