New beginnings have started for most North American students. Most American students returned to school last week and Canadian students return this week.

The first days of school are always exciting. Everything is new. New shoes, binders, back pack and pens (and pencils for math class)! Even for the kids that don’t really like school the first week is always exciting!

How can we all take advantage of this excitement with its sense of newness?

Why not set some goals or revisit the ones you have forgotten about?

If you haven’t set any goals for this year, there is still time. There are 4 months left in the year. Ask yourself, where do you want to be by January 1st? What areas do you want to grow in? What relationships do you want develop?

Over the years, I have created different goals at the beginning of the year; I have also heard of different ways to organize your goals. Here are the 7 areas I have personally set goals in, and perhaps this might give you some ideas of where to start:

1. Career
Whatever you do for a living, you can do it better or be more productive. In what one or two areas do you want to develop in before the year’s end? Look for a course in that area, a conference or find a few books.

2. Financial
Do you want to take a vacation? Get out of debt or set up an emergency fund? Maybe it’s time to set up a budget! I use Excel as a tool to track my budget. Or if you are old fashioned, a good old pen and notebook will do the trick too.

3. Spiritual
Do you want to be more like Jesus? What can you do to grow? Try setting a goal for a daily devotional time or to read a few books on a particular subject.

4. Physical
After a summer of BBQs, camping trips and block parties, it might be time to shape up! Do you want to lose some weight or perhaps gain some? Maybe you want to lift more weights or run a longer distance? Even if your first goal is to find your running shoes, you are moving in the right direction!

5. Intellectual
Your mind is always capable of learning and growing. Want to learn, read. Is there a topic you are eager to learn more about? Maybe find a book or two in that area to read.

6. Family
If you have a spouse and children, time is the greatest gift you can give them. Set a goal that gives life and health to your family life. Maybe plan a family night each week.

7. Social
It’s fun to make new friends! Do you want to meet new people or join a club? Do it.

Write them down and share them with a few close friends or your spouse.

In 4 months, you can be a better you. Start this week and set some goals to start moving in the right direction.

What goals are you setting to end the year off strong?