Setting Family Goals and Intentions for a Successful 2011

By Sandra Huber of the The Soulful Parent

Can you believe we have started a new decade with New Year 2011?  After the activity of the holidays, the pace has slowed down a bit and the weather is colder. And this time of the year is by far my favorite.  I love it because I believe there’s a great opportunity to start over and decide what things we want to let go with the passing of the old year and what new things we want to hold as our intentions for the New Year.   So many people are focused on their New Year Resolutions right now that you can’t help but feel the excitement of a new opportunity to start over.  My hope for all of us is that we decide that this is the year when we are going to start intentionally practicing the tools that will ultimately give us the results that we want.

Here are some suggestions to make this time of the year and intention setting work for you:

Let Go of the Wrongs

Ask everyone in your family to take some time and write down anything they feel went “wrong” in the previous year.  Nobody has to read it out loud; this is not for the purpose of venting or blaming anyone!  Once everyone’s pieces of paper are gathered, decide on a place where you can safely burn them, a fireplace, a barbeque grill or even just a spot on the backyard.  Even though I always focus on family strength, this exercise helps everyone symbolically let go of what didn’t work and have the opportunity for a fresh, new beginning!

Write Down Your Goals

Asking everyone to write down their goals for the new year is a great opportunity to have everyone’s opinions, hopes and dreams gathered in one place, where each family member can create his own list of goals for the family. Everyone can get together, compare goals and decide what to work on. Be open and listen carefully to what every member of the family has to share from their own lists.

Make a Plan

Now is time to turn these intentions into goals for the family to work on. For example if your spouse wants to see the house more organized and clean, then the goal is “Organization and Cleanliness”, which then would require a system that assigns family members with age/time appropriate tasks to accomplish this goal. Get as specific as necessary to make sure everyone is clear about their respective duties and expectations and you will save a lot of arguing later.  Once the list is put together, have everyone in the family “sign” the agreement. Type it up and print it in nice color paper and put it up on a visible spot in the house (the refrigerator door is a good place!) and “voila”, you have a plan!

Make Them Realistic

Set a realistic time frame.   Following the previous example of organizing and cleaning, it would not be encouraging to expect the entire house to be clean in a week. Setting a date for when you want to expect to have your goals accomplished is important. At home, I like to put reminders around the house to keep my family motivated.   I put the date when the task needs to be completed and some encouraging words (I know you can do this!!) to motivate all of us to keep going!

Revisit The Goals

As the “enthusiasm” wears out in the months to come and we get busy with the business of life keep in mind that you are only human.  Revisit your goals to make sure you have not set the bar unrealistically high and set goals and intentions that are impossible to reach.  This is a great opportunity to teach our kids (and ourselves) the value of discipline and perseverance but also flexibility. Sometimes you need to revisit your goals with your family. It’s important to be aware that sometimes, things don’t go the way we want them to.  But you already know that. You are a mom!

Sandra is the “soul” and “coach” behind the Soulful Parent. She has worked in Early Intervention, Special Education and has supported many families in the road to successful parenting. She became a PCI Certified Parent Coach® because she’s deeply passionate about changing the world, one family at a time. Sandra believes that life becomes a more enjoyable journey when you lead from your strengths! She can be contacted Sandra {at} thesoulfulparent(.)com and for more information about seminars, presentations and individual coaching services.

  • Debra

    We have a big jar with a hinged lid. We each write on small pieces of paper whatever we would like to do as a family whether it’s new or something we’ve done before. We are a blended family and I have found this as another way to focus our positive energy to unify and support each other as an individual as well as a family. We have also done this by putting a big sheet of paper (from a roll) onto a door and each member can write, draw, doodle whatever their thoughts are on what to do together. I also do a journal with each child. We take turns writing to each other.

  • Sandra-The Soulful Parent

    Hi Debra,
    I LOVE these ideas you wrote about!!!
    I think most of us can find a beautiful (even if old) jar that we can put in our wishes, goals or even activities we are looking forward on the new year.
    The journal with each kid is such a PRECIOUS, absolutely PRECIOUS idea to make everyone feel special (and get to spend some one-on-one time!!)
    What an amazing bunch of ideas you shared here to fill our families with wonderful memories this AND every year!!
    Thank you for your note!!


  • Polly

    I agree, great ideas. One of our family goals this year is to have 12 family nights. I will bring this idea up at our next family meeting! Thank you.