“A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan next week” General George S. Patton

I am an obsessive planner.  Some of them actually happen.  Many don’t.  But I can say that I’ve managed to accomplish FAR more by making and working towards goals in different areas of my life than I would otherwise.

This might possibly be the most important post you read and do this summer.  We are in a 2 week stretch in our Student Ministry where we are helping our students think about how to intentionally use their time this summer to move forward in various aspects of their lives.  There’s no reason this couldn’t be a family exercise.  As a matter of fact, I cannot think of anything better for you to do with your kids than MODEL intentional growth in your spiritual life, and sometimes learning how to intentionally grow in other areas helps set the patterns for our spiritual life.

So here’s a little chart that each person in your family can think through and share with one another.  Before you click, as an expert planner, and an expert at failing to follow through on many of my plans, let me give you a couple of thoughts that will help you and your family actually succeed at your goals:

  1. If you have too many goals, you’re more likely to fail across the board.  There are six areas on this worksheet.  Don’t feel obligated to fill them all out.  Or, maybe you should fill them all out and then pick the TWO you are most passionate to tackle.
  2. An end of summer goal should be challenging, but reasonable.  You can go a long way towards developing a habit in the next two months, but you’re not going to revolutionize your physique or memorize the book of Romans between now and then.  Think of where you would like to be in these areas by Christmas.  Your Summer Growth Plan should really help you get on that path.  If you can manage a new habit in the unpredictable chaos of summer, you’ll be a pro when you get back into the routine filled fall.
  3. Your goal should consist of daily (or multiple) very doable baby steps.  The steps should be different than what you’re currently doing, but small enough to be manageable and somewhat enjoyable.
  4. Reward yourself every day you take your daily step.  I recommend chocolate.  Even for losing weight.  Especially for Bible reading, memorization, or witnessing.
  5. Find a partner or family member to share your plan.  Secret goals are goals we don’t actually plan to accomplish.
  6. Success gives momentum for success.  That’s why you should pick just one or two areas.  If you succeed in them, you’ll have developed the skill and confidence to tackle the other areas next!

OK, that’s enough.  Have fun!

Summer Growth Plan