This New Year, Consider Setting Goals as a Family

People set a lot of goals for the new year, everything from eating healthier, to exercising, to improving their finances and everything in between.  If you’re single, accomplishing your goals rests entirely on your shoulders.  You’re the one who decides to make a healthy dinner at night or go through the fast food drive thru.  You’re the one who chooses to set up automatic deposit to achieve your savings goals or decides to go out every weekend night.  You alone make the decisions.

If you’re married, especially married with children, achieving your goals is not so easy because you have several other people in the mix.

One of the best ways to achieve your goals is to involve your family in the goal setting process.

If you listen to Dave Ramsey, you’re likely familiar with people who call in to scream that they’re debt free.  Time and time again, Dave asks them how their kids adapted to a limited budget while the family paid down debt.  More often than not, the parents say that the kids got involved and were cheering their parents on as they paid down debt.

If your goal is going to in some way affect your children (and spouse), getting them involved in the process is imperative.

If you think you’ll get resistance from your family when you set goals, consider these strategies:

1.  Before you mention the goal you have in mind, ask what they’d like to accomplish.  Listen to your spouse and children and see what you can do to help them achieve their goals for the family.  Make a plan of attack for their goals before moving on to the ones you have in mind.

2.  When presenting the goals you’d like to accomplish, frame it in a way that the family sees how they’ll benefit.  For instance, if your goal is to pay down $10,000 in debt in 2014, your family might just think that they’ll be having no fun this year while you scrimp to find money toward paying down debt.  Instead, suggest how it will benefit them.

If your teenage son has wanted to start playing an instrument but you don’t have the extra money for the instrument or lessons, let him know that once the debt is gone, you may have money to redirect toward music lessons.

Another strategy is to focus on how much less stress you may have as a family if you’re paying down debt.

3.  As a family, decide what goals are most important.  While everyone can brainstorm what they’d like to accomplish this new year, realistically, you likely can’t achieve all of the goals in one year.  Instead, have the family vote on the top 3 or 4 goals you’d like to work on this year.

4.  Create a sign outlining your goals.  Put up a sign somewhere in the house with your family goals.  Everyone will be reminded several times a day about the goals you set.  When you achieve a goal, decide how you’d like to celebrate.

If you’re married with kids, take the time to set goals as a family, and you may be surprised to see all that you can accomplish in the next 12 months.  Plus, you’ll give your children an excellent model to follow as they head toward adulthood.

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Melissa works from home as a freelance writer, virtual assistant and blogger. Her blog, Mom's Plans, reflects her desire to plan life one step at a time while caring for and homeschooling her children (ages 9, 5 and 3) as well as paying down debt and saving for a house.


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