Smelly Socks: Five goals to accomplish this year

By Anita Spisak
Jan. 10, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 9, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.

City Life

The year I turned 20, I made a list of 20 things I wanted to accomplish that year, and, every December since then, I continue to make that list. The list of 20 may be silly or serious, but I look at them as goals and not resolutions. I don't treat them as resolutions because I believe that resolutions kind of force you to do things that you really don't want to do but feel you have to do (i.e. exercise, quit smoking, etc.) to make yourself new for the New Year, and often resolutions are not kept.

These goals consist of things like learning how to play backgammon, making a pecan pie for the first time, taking a trip to a foreign country (Norway made the list one year), trying Scotch for the first time and, yes, losing weight. These are things I really want to do to either better myself or branch out of my comfort zone. However, depending on the year, means and time, some of these get accomplished and some don't.

This year, since Adam is now 6 and Charlie is 3, I've decided to introduce them to this concept. They may not fully understand what I am trying to teach them, but I hope that by introducing them to this idea and putting it down on paper every December for the new year ahead, it will be something that sticks with them for the future. Whether these goals are small or large, if they (or I) write them down on paper, they will be more visible and therefore more attainable, especially for Adam. For Charlie, I think I'll draw his goals.

This December, I sat down with Adam and asked him what five things he would like to do in this coming year. After much thought on his part and some explanation on my part of how this actually works, he came up with the following:

1. To build a Legos castle and send it to the Legos Jr. Magazine so they publish it in one of their issues.

2. Learn how to play tennis.

3. Be nicer to my brother.

4. Go to my first Chicago Bulls game.

5. Go downtown and see the Sears Tower (No, it's not the Willis Tower, and it never will be in the Spisak household).

Now, I'm going to print it up and scotch tape it to his bedroom door so that he sees it and is reminded of it daily. To me, it's not so important that he actually does all of them. It would be nice, but in all honesty, I'll be happy if he does two of them. Heck, I don't even accomplish all of my goals. But what is important is that he realizes what they represent - a starter set of goals that, if you put your mind to it and remind yourself of them daily or even weekly, they can be achieved.

I then went to Charlie and asked him if he could come up with three things that he would like to do this year. Of course, I know that he doesn't fully understand the concept, but I don't think it's ever too early to start.

This is what Charlie came up with:

1. Play with Lucy and Linus more (our yellow and black labs) - for that I drew a picture of Linus and Lucy playing with Charlie and a ball.

2. Ride his bike outside - a picture of Charlie riding outside with his tricycle.

3. Play more with Legos.

So, the big question remains: Will they accomplish their goals? Will I? Well, that remains to be seen. We don't know what the year holds in store for us. As I always tell the boys, try your best and hope to succeed.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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