The Power of Setting Annual Family Goals

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Reka and I just returned from a very productive trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. (For the record, we are not Vegas people, we are backcountry people). Part of the reason we go away around the holidays is because it can be bit of a weird time of year for us–we weren’t able to have kids and the season seems to be very kid focused. We choose to take the time for adventure and this year used it as an annual family strategy retreat.

In talking with friends, there seems to be some interest in how we did this process. The next several blogs will outline the steps we have taken to get where we are. We have a completed 1-page strategic family plan for 2018 and a second page for challenges/opportunities, a bucket list and a specific to-do list that we call “one & dones”.

For a little background: I have been setting goals since I was in my early teens. My parents did a great job setting the example by creating annual goals for my entire life. Reka and I have been doing goal retreats for years.  These usually consist of us going out of town, getting a hotel for a night, and discussing what we wanted to get done that year.  We would let it sit and go to dinner before reviewing, changing, and updating.

Over the years, we have tried literally dozens of different approaches. They started with multiple categories including lots of to do’s and stuff listed out under each of them.  In other cases, we went really big, but simple.  The surprising fact that was in most cases, however we did it, it always had an amazing impact.

I firmly believe there is something magical about taking the time to identify a goal and write it out. 

We have found the more specific we made them, the more likely they were to happen.  Reka wrote a very specific goal about qualifying to run the Boston Marathon–it included strength training, where she would run her qualifier race, and what specific time she would have to beat to clearly.  She qualified, ran the Boston Marathon, and had an amazing experience.

Another observation we made was that in many ways, the biggest goals we achieved had less to do with dollars and more to do with personal development, adventure, and time.  As an example, in 2017 we set a goal of having some form of adventure travel for 5-10 days a month for every month–we made most months and it was spectacular.  My point is this: for us, travel and adventure is something we really cherish and value.  By setting our goal, we researched and scheduled the trips and after that they just happened.

Your goals have to be in line with what you really cherish and value, or as we like to call it, your “true north”.

As a Couples and Family Therapist, Reka is well-aware of the dynamics within a relationship–especially being married to an uptight, type-A, occasionally aggressive, never thinks he is wrong, business owner type.  I really valued the gentle, but firm input to remind us of balance and patience.

In next week’s blog, I will go through how we determined balance for our life. This will include where we are lacking as well as a couple of goals and quarterly objectives that we are taking on to address these opportunities.

Are you ready to sit down and do some annual goal setting with your partner or family? We’re here with support and the tools to do the job whenever you need it! Reach out anytime. No expectation or obligation.

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