As we enter this new decade, we would like to suggest to you a new monthly activity that will strengthen your relationships. This monthly activity will broaden the concept of “New Years Resolution,” yet simplify the steps it takes to identify and make progress towards tangible goals. This year, we suggest you think about your family goals. Where do you want to be as a family in 3 or 6 months? What is your family’s vision? What would you like to be different for the betterment of all? The truth is our goals, needs, and wants for our families can shift month-to-month. We figure out what works or what does not work (e.g., morning routines after vacation time!). We have real-life moments that are unexpected, take us on a new course, or come as a pleasant surprise. Therefore, to set yourself up towards making progress towards your family goals, it makes sense to break them up in more small bite-sized steps. Instead of taking on an entire year of goals, as defined by the family you are today, dial it back and focus on the questions below at the beginning and end of every month. This practice not only helps you stay aligned with you family values and where you are at today (you have to meet you and your family where you’re at!), it will also set you and your family up for more success in accomplishing your goals throughout your year.
This activity will take appropriately 10-20 minutes with your family. This can be an open discussion where every family member’s thoughts are listened to and respected. Have fun with this bonding activity, and do not take it so seriously. You will find this will introduce meaningful conversations into your family time.
Beginning of the Month:
- What is one thing we can do as a family to bring more joy into our lives this month?
- What is one healthy boundary we can set this month to take care of ourselves?
- What is one thing we can do that will stretch us this month and put us out of our comfort zone in a positive way?
- Who is one person we can each express our appreciation or affection to this month?
- What is one daily emotional hygiene practice we can try out this month? (e.g., gratitude practice, exercise, mindfulness, etc….)
- What is one thought, habit, or pattern we’d like to “let go” of this month?
End of Month:
- How did joy grow in our life this month?
- How did our relationship with others change this month due to a healthy boundary setting?
- How did we grow after trying something new that put us out of our comfort zone?
- How did our relationships change after expressing genuine appreciation or affection this month?
- What changes resulted in our mental health this month after practicing an emotional hygiene practice?
- What happened when we chose to bring more awareness to a thought, habit, or pattern that is no longer serving our well-being?
Julianne Guinasso, LMFT