Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

This week's www.bloggymoms.com writer's workshop blog post.  I'm going to try and complete the challenge each Tuesday in 2011.  Let's see how this goes....

I have to admit, I completely buy into the notion of new beginnings for a new year.  More specifically, I look at it as the opportunity to take stock of where I am and make sure that I'm still on the path that's the best for me and my family, and to make corrections where needed.  One of my favourite things to do each year around this time is to sit down with my husband, review the goals we had set the year before to see how we fared, and set new goals for the year to come.  It may just be me, but the word goal is preferable to the more ominous sounding "resolution".  I don't want to feel like a failure if something happens and I can't keep my resolution.  A goal is something to strive towards, something that can be adjusted or changed according to circumstances.

 Sounds crazy, but it's really been helpful in keeping us in sync and being aware of the others' hopes and dreams.  It also ensures that we're clear about our priorities as a family.

This is how we do it:
Notebooks in hand, we first take some time individually to write down a few goals in the following categories:

These categories change from year to year a little depending on our circumstances, but this seems to cover most of the bases.  We try to limit our individual goals in each category to no more than five.

Next, we go through each category and share our thoughts.  Aside from the personal category, we each have input into what gets written down as our joint goals for each area of our lives.  This is where the negotiation takes place and we fine tune our expectations based on what we learn from each other, and we create a joint list of our goals for the year to come.

A few of our goals for 2011:
Family: Having a monthly date night, a weekly family outing with our son and a family story night (usually we alternate who puts our son to bed and reads him his story)
Personal: One of my personal goals is to finish my thesis and graduate from the Masters program in Education.  My husband would like to finally enroll in a Mandarin conversation course, a dream he's had for a long time.
House: Expand our vegetable garden in the backyard and get our roof redone
Miscellaneous: Finish (ok start) the scrapbook of my son's first year.  Now that he's almost two.  And perhaps put together a proper wedding album before our 5th anniversary this summer.  I think that both of those were on last year's goal list too.  Ah well.

The important thing for us is not to be slaves to the list, but rather to have a blueprint of those things that matter to us at the point we're at in our lives right now, and keep us focused on where we want to end up.  It takes a little time, but it's become one of our favourite things to do as a couple, and it's made a huge difference in our relationship.

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