Family goals? What are they? Have I become Oprah all of a sudden?
After a truly hectic December (who’s wasn’t!?) and leading into what is going to be a super busy year for our family, I thought it would be a good idea to take a step back, look at the big picture and work with my family to set some goals together. Bumbling through December and hitting the ground running every day has left us frazzled, snappy and grumpy. Not cool!
I regularly set goals with the children in my classroom, but I’ve never tried setting family goals. To be honest I was laughing a bit at myself for even thinking about family goals, and thought Paul might laugh at the idea too! However, when we sat down and looked at our family as a whole, and where we are headed, it really brought us closer together and made us feel positive and excited about the year ahead.
I’m no expert on families or goal setting, but here is the process we followed. I hope it helps you set some family goals too.
Family Goal Setting
- choose areas to focus on. We chose Personal (career, self development, health), Home (house and garden) and Family (us as a family and extended family).
- look at the month/year ahead and what is important or needs special attention. This year I’m returning to work part-time, Paul will continue with his Masters after taking time off while we settled baby Rocky in to our family, Pebble is starting Kindergarten and Rocky is starting regular formal child care and care with Grandma. We looked at what needs to happen to make all these things work successfully and planned our goals around that. We also included a focus on charity and service in the community and spending time together as a family and with extended family. This should be easy, right? :P
- make your goals smart – and S.M.A.R.T. There’s no point aiming for weekly date nights when you have no baby sitting support, or a major home renovation when there is no money. You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, especially if you’ve worked in any kind of business-y type place. Make your goals Specific (simple, clear), Measurable (how will you know you’ve achieved them?), Attainable and Realistic (is it possible to achieve these goal?) and Time specific (set deadlines). There are slightly different versions of the SMART goals theory, just Google it and you’ll come up with lots of info!
- include the whole family. Discuss goals as a family and agree on them together so that everyone’s input is valued and included. This helps all members of the family take ownership and responsibility for goals. We decided that as Pebble is only three (almost 4!) we discussed the family goals separately first, then asked her about her own. Think about how to phrase this for the age of your child. When asking Pebble about her ‘family’ goals, we asked, “what would you really like to do with the whole family all together?”. For ‘personal’ goals we asked, ‘is there anything that you’d like to learn?’. It was very interesting to find out what she was thinking, she had some very clear ideas!
- write your goals down. Put your family goals on paper and keep them where everyone can see them or refer to them. The kids can draw and write about their goals to make them more meaningful to refer to.
- revisit your goals regularly as a family. We plan to revisit our goals at the end of each month and plan new goals for each new month. This will help us to know if we’re reaching our goals and improve our goal setting skills as we go. This is a learning experience for us!
In my next post about family goal setting I’ll be sharing some of our goals for January and 2014.