5 Tips for setting Family Goals

Bill EickhoffFamily Who Saves, Personal Finance

Setting goals together as a family helps you focus on and reinforce your values and priorities. Whether is a savings goal, a family activity or exercise goal, or a giving goal, setting goals give everyone a common purpose.  It builds buy in, fosters teamwork and models great life skills for your kids.  Here are five tips for getting started with setting family goals:

1.  Have a family meeting: this can be over dinner or something more formal, but give everyone some notice and let them know you’ll be brainstorming as a family. Make this the sole topic and reason for the gathering. Don’t try to mix it in with other topics.

2. Have a “no limit” brainstorming session–let the kids (and yourself) imagine and dream without limits. Avoid phrases like, “we can’t do that” or, “that won’t work,” or “lets be realistic” or “yes . . .but”.  Let the first part just be about dreaming together.  Guide the brainstorming with some general topics:

  • What is a dream or goal you have that you’d like to share?  What is the thing you wish for most in the world?
  • Imagine our family in five years, how do you want it to look? What kind of things are we doing?  What kind of challenges have we overcome?
  • How much time should we spend together as a family? what kinds of activities do we want to do together as a family?
  • Could our family be healthier? What could we do now to make us a healthier family?
  • Could we be better savers?  What should we be saving for?
  • What could our family do to help others?

3.  After you’ve brainstormed (and taken some notes), narrow it down–what are the common themes? Are there a few things everyone can agree to?  Identify 1-3 areas you want to focus on.

4.  Write out  specific, measurable goals for each of those areas (include a timeline).  Here are a few examples:

  • “We, The Smith Family, will save $1500 for a family vacation to Disney by 12-15-15”
  • “We, The Jones Family, will spend more time together by making every Friday night a family night.”
  • “We, the Nelson Family, will become more active by going for a family walk three times a week and by signing up for a family 5K walk/run at the end of the summer.”

5.  Create a Plan.  How will you get there?  What can each person in the family do to contribute?  What obstacles will you need to overcome?  How will you track your success. Research shows that what gets measured, gets done.

This would probably take two nights to achieve–one to brainstorm and prioritize and one to make the plan.  With little kids, you can keep it high level and let them brainstorm while you take initiative to set priorities and make the goal. With older kids, let them be a part of the planning process to build buy in.  All families can do this no matter if it’s a single mom with one child or a big family with lots of kids.  YOU can do this!  Please be in touch if you do–we’d love to cheer on your success!

And don’t forget to take the PLEDGE to become a Family Who Saves & Plays Together today!