Setting Parenting Goals for the New Year

There is something special when the new year arrives. It feels like a clean slate to create what you want or a chance to change some things up.

While many of us are making New Year's resolutions to get in shape, eat more healthy or reduce our stress, it's important to notice that those are individual goals we set for ourselves. This is a great time to think about setting goals for our family as well! We all have some things we would like to "tweak" a bit such as increasing cooperation or improving manners. What is one thing you'd like to change? My recommendation is to start with something small so you can feel you've achieved something and build on that success. When setting goals, it's good to think about three things: 1. Assess what has worked well Taking an assessment of what you do well as a family allows you to see your strengths and use them to reach other goals. It is also great for your mental and emotional health to focus on the positives! 2. Acknowledge areas of struggle This isn't a time for the blame game, it's time to see which areas of family life need some extra energy thrown their way. Every family has struggles, most just hide them well from others. There is no perfect family. Keep that in mind when choosing the areas you'd like to improve. One of the things I love doing the most is helping parenting couples sort through this segment of life. Because I am not emotionally attached to the situation, I tend to catch underlying issues and help couples address them. One of the best gifts we can give our family is to clearly identify problem areas, assess them, and then get support around them. Why struggle when help is available? Remember: It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help and support! 3. Allow for new opportunities The new year is a good time to let go of both physical and emotional "clutter." It opens up space for more positive interactions, improved relationships, and new opportunities to grow as a family. It's time to decide what you want to bring into the new year and what is best left behind because it serves no purpose. Discuss it with your partner to confirm it's a necessary area of focus and talk about what it would feel like once this is accomplished. Envisioning what things can look and feel like after the goal is accomplished is sometimes the nudge we need to begin taking action. Working together to set parenting goals may feel a bit awkward, but once you learn how to do it effectively, it improves so many other aspects of your relationship as well! For my husband and me, learning how to set goals together helped us to be partners in parenting and strengthened our marriage as well. In fact, it's so important that I've made it a core part of my Steps for Success coaching program! Here's to the new year, a fresh start and successfully setting and reaching our family goals!

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