The last company that I worked for (my last day was this past Friday) required employees to set annual goals for their professional growth. We started that process several months ago, but since I knew my departure was imminent, I didn't get a chance to complete. I enjoy setting goals around self-improvement and am constantly striving to better myself, so I was actually a little disappointed to not complete it. The idea of setting family goals has been tugging at the back of my mind for months now, so a few weeks ago, I pitched the idea to Keith and he went for it.
On Saturday we started brainstorming a variety of ideas for family goals and then decided to come up with a family mission that could drive those goals every year. We wanted a family mission that was about improving our minds (reading, podcasts, lectures, continuous education, etc), bodies (food, exercise, meditation, etc) and spirits (community service, the outdoors, spiritual practice, etc). I read a few posts online about coming up with family missions and goals, and then I found this really helpful tip sheet with step-by-step instructions.
Yesterday we took a 2-hour hike and continued our brainstorm session. Eventually we came up with this for our Family Mission:
Our mission as a family is to be at peace with our minds, body, and spirits.
The wording may continue to shift slightly in the future, but I think for now it encompasses essentially what is important to us and what we strive toward. This is what we hope drives us in the decisions we make as a family. Once we felt pretty happy with the wording, we continued our brainstorming session on a goal for the year. Our word of the year, adventure, will continue to play a large part in monthly activities (and we plan to continue to choose words together in the future), but we also think a larger goal with specific timelines is important.
I think to start out that one goal with monthly deadlines is realistic, but Keith likes the idea of setting three goals that tie into each part of our family mission (mind, body, spirit). Yesterday we narrowed it down to these ideas of goals for the rest of the year:
1) Body: Forming a regular yoga routine by the end of the year. Specifically, practicing three times per week for up to one hour.
2) Mind: Being less reliant on technology by the end of the year. Specfically, turning our bedroom, and home overall eventually, into a technology-free zone (ideas: phones are off between 10 PM - 8 AM or leave our phones in a bowl by the front door). We believe this would free up our mind to focus on other more important things and encourage us to read more books and less social media.
3) Spirit: Establish a nightly routine of walking together as a family after dinner. We find that walking helps calm us from the stresses of the day, remind us of the beauty in the world, and reconnect to one another.
We plan to continue this conversation over the next few days, and our current goal is, before we leave for Europe, to have written out our goal or goals, monthly breakdown toward each goal, and how we'll know we've been successful at the end of the year. We also plan to use that template I linked to earlier in this post to insure we take all the right steps. I'm excited about our family mission and finally getting a chance to brainstorm, but I especially love how aligned Keith and I were on what is important to us as a family! We're coming up on four years of marriage, and seven years of togetherness, and I'm regularly reminded of how fortunate we are to have found each other.