Family goals are the way in which families live and carry out their family vision and family mission statement. Once you have defined who you are as a family and what you want for yourselves and each other, it is time to take action and define family goals to help you achieve your vision. Family goals are a very powerful way to build trust, communication, and cohesiveness, as well a great way to teach kids how to set and achieve personal goals.
To better understand how family goals can work, let’s take an example using the following family mission statement to help make it a little clearer.
Example Family Mission Statement
To realize our dreams, goals, and aspirations as a family and as individuals in a way that stretches our intellect, enriches our faith, strengthens our character, and enriches our family life. So that we are fulfilled, happy, confident, and always close.
Let’s say one of the family’s dreams in this example is to take a big vacation to Disney World and in order to realize this dream the family has to save $5,000. So the family can sit down together, identify what it takes to achieve this goal (in this example it would be $5,000) and come up with a plan to save the money. They would create a family goal that says something like “Save $5,000 for Disney World by December 2011” and then specify very specific steps they are going to take to achieve this goal. Some specific steps could include, save $500 each month by giving up eating out, getting part time jobs, setting aside money from our allowance and paychecks, etc. They would follow up on their progress by discussing their results at family dinners or family meetings and when setbacks occur (and they will) problem solve together on how to overcome them.
The point of the family goal is that the entire family works on it together from creation to completion and that the entire family (not just mom and dad) have ownership.
Tips for Setting Family Goals
Here are some tips and ideas to help you and your family set successful family goals.
Every family member should participate in setting and achieving the goals. If you have young kids, you may have to get creative about how they can help, but try to find some way of including them.
Don’t have too many goals at once. One or two family goals at a time is usually best. Any more than this, and they can become overwhelming and leave everyone frustrated.
Family goals can be set at any time during the year. There is nothing magical that says they have to be set at the beginning of a new year. Choose a time that works best for your family.
Make sure you set SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound
Write the family goals down using a goal setting chart and post them in a visible place where everyone can see them (i.e. family message board or on the refrigerator)
Schedule time on your family calendar to sit down and review how you are doing and any changes that need made.
Use a table top flip chart (you can find these at your local office supply store for around $20) when discussing and setting family goals, so that everyone can see what is going on and more freely participate.