“Don’t count the time, make the time count.”
As a military spouse, I often feel like I’m constantly counting time. I count down the months until we move to Hawaii. I count down the weeks until my husband comes home from deployment. I count down the minutes until bedtime.
When I’m counting down the time instead of making the time count, I miss the highlights of life. I’m stuck in the day-to-day task list. Did we make any memories as a family in the past year? Or were we so focused on homework, ballet recitals and work deadlines that we didn’t take the time to enjoy life?
Making a family goal for the new year helps me slow down and remember what’s most important in my life.
Here are 12 goals that your family may want to embrace in the new year. These 12 ideas are a starting point for your family’s discussion about choosing a goal for 2017. Don’t try to do all 12 goals. Pick one that you can do together throughout the 12 months.
Note: Whatever goal your family makes, write down your goal in the present tense. This goal isn’t a hope or a wish. With a realistic action plan, your family can achieve your goal.
In 2017 my family is an active family. Everyone in my house benefits from fresh air, sunshine and physical activity. We know that. Yet we are tempted to stay inside and watch a movie when our bodies really need a bike ride.
In this goal, schedule a weekly family outdoor activity.
In 2017 my family is a curious family. When we moved to Mississippi 2 years ago, I made a bucket list of the local attractions that I wanted to visit.
Can you guess how many we’ve crossed off the list?
I tend to return to familiar places instead of exploring new ones. I need to push myself to be curious and go outside my comfort zone.
In this goal, plan a weekly curious day where your family finds a new park, visits a local museum or eats dinner at a new restaurant.
In 2017 my family is a face-to-face family. Limiting screen time is like eating vegetables in my house. We know we should do it, but we don’t do it as much as we probably should.
In this goal, turn school nights into no-screens nights. You will be surprised how easy a blanket policy like this can work for small children.
In 2017 my family is an “outside the box” family. After a long day, making a homemade meal is the last thing I want to do.
I want to order pizza. For the second time this week.
But with proper meal planning, we can eat healthy and balanced meals nightly. And honestly eating healthy doesn’t have to be time consuming. Check out these quick and healthy recipes from DeCA’s dietitian.
In this goal, set aside an afternoon for meal planning. Depending on your child’s age, he or she may be able to help with meal prep.
In 2017 my family is a responsible family. I once had a deployment goal of teaching my kids to be responsible for their own belongings. This meant hanging up their backpacks when they came home from school, putting their shoes by the front door and clearing their dishes when they finished eating breakfast. Rocket science, right? Teaching responsibility for personal items is no easy task. But with constant and consistent reminders, my kids will do it.
In this goal, set a nightly 7-minute timer where every family member picks up and puts away their personal items that may be scattered throughout the house.
In 2017 my family is a green family. Making smart environmental choices isn’t difficult. For my family, it means bringing reusable grocery bags to the commissary, turning off the lights when we leave a room and purchasing food items with less packaging. Many habits that are good for the environment are also good for your bank account.
In this goal, pick one non-negotiable green policy that your family will embrace in 2017.
In 2017 my family is a patriotic family. My children know that their father serves in the military. But do they know that their grandpa and uncle were both in the Army? Probably not. I want my children to value military service and to be grateful to veterans for their service and sacrifice.
In this goal, volunteer with a veterans organization or simply teach your children to tell a veteran “thank you” when they meet one.
In 2017 my family is a less-is-more family. My house is crowded and it’s not with people. It stuffed with stuff.
In this goal, commit to making thoughtful purchases in the new year. For example, stick to your shopping list at the store and wait 24 hours before buying an item online. Those late-night impulsive purchases are the worst.
In 2017 my family is a giving family. We know that it’s better to give than to receive, but how often do we give? Giving is on my radar during the high-demand holiday season but I forget about it during the rest of year.
In this goal, your family volunteers regularly with a nonprofit organization.
Pro-tip: You can make a donation to your favorite charity through the Combined Federal Campaign.
In 2017 my family is a frugal family. Spending less and saving more money is a constant goal of mine. Do you feel the same way? Like all habits, spending less isn’t going to happen naturally. I need to put forth the effort to examine our spending habits and make a spending plan. It isn’t fun but it’s so important.
In this goal, sit down with your spouse to make a spending plan for the next year. Break it down into weekly spending plans to help you achieve your financial goals in the new year.
Pro-tip: Sign up for MilitaryShoppers newsletter to have tips on saving money, military discounts and commissary specials delivered to your inbox.
In 2017 my family is a reading family. It’s only 20 minutes. But sometimes prioritizing those 20 minutes of nightly reading is more like 17 minutes of nagging to read and 3 minutes of actual reading.
In this goal, set a reminder on your phone to “alert” you when it’s time to read together before bed.
In 2017 my family is a “no” family. Does anyone else feel overwhelmed and over-scheduled? Our weekends are filled with birthday parties and military social events. I like the weekends to be a time to recharge our batteries, not drain them completely.
I have the control to do that and the power is found in one small word: no. I plan to practice saying “no thank you” a lot more in 2017.
In this goal, thoughtfully consider one event or activity that you can decline to attend every month.