Monday, December 26, 2011

Have You Made New Years Resolutions For Your Family?

English: New Year's Resolutions postcardImage via Wikipedia

The new year is just around the corner and it's time for many of us to begin thinking about New Year's Resolutions. There was a time when I used to think that setting goals was unnecessary and perhaps even a waste of time.  There are a lot of excuses for not setting goals, and I've used them all;  they never work for me, they interfere with being spontaneous and I'm just too lazy to put in the work of making them, never mind following up on the work involved in making them happen.  Only about 50% of the general public make goals and of those only about 3-5% accomplish them.  However, for the last two years I've been not only researching the importance of setting goals but also experimenting with the best way to make them happen.  There are several important steps to goal setting beyond just coming up with the goal and I plan to share those in some upcoming posts.

How does this relate to us as parents?  Several family experts recommend that we set family goals.  Does that strike you as strange or unusual?  It is true that when we think of New Year's Resolutions we often repeat the tried and true goals of losing weight, exercising more or eating healthy food with perhaps a career goal thrown in for good measure.  To truly have a balanced life however, we should set a goal in each major area of our life and make regular deposits of time and energy into each of those areas.  Linda and Richard Eyre, family experts suggest that each day we set a goal in three areas;  personal, family and career.  I think they have the right idea but may be a little on the overachiever side.  I recommend instead that we create an overall family vision statement for the year and follow that up with family goals that may be for the week or month.  Here's what that might look like:

Family Vision Statement:  To encourage and empower each family member to live successfully, joyfully and playfully through regular family experiences

Weekly or Monthly Goal:  Schedule a family night weekly.

Notice how the vision statement sets the stage for a goal that can be concrete and timely.  Developing the vision statement and goal statement should be a family effort that takes into consideration the personality and values of the family members.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.  It can be a fun and enriching way for families to interact in the New Year.

I'd love to hear from other parents out there about setting goals for family.  Have you tried it?  Did it work for you?  How did you go about agreeing on goals? 


  1. Super post, Lynne, as always, and great advice. I wish I had thought more in these terms when my kids were growing up. Would have been very helpful.
    I hope this is a help to others!
    Blessings, my friend!

  2. Great post. Like Martha I wish I would have thought more along these lines when the kids were young. I am not much a a goal person myself, daily goals I am fine with but big goals? Not so much.

  3. @Martha and Jan-- My kids are grown as well and the idea of vision and goal statements is relatively new so we shouldn't beat ourselves up for not doing it earlier. What I have learned (gradually and reluctantly) is that I focus better when I have a vision and goal statement rather than just a to-do-list. It has been a long journey to get here though and I still am learning new ways to improve family relationships all the time. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Hi, Lynne! ~

    Good advice for parents. Creating a Vision/Mission Statement and Goal setting might sound weird and rigid to those who have not tried it, but my experience is that it definitely adds to quality of life. I would like to share this post, for young families especially, at


  5. What a wonderful post Lynne! A great idea for parents and children. My children are in their teens now, but I guess I have done this a little bit, only mentally. I believe it would have been more effective in hard copy :)

  6. @Linda, I totally agree with you that it adds to the quality of family life. This biggest benefit that goals have had for me is that it gives me focus. I was resistant to the idea for a long time but since I have embraced it, it has made a huge difference for me.
    @Mary, I too approached this in a general way and mentally set goals or really what I would call a to-do-list. However, since I've approached it differently I think it's been more effective.

    Thanks to both of you for your comments and repost on facebook!