fbpx Goal Setting as a Family
Authored by Nexus Family Healing on March 31, 2022

Have you ever set a goal for yourself or a new intention, and quickly found that it was unsustainable? Maybe you work on it for a week or two and it just feels like too much – you don’t have time for it, you have too much going on, you keep forgetting to work on it – and now you feel like you’ve failed. This happens all too often when we set goals that are just too broad, and this practice is not one we want to instill in our children. 

For example, you might set the goal to be a better a parent this year. This is too big of a goal. Yes, being the best parent you can be is a great end goal, but you need smaller, actionable steps to get you there – and those steps are what should become your goals. 

Creating Your Goals

When setting a goal for yourself, try this:

  1. Keep it simple. 
  2. Add intentionality. 
  3. Use reminders to keep yourself on track. 

When put into practice, “being a better parent” may take the shape of these more attainable goals:

  • Learn how your child prefers to be communicated with and increase or strengthen your communication.
  • Hug your child every morning.
  • Say “I love you” each day. 
  • Be nearby when they’re having breakfast.
  • Ask for their opinions.
  • Let them know you appreciate them. 

These simple goals are now filled with intention and action that can be accomplished throughout your week. If you’re finding you need reminders, use sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, set calendar reminders, or create a short checklist of your actions to accomplish each day. You can even share your goals with your family and they can help keep you accountable. 

Achieving Your Goals

Now that you are setting attainable goals, you can share this practice with your children and other family members. For a child, measurable achievements are best so they can see the progress. It’s also very helpful to make their goals part of a healthy lifestyle that they can continue as natural habits. For example, making the bed, brushing their teeth twice per day, unpacking their lunch box after school, or spending time each day away from their phone, tablet, computer, or TV. You may also want to set goals as a family, which should also be kept small and intentional. Some great goals to work toward as a family might include:

  • Regularly eating dinner together
  • Eating dinner without phones at the table
  • Making time to chat and check-in each day
  • Spending 15 minutes cleaning each day 
  • Sharing appreciation for each other
  • Identifying simple “I love you” rituals (i.e. before bed, leaving, a hug, etc.)

In the end, these smaller goals will add up to long-term changes and habits and allow you to work on yourself and your family without failure looming in the distance. Remember that life gets in the way, especially with a busy family. Any time spent toward your goals should be recognized as an accomplishment; simply taking time to work on yourself or your family is progress. 

Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health servicesfoster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.