Friday, January 20, 2012

Your Family's Best Year Yet

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I LOVE New Year’s resolutions. A good goal is always fun to work toward. Here are some tips for helping you reach your goals for your family this year.

Make a Plan

At the start of each year, we line up child care (usually my mom. Thanks, Mom!) and we steal away for a date night. We bring the laptop, a notebook, and our calendar- and we make a plan. This, in itself, has become a tradition. It’s really fun for us now, to look back on journals from years ago and see our past year’s savings goals, our outlined plan of how we’d move to Seattle, or our family planning timeline (but, hey, sometimes you can’t plan everything, right?) To see that we set out goals little by little for our family, and to see that we’ve accomplished them is always inspiring!

Start Small

The first couple years we started doing this, our lists were extensive. In reality, it was too much to accomplish all in one year.

Now we’ve learned to scale back and be more intentional with the goals we set for our family. The great thing is, you can add to your goals for your family each year and eventually you’ll be doing all the things you hoped you could. Just remember, it takes time. Start small and build up each year.

Set a Date

Last year, I set the goal of creating more family traditions. One of those traditions was Make Your Own Pizza. Every Saturday since last January, our family has gathered around the table to make pizza together. It’s simple, but SO much fun. We decided to make a weekly date of it, and we’ve been doing it ever since.

The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be a weekly tradition to set the dates in advance. For instance, you could decide you want to do 4 date nights a year, or you could decide that you want to see 5 concerts as a family. Whatever it is, deciding at the beginning of the year, choosing the events, and booking them now is the best way to ensure you'll stick to your plans.

Automate It

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I love this idea from Shannon Brown's Find Joy in the Journey. What better way to automate?
Ok, I love automated reminders and automated bill payments. Why not automate our goals? For me, this just means setting a series of dates and adding the necessary preparations into the calendar with life’s other events. In our household, we have (among some others) Fondue Friday, Make Your Own Pizza Night, and Sunday Brunch every week. Fondue Friday is usually our date night together, Make Your Own Pizza is family fun, and Sunday Brunch is usually when we invite friends over for an after church meal.
Although it can be fun to menu plan, or go off the grid with planning for dates, time together as a family, and spending time with friends, sometimes we have good intentions but fail to follow through. Plus, regular, routine times spent together are important, too. And when you automate that time, it means it’s more likely to happen. Now, when I head out to the grocery store for the week, I plan for the grocery items needed (in theory) for Fondue Friday, Make Your Own Pizza Night, and Sunday Brunch. Company is always welcome, and it’s (relatively) stress free because we’ve planned ahead.
One example is that this year, I want our family to be involved in more service opportunities. In the past, we’ve talked about researching specific service opportunities and doing one at a time throughout the year. This has resulted in far less service participation than we’d really like to be involved in. So, this year we’ve signed up to work at a women’s shelter in our area every other week. The shelter hosts a dinner once a month, so on those occasions, the girls will be involved. We’ve committed, we’ve automated the process and made it easier to coordinate on a weekly basis because of that.

It doesn't take much to live with a little more intention. With a little planning, this could be your family's best year yet!

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