Family Goals: how to set, visualize and track yours
It’s nearly a new year. For many people this is the time to make resolutions. For others, like me and my family, it’s the time we set our yearly goals. Before you say they are one and the same, they actually are not. According to Google, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something in the coming year. A goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort. Goals provide a direction to follow and involve intention setting, planning, preparation and taking realistic actions.
Why is it important to set goals?
I’m sure you’ve heard saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” In my opinion, this is very true. So many of us go from day to day, week to week, etc saying that we are going to do something and just never do. If you really want something, you must create a mental endgame for how and when it will actually happen.
By setting goals you give yourself a fixed endpoint or benchmark to reach. When you have a certain endpoint in mind, you can ideally train your mind to focus on that goal and avoid any activity or distraction that will take you off course. This accountability can also help you to overcome procrastination or laziness that might stop you from achieving your goal.
When should you set your goals?
Goal setting can happen anytime. For shorter goals you can create them anytime with a window from a week to a few months to accomplish. For more lofty goals, I like to give them an entire year to achieve. Take my book for instance. I wanted to have it done in one year, so I set my goal at the beginning of 2018 for the target end date of mid-2019.
For our family’s yearly goals, we find the week between Christmas and New Years to be the best time. With the kids on break and my wife off for the holiday, it just makes the most sense. For the short-term goals, we like to set three to four per quarter.
What types of goals should you set?
When my wife Mirka and I sit down to set our goals, it’s not just for us or the family as a whole. We have the children set their own individual goals as well. For family goals, Mirka and I discuss them first before presenting them to the children and creating a plan. For the kids, we allow them to set their own goals and then flesh them out as a family. These goals generally fit a range of categories, including:
Why is it important to track the progress of the goals?
Many people fail to accomplish their goals not because they lack skills or determination, but because they lose sight of what it was they were trying to achieve in the first place. Tracking helps you to set small weekly and monthly goals to ensure you are on target for the end goal. If you are off track for the weekly or monthly goal, you can be sure that you are not on target for say a yearly goal. Tracking lets you know that you may have to put in the extra effort to get back on schedule.
Visualize your goals
You’ve heard of keeping your eye on the prize. This is the basics behind visualizing your goals. It not only keeps the goal top of mind, but helps you to believe that will your effort it is attainable. When you set out to reach out a goal, there will inevitably be bumps in the road. Visualization helps you trust the process and keep moving ahead no matter how difficult things seem to be. Here are just a few ways visualize your goals:
- Collages or vision boards
- Mental pictures
- Hanging the clothes you will wear to an event or function in an easy to see place
- Imagining yourself on the day your goal is reached — where you will be, how you will feel
Organization and planning tools
There are dozens of goal planners out there and different methods that people use to achieve their goals. It is not as important what format you are choosing, but that you are doing it and following through every day. My family chooses to use three resources to help us reach our goals.
Even if you’ve never considered setting future family goals as part of your monthly or yearly plan, it’s never too late to start. My family has been doing this for years and has seen many positive results. If you’re not sure where to start and need help, feel free to reach out. We would love the opportunity to help you to become more successful and productive in the coming years.