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3 Fun Printables for Family Goal Setting

3 Fun Printables for Family Goal Setting

We’ve made it through week one of 2016!  Mine was wonderful–really.  Nothing spectacular, just good ol’ holy ordinary stuff.  I’m getting better at paying a attention to this, a year after starting a blog devoted to the subject.  I’ve never been much of a journal-er but I’ve always been a writer and communicator so it’s been really, really fun and fulfilling (and a ton of work!) to commit to a blog.  I learned so much and met amazing people (Did you know that there is an honest-to-goodness community of bloggers out there?  I only ever saw the back-bitey, snarky side of social media but I have made actual friends this way.)

I’ve also lost sight of some original goals.  My first plan for this blog was to share more practical, down-to-earth ideas for growing spiritually in the family setting.  I kicked off with the “Prayer Project,” which I envisioned would be a once a week idea for praying with kids.  That lasted a good few weeks.  First, I found I really wanted some space just to write about the spiritual life.  I think that became more important because I wasn’t doing a lot of speaking, preaching and teaching about the spiritual life.  I went from a busy schedule to settling into a new community and it took a while to get my groove back.  I also discovered that my format of trying a new prayer practice with my daughter each week and then writing about it was just too much pressure.  First, I had to find something new we wanted to try, then I had to do it, then I had to document the whole experience.  It wasn’t exactly helping me connect with God.

Now that I’m a big expert on blogging, and because I’m back in some physical places where I’m working with children and families, I want to pick that practical spirituality part back up again.  I’d like to commit to blogging twice a week, once with more “spiritual life narrative” kind of stuff and once with more “practical ideas” kind of stuff.  It’s a tentative goal, though.  I’m going to take my own advice and try it through February.  After that, we may be back to inconsistent weekly postings.  Which is, you know, exactly what you shouldn’t do if you’re trying to “GET RICH BLOGGING!” but that was never a goal.

On to the printables..

One of the best things I did last week was sit down with my family and do some goal setting.  You should know that I have said at least once a week for the past year, “Let’s set some family resolutions.”  “Let’s make a family mission statement.”  “Let’s create a family vision board.”  When I suggested that we should each create a personal mission statement last fall, my daughter said, “Your mission is to torture us.”  To which I replied, “Fine, my mission will be to torture us all into better living.”  And that’s pretty much the attitude we went into our Sunday night family meeting with.  Here’s where I get to say, “I told you so, family!”  It was actually fun.  And we all actually did some goal setting, reflecting and Deep Conversation on life.

I owe it all to this handy dandy printable from Heather at Moritz Fine Blog Design.  This sheet is fun and inviting to fill out plus it has some greatprompts.  We started by just filling out our individual sheets, then on a total whim we passed out sheets to the right.  Now we had the chance to add something to someone else’s sheet–either a memory or a goal.  Then we did it one more time so that we’d gone around to everyone.  (There’s only 3 of us.  If you try this in a bigger family, let me know how it goes.)  Now we each have a sheet with our own goals, memories and dreams plus some suggestions from others.  Please do keep your expectations realistic.  My sheet came back with a goal from my daughter that I “be nicer,” and a goal from my husband that I forgive his “stupidity” more quickly.  But with an open mind, that’s actually some good feedback.

I also like this printable from Skip to my Lou.  If I was a scrapbooker, I would absolutely have kids do this every year and keep them.  It would also be great in a classroom or a Sunday School.  I am a big believer in taking time to reflect on things and I think we don’t do enough of that as a society, much less with our children.  So this is a fun and inviting way to get kids thinking about successes, failures and the future.

Finally, there’s this one from Spark Parenting.  It’s tucked in a newsletter about family goal setting so go to the back for the printable.  (The bits of advice are great, too!)  This is pretty different from the others–it’s not as fun looking, for one thing.  It’s also a lot more goal oriented, as opposed to memory and hopes oriented.  Now that I’m on board with torturing us into better living, I’m thinking of using this one to work through one specific family goal that we set.  And also using it personally to work through one of my more intensive goals for 2016.

Next up on our family’s plan for January is a vision board.  I’ll see how that goes and let you know.


When It’s Time to Let Go of Old Dreams

When It’s Time to Let Go of Old Dreams

On Sunday I set my family down and made them to fill out cute little new year’s resolution worksheets.  They love it when I do this kind of stuff to with them.  Setting new year’s resolutions is a bittersweet business.  There is nothing like the start of a new year to remind us of what we didn’t accomplish in the old year.  Being faced with putting plans into writing forced me to confront the ugly truth that there are things on my “wish list” that have been on their for years.  (I’ve lost track of how many years “learn Spanish” has been on there.)  I wrote them down and then stared at them.

We all know the statistics.  The vast majority New Year’s resolutions fail.  And of course there are a ton of goal setting tips to help you beat the odds.  Certainly goal setting is part of the issue.  But I think that part of what happens to us is that we get stuck dreaming old dreams.  If you, like me, have been setting the same resolution for several years, then it’s time to ask yourself a question: does this goal fit who I am now?

Sometimes, we stick with a goal because we believe in the good old adage about perseverance.  And sometimes that’s good.  Failure is a necessary part of achievement, after all.  But sometimes, if our hopes keep falling apart over and over again, it’s a sign that a new dream is waiting to be dreamt.  As the uncommonly wise Fred Rogers once said, “When we can resign ourselves to the wishes that will never come true, there can be enormous energies available within us for whatever we can do.”

Resignation of old dreams is perhaps half the battle in creating new ones.  This isn’t a light-hearted prospect.  Rogers goes on to tell the story of a woman who dreamt for years of having children and, upon reaching the heartbreaking conclusion that this wasn’t part of her future, poured her energy and passion into supporting parents.  Sometimes, the dreams that we have to let go of are expensive ones, indeed.

However, there is an equally tragic danger in holding on to dreams whose time has passed: we miss out on the opportunities that are just waiting for us to wake up and notice them.  We pursue a career that no longer suits our passions, or a dream-spouse who was never really the one for us anyway.  Or perhaps the carrot we’re chasing is some hobby that once sounded fun but now feels like pressure.  So this year, as we all envision who we want to be in 360 days, maybe it’s wise to ask not just what we want but what we might need to get rid of.  What dreams, no matter how precious and wonderful they are, need to be set free to make room for new plans?

Many years ago, when my daughter was a newborn and I was exhausted and overwhelmed (as opposed to now, when she’s older and I’m still overwhelmed and often exhausted) I remember an extended time period where I woke up every day with the goal to clean the bathroom.  Every night, I would go to bed with the bathroom uncleaned and feel depressed because I could not accomplish this one, simple goal.  Eventually, one morning I woke up and decided, “Today I am NOT cleaning the bathroom.”  And I didn’t.  I did, however, tackle some other chores.  It seems that taking this one onerous chore off my list suddenly freed up a wealth of emotional energy to do other things.

Obviously not all of our goals are as straightforward as bathroom cleaning.  Some of them will be genuinely heartbreaking to give up.  Like the favorite jeans we hate to get rid off, some of our goals hang around because we’re not sure we’re done with them.  “I might need it/want it/return to it someday,” we think.  “It just needs a little more perseverance,” we tell ourselves.  “This is the year I buckle down!”

This is the tricky bit.  When faced with our own un-realized dreams,  sometimes it’s not at all clear whether we need more discipline or need to let go.  There are two possible ways to go when you’re stuck in that decision-making place.

  1. Set it aside for a year. Decide that in 2016, you’re not writing a book, starting a business, adopting a child, going back to school, or whatever worthwhile goal you’re wrestling with. Determine to talk 2016 to just see what it feels like NOT to do that—on purpose. See if this frees up energy for other areas.
  2. Give yourself a deadline. A month is usually more than reasonable. If, by Feb 1, you haven’t made clear progress on your goal, give it up. Let things lie for a bit and see what passion emerges for new things.

Letting go of old dreams is never easy.  But it is often necessary.  Released from the cumbersome sense of obligation to our past selves, we might find ourselves free to step into amazing new things.  We might just find that there is more in store for us than we dreamed, and we only needed to be open to accepting it.

I’m excited to be linking up with the #wholemamas again this week.  It’s been a while!  Hop on over to Erika’s blog to check out Esther Emery’s post for this week’s word: envision.