Goals and Challenges in the New Year

Yom Kippur has a unique rhythm all its own. When we begin Yom Kippur, our focus is on different ways we’ve messed up in the past year. As the day goes on, the focus shifts – and we imagine ourselves growing into a better person. We imagine the world as a better place, with each of us playing an important role.

Here are some activities that challenge us to be our best selves – to be kind to our family, to encourage others and ourselves, and to set goals for the new year.


Hands On!

Create a Kindness Wheel

Yom Kippur is a great time to think about ways
to show kindness to the people we care about.
Here’s a craft to help encourage the process.


  • Paper plates
  • Markers or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Brass paper fastener
  • Piece of thin cardboard

Using the marker or crayon, divide the back of the paper plate into pie-shaped wedges. Write one person’s name inside each wedge. Cut an arrow shape out of the thin cardboard and use the brass fastener to attach it to the center of the plate. Spin the arrow, see whose name it lands on, and then decide on an act of kindness to do for that person. Repeat often.

Make Your Own Sticky-Note Wall

No one likes chores, but everyone likes gift certificates. So create a sticky-note wall for your family, and help each other out with sticky-note “gift certificates.”


  • Sticky notes
  • Pen

Here’s how it works. When someone in your family does something nice for you, pay it forward. Have everyone write small chores (“take out garbage” or “feed dog”) on sticky notes and place them on the fridge. The next time someone can lend a hand to help out, they can choose a sticky note, and the job will get done — with a smile!



Make Encouragement Stones

Everyone can shine in the new year – with a little encouragement. Show family and friends that you’re supporting them, and maybe offer yourself some encouragement, too. Here’s how.


  • Stones — large, flat surfaces are ideal
  • Nontoxic acrylic paint
  • Newspaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Oil-based paint pen (optional, but helpful)

Spread newspaper over your painting surface, then paint the stones however you like. Once dry, use a fine-tipped paintbrush or a paint pen to write encouraging messages like “Keep it up!” or “You can do it!” Then give the stones to friends and family who could use an encouraging word.

Make a Vision Board

Jonah finds himself inside the belly of a whale because he is running away from challenges. A vision board can help you visualize the challenges you face and set goals to deal with them head on. What better time to do that than the start of the Jewish New Year?


  • Poster board
  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Start with a large piece of poster board (optional: cut it into the shape of a whale!). As you flip through the magazines, cut out images of things that relate to your own personal goals and challenges. Glue the images onto the poster board.