As 2022 draws to a close, it’s time to embrace a fresh new year, and what better way to do that than to establish some family goals together? Here are a few benefits of goal-setting and ten of our favorite categories for family goals in 2023.
What Are Family Goals?
Whether you set personal goals or family goals, you need to make sure they achieve four main objectives. Otherwise, you’ll never really accomplish anything.
A. Family Goals Should Be Measurable.
Things like “spend more time as a family” are nice but pretty vague. Unless you’re measuring the number of minutes spent with your family unit (which I wouldn’t recommend), how can you possibly know what more time would be compared to last year? Instead of vague, lofty goals, shoot for something more along the lines of “Eat dinner together five nights a week” or “take a vacation once a year.” That way, you can easily tell whether or not you’ve achieved this goal.
B. Family Goals Should Involve the Entire Family.
No, you don’t need to involve the extended family or babies. But your family goals shouldn’t necessarily be handed down by parents in a dictatorial fashion. Your children are more likely to stick with their goals if the entire family sets them together. Plan a family meeting where you can outline things together in a family goal-setting session.
Don’t be afraid to let your little ones in on the action. Goals like “wiping off the countertops every night” are a lot more palatable when paired with others like “go out for family ice cream every two weeks.” Involving the whole family makes goal-setting more fun and increases the likelihood of sticking with your goals.
C. Family Goals Should Be Achievable.
I would love to set a goal of having a spotless, clutter-free house every day, but realistically, I would be setting myself up for failure. (If you’re especially organizationally gifted and can make that happen, great work!) So instead of setting an unattainable goal that will leave me constantly frustrated, we can set a goal of organizing one cabinet each day or making sure the kitchen sink is clean every night. That way, we’ll be taking steps towards a spotless home without feeling overwhelmed.
D. Family Goals Should Be Rewarding.
I wanted to say they should be fun, but that’s just not always the case. Achieving your desired result is fun, and some of your goals can certainly be fun. I would strongly encourage every family establishing family goals to make sure a few of them are fun. But sometimes, achieving goals means doing things you don’t really want to do. It can take hard work and discipline, but the end results are definitely worth it.
So consider setting athletic goals along the lines of running a race together, where you can see how short daily runs can pay off in the form of getting a medal at the end. That way, you can all see a clear cause and effect. If sports aren’t quite your thing, consider a goal like reading 20 minutes a day for a month, and then getting a reward of going to the bookstore for a new book at the end.
A Family Mission Statement or Motto to Ground Your Family Goals
If you’re having trouble getting started with goals, consider adopting a family mission statement or even a family motto. That way, you know where you want to go and who you want to be as a family. Even having a few words or phrases your family aspires to can be really helpful. Our current motto is “gracious speech,” which we frequently have to remind each other of.
Pick a few adjectives that you would like your family to embody– kind, generous, thoughtful, diligent, fun, and let them shape the rest of your goals. Less is more when it comes to this exercise, so aim for one or two objectives to start, rather than 10, which will be hard to remember. If you establish an overall objective for your family, you can ensure everything you’re working towards supports it. It will anchor all of your goals.
How Can You Set Goals With Kids?
Each year, for us, it’s usually in August before the kids go back to school. We meet with each one of our kids to talk about personal goals. At that time, we’ll evaluate their goals from the past year and set new ones. Some are, “read a new book every month,” “make their beds every morning,” or “invite a new friend over.” We’ll talk about what they accomplished and what they’d like to achieve next year.
What Are Some Examples of Family Goals?
Every family has its own sense of values and ideas of what’s important to them. So make sure you adopt your family goal-setting time to your specific family needs. A goal of having a family book club might be an excellent idea for those with older kids but might not be practical if your kids can’t read.
But regardless of the specifics, here are ten categories of family goals to kick off your family goal-setting adventure. Remember– these are general guidelines for goal categories. And don’t feel like you need to set one in each of these categories- pick around five main goals that you can easily keep track of. The specifics are up to you!
1. Meal Goals
Ideally, every family could enjoy a family meal together each night and enjoy the benefits of family dinners. Research indicates that teens in homes with regular family dinners have lower rates of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and obesity. But despite these benefits, only about 30% of families regularly eat dinner together. So if eating together every night won’t quite work, make it a goal to eat dinner (or breakfast or lunch) together once more per week than you currently do.
And if afterschool sports or activities are the reason you can’t have family meals, use the time together in the car to engage in conversations with your child instead of letting them tune out on a device.
2. Household Management Goals
This type of system can be as structured or loose as you’d like, but setting specific tasks can bring about great results. Something like “declutter the house” is pretty vague. Instead, set a goal like – take one trash bag full of extra stuff out of your room every month.
Make sure you involve younger family members, too. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children can benefit from chores as early as age 3. These benefits include higher self-esteem and greater responsibility later in life. So encouraging your kids to load the dishwasher or make their beds is investing in their future success.
3. Active Family Goals
Every family will have different athletic performance goals. For some families, this could be something like taking a family bike ride together each week. Others might want to engage in family activities like hiking or planting a family garden. Whatever you choose, pick a family hobby that gets your family moving.
4. Social Family Goals
No family exists in a vacuum, and while many of us might have cut back on social engagements due to COVID, it’s important to maintain friends and social relationships. These fun goals could be as simple as inviting neighbors over for dinner, family game night, or family fun days.
5. Financial Family Goals
Again, the specific financial goals will depend on your particular family’s needs and place in life. For some people, an attainable goal could be starting a family business. For others, it could be saving money for a vacation or instituting an allowance system. Whatever your financial goals are, make sure they’re quantifiable. “Save money” sounds good, but it’s difficult to measure. “Put $100 aside each week towards an annual family vacation fund” provides more structure to your goals.
6. Educational Family Goals
While you might want to establish academic performance goals for school-aged children, educational family goals can go beyond performance goals and report card incentives. Do you want to start a family book club or maybe learn a new language for an upcoming vacation? Parents and even grandparents or extended family can get in on the action and set an example for raising lifelong learners.
7. Health Goals
These goals can go beyond physical health and also include mental health. So something like weekly journaling could fall into this category as much as a family wellness challenge. Pick one or two health aspects and establish goals accordingly.
8. Spiritual Goals
Spiritual goals will vary depending on your unique family’s beliefs and traditions, and sometimes they might align with some of your financial goals. Whether it’s spending more time in prayer or meditation or volunteering and giving more money to your favorite charity, there are several excellent options.
9. Extended Family Goals
This might not be the most traditional goal-setting category, but it’s essential to maintain strong relationships with family members who you might not see daily. So consider a goal of calling or Facetiming grandparents weekly or monthly or writing thank-you notes after receiving gifts.
10. Vacation Family Goals
There’s something both healthy and cathartic about taking a family vacation, and it’s even better when you set it as a goal your family can achieve together.
If your kids are old enough, include them in the planning process. Planning a vacation does not need to be a completely democratic decision; if that were the case, we’d spend a lot more time at Disney World. But your children can be part of the process. Not only will this inclusion help them develop planning skills, but they’ll also understand the value of work and family time together.
Embrace Family Goals
There’s something extraordinary about the power of working together towards a shared family goal. Aim to implement small healthier habits as an effective way to see permanent results. What healthy habits and family goals are important for your family? Let us know on social #getfamilyapp, and be sure to share them with your friends and family members on FamilyApp, so they can keep you accountable.