Goal Setting for a Closer Family

The New Year is indeed new.  That fresh start we all need is there for the receiving.  We are afforded a great gift in the cycle of life, as T.S.Elliot reminds us in his poem from Four Quartet:

"For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice."   
What message are you speaking to yourself this new year?

This week I want to equip you with a goal planning exercise for the year. 

I know! I can hear you:

Therese, everyone online has been sending out planners, questions to ask, what's your WORD themes for the last few weeks...why wait until the 2nd day of January to share it???

To make a point. 

Your fresh start begins on the day YOU decide it starts. 

You aren't limited to a date. The day for change is the day YOU decide change happens.

Let's take a closer look on how to create Goal Setting for a Closer Family this year. 

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Instead of planning for the whole year, I want you to do something unconventional.

I want you to plan for the next 90 days instead. 

Of course, look at your calendar and plunk in the dates for family vacations, birthdays, graduations and anything else that may need to be on your radar. But then...scale back to a view of 3 months only.

Why?

If goal setting is something that doesn't come easily to you, looking at a full year can be daunting. It can also allow for procrastination. When building towards attachment within your marriage, family relationships or God it's best to simplify and work in a shorter space of time.

90 days will give you the freedom to have some space to accomplish your goals and it will also give you a bit more urgency to create structure and tangible goals for the here and now rather than allowing them to be relegated to the ethereal "one day".

We all know how fast life can change in a busy household! Using a shorter time frame to accomplish your goals allows for you to pivot and adjust as life's curveballs come your way.

You can work on the same goal all year long - but doing so in 90 day increments allow you to create a fluid plan that gives you a greater sense of control rather than be frustrated that life's emergencies have upended your efforts.

How to get started?

Building off of TS Eliot's suggestion of giving this year another voice, ask yourself, "What new words of life does our family need this year?"

Hope? Play? Structure? Discipline? Laughter? Connection?

Pray and ask the Lord for what your family needs most in the next three months. He knows what is best to strengthen your connection for the coming year. 

Pick 1 or 2 words to focus on. Remember simplified goals get accomplished. There is a temptation to load up your plate with activities and makeup for lost time. Keep things simplified and start fresh right where you are today.

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Questions to Ask

For the sake of example, we'll pretend that a woman, Clare has chosen Laughter and Connection as her goal for her marriage with James and daughter, Rebecca.

What is my goal and why?
Example: I feel like James and I haven't connected the way we used to. We've been under stress since he took on that new role at work. It's time to create balance with the seriousness of work by bringing in some light-hearted feelings again. I want to remind him to enjoy this life we are working so hard to build together.

I feel like I’m losing something between Rebecca and I. I want to recapture the closeness we once had. I want to reduce the amount of time Rebecca spends with her technology. I know our attachment to each other is damaged right now because she is over-attached to screen time. Besides limiting the time she spends online, I am planning alternative activities with her and for her. I am intent on it being a happy time and pleasant. 

What response do I hope for?
Example: I want James to feel safe and loved in his home and to reduce his stress from working so hard. I want him to smile as he heads home each day knowing that their is happiness waiting for him at home.

I want Rebecca to enjoy the outdoors again. So much so that she forgets her i- phone and that we build a happy memory together and work toward building our bond of love. I want Rebecca to be engaged and chatty with me and for laughter to be the sound in our home again.

Event/Activity/Task: (Describe what your vehicle for growing attachment will be)
Example: Making time for a forgotten hobby together, nature walks,  indoor balloon tennis match, etc. Remember laughter and connection can happen without a lot of fanfare!

When will this take place and where?  Weekly endeavours? Daily attempts?
Plan some small daily steps towards laughter and plan some weekly intentional time. Carve out a spot on the calendar and block off an hour or two to focus on your goal. Also slip in small wins during the week that can build towards your whole goal.

How will I reach out? A fun way? Verbally? Via a note? What can I do that will be unexpected?

Who will be involved?

How much time am I setting aside?

What kind of words will create connection? Example: “I’ve been planning this and looking forward to this for some time.” “I love being with you and doing stuff like this.” “It has been too long since you and I did something like this together.” “We should do this more often.” 

How can I express physical touch and connection? Eye contact? Hug? Kiss? Touch? 

What can I do to solidify the memory? Photo? A note later? A video? Talking aloud about it to someone else? “I had such a fabulous time with Rebecca today.” Making a gift of what you’ve made and presenting to the family or someone else? 

Is this repeatable in some fashion? How can I continue on the path of growing connection? 


The Proof is In the Pudding 

Keep a journal of what you did each day towards your goal. Don't overwhelm yourself - even simply scratching out your success inside tiny calendar square box counts!

Having a record to review truly helps you see the progress you are making. Little moments add up to creating the culture you want in your home and family. 

How will you record your progress?

Commit

Spending the next 90 days working towards your goal can bring much fulfillment towards the overall goal of attachment and creating a close knit family. 

Whatever your goal for you and your family members- Tidiness, obedience, creativity, fun, improving in math - make a commitment to stick to your goal for 90 days. 

You will be amazed at how much closer you and your family can become as you work to implement the new language and voice of this year. 

This year, one goal I have is to help more families learn the power of attachment in their home and to help facilitate that through an online course, continuing my Heart to Heart online sessions and giving parents who come to me for one-to-one help the solutions and support they need.


Tell me, what are your attachment goals for this year? Let me know in the comments


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