EXTENSION NEWS 1/2/13

Start the new year with family goals
Jan. 02, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

I need to lose 10 pounds! I’m going to start exercising more! I am going to stop watching so much television and read more books! How often have we made resolutions that we never followed through with? If you’re like me, probably more than a few times. Come to think of it, “resolution” is just a fancy way of saying “goal.” From here on out we will just call them goals to eliminate any confusion (and maybe saying “goal” will make us commit more seriously than the festively connotative term “resolution”).

One of the reasons that our ambitiously bold proclamations are so hard to achieve is the fact that we try to tackle them all by ourselves. Instead of flying solo to reach these goals, why don’t we use our built in support system ... our family. By setting goals as a family, we are far more likely to achieve desirable results. Most members of a family have similar concerns and issues, so it should not be difficult to determine what some good “family goals” might be. 

When determining a goal, it is important to remember that they need to be realistic. Your target is pragmatic if you believe by making necessary sacrifices and taking specific steps, it can be accomplished. You must make sure that you are willing to put in the time and effort required to get there. Also, keep in mind the reason that you have chosen a specific goal. It may help to visualize how achieving this objective will have a positive impact on your family and their happiness. This will help greatly during trying times when you may be tempted to throw in the towel.

It is also crucial to make sure everyone in the family will benefit from achieving the goal. A family goal will need to be something that is important to the entire family. If a goal is only important to the parents and not the kids, then everyone will not be committed to working toward the same outcome.

Most goals can be reached by taking simple steps. The first step is to break them down into workable parts. Have your family make a list of specific tasks that they can do to reach the desired outcome. Each member may even be assigned

a specific role or duty to fulfill, helping to create a sense of commitment from every member of the family. This does not have to be a complicated list, in fact, the simpler the better. It could be as basic as making one small change in the way your family does things.

By putting together many of these small steps, you’ll be amazed at how much easier achieving a larger goal can be. Good luck and Happy New Year! 

Bill Stone is 4-H Youth Development Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.