One of my family’s annual New Year’s traditions is goal setting. I know most people call them “resolutions,” but I try to avoid that word since it’s often associated with a temporary change. I hope that by setting goals together, I can teach my children what goals are, and how to measure them.
Some of our family goals have been lighthearted – visit a new-to-us restaurant each month – while others have presented challenges we worked through together – spend 1,000 hours outside over the course of the year.
Typically, we have a family brainstorming session, where everyone gives ideas and proposals. I suggest no more than 3 family goals for the year, so that you can truly focus on them. I also require our goals to be specific. For example, “see grandparents three times a month” is easier to measure than “see grandparents more.” Throughout the year, we measure them and track our success. We’ve done this with stickers on our calendar, prizes earned from our experiences, tally marks on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge.
Here are some ideas for your family’s goal setting:
The 1,000 Hours Outside movement appeals to many families as an encouragement to get kids (and their grown-ups!) off screens and outdoors. There are several printable trackers to make your progress easy to see. While 1,000 hours outside sounds nearly unattainable, it is not, and my family is living proof! Consider having lunch outside during warmer months, spending an extra half-hour in the backyard after school – these small changes helped us reach our goal, and can help you, too!
Serve Your Community.
With extracurriculars, it’s hard to commit to volunteering regularly…unless you prioritize it. Whether your family plans to volunteer once a month, or 4 times this year, there are plenty of options, including: Shalom Farms, Chesterfield Food Bank, Richmond SPCA, Children’s Museum of Richmond, and more!
Learn more about volunteer opportunities for families.
Read, then Watch.
Before both of my children were able to read chapter books, I would read them a book out loud, and a week or so after, we’d watch the movie together. You could choose to do this with one book/movie a month, a few throughout the year, or whatever fits your family’s schedule best. Some of our favorites were: Because of Winn Dixie, Charlotte’s Web, and Matilda. This family goal costs nothing, as we checked out both the books and movies from our public library.
Explore Virginia State Parks.
Exploring our State Parks is an incredible (and affordable) way to see Virginia. Set a family goal to visit 5, 10, or more Virginia State Parks this year. As a motivator, join the TrailQuest Program and earn a pin for the first park you visit and every 5 parks after that.
Commit to Quality Time.
Set a goal each month to do something specific together. For example, in January: have a family game night; February: bake together; March: make crafts together. To be sure you achieve your goal, choose a date in advance and commit to it – no matter what else comes up!
As your family works together towards your common goal, your connection will strengthen, and your children will remember the feeling of accomplishment when all is said and done. (And remember, the most important aspect is spending time and working together, so even if you don’t achieve your goal – it’s still time well spent.)