How to Get Started on a Family Goal

How to Get Started on a Family Goal

by: Emily Thomas

Welcome back to our mini "get started" series to kick off the year here on the Cultivate blog! Your PowerSheets® and Team Cultivate will be with each step of the way as you move forward on the things that matter to you (little by little!), and this month, that means bringing you the tips and motivation you need to get off to a great start with your goals.

Often, the hardest part of getting started is getting started, amiright? Especially when you're trying something totally new. You're fired up and motivated to make progress, but you don't know where to direct all that energy! 

This month, in a special blog series, we're laying out potential starting steps for the most common goals we hear in the Cultivate community. Each week, along with some of your most trusted experts, we'll bring you starting steps for health and wellness goals, finance goals, parenting and family relationship goals (today!), spiritual and personal growth goals, and finally, business and work goals. 

When we ask the question "where do you want to be when you're 80?"
— in any setting  — 99% of the time the answer comes back to relationships. Deep, loving, trust-filled relationships where we feel seen and known are what we all crave, and for most of us, that starts in our home  — with our kids and our significant other.

There are a million ways to grow closer as a family. Choose your favorite from the suggestions below and get to cultivating today!

Depending on their age, ask your kiddos THEIR goal ideas. I'm always surprised by what my kids tell me, and it's the best insight to help me know where they want more guidance and encouragement. This helps me to make them feel heard and seen, walking beside them as they learn to tend to something that matters. Same with my husband
—all it takes is one question to illuminate what he's been wanting to grow and I can step alongside him to cheer him on!  — Lara Casey, Cultivate CEO

The number one piece of advice I can offer to moms who want to strengthen their relationships with their kiddos is to eat together as a family at least three times a week. As a mom of three and dietitian specializing in family nutrition, it's impossible not to notice the deeply powerful capacity of family meals to not only improve family and child nutrition, but also to improve parent-child relationships, increase kids' academic success and reduce the likelihood that they will engage in risky behaviors.

That being said, I always tell my mom clients not to stress if they can't make family meals happen every day - studies show that when families are able to have as few as three meals a week together, there are huge benefits! And family meals don't necessarily have to mean dinner. Breakfast counts, too!  Malina Malkani, MS, RD, CDN and author of the Solve Picky Eating course

In the middle of last year, after having my second daughter (6.5 years after my first), I realized I needed to be intentional about creating space for each member of my family to feel special. To do so, I started using the day of the month that represented their birthday to create a fun day that was just for them. So, if a birthday landed on the 6th, the 6th of every month became that person/child's special time. It has been amazing for helping everyone to feel loved on and special. (Don't let the idea of a "fun day" intimidate you  — even a special one-on-one activity after school can be enough!)  Tash Haynes, blogger at Wisdom & Courage

Figure out your biggest pain point as a family and reengineer it to be a time of connection, joy, and ease! For us, the last few hours of the day felt like a dead sprint to finish the workday, pick up our daughter, cook, eat dinner, wash dishes, do bath time and make it through bedtime  — leaving us all feeling frazzled, grumpy, and disconnected.

Instead, I've started planning ahead to make more room for relaxed family fun. I try to give Avery my full, phone-free attention for at least 10 minutes before I start cooking, print out our dinner recipe in advance so I won't be tempted by the distractions on my phone, and do as much prep ahead of time so I can sit on the floor and play with her in the middle of cooking. It might not sound like a lot, but it's given us so much more margin for snuggles, giggles, and connection. 
— Irene Hardy, Cultivate Designer

One of my long-time goals has been to read my daughter one book per day. This goal serves as a way for us to connect even in the midst of a busy day and to slow down together. While doing my PowerSheets Prep for 2020, I noticed that this goal had slid behind a goal to organize our home, which moved the children's books to a higher bookshelf. My first action step on this goal for 2020 was to move the books that she loves to a more accessible spot, allowing her to easily pull her favorites for a bedtime story.  — Marissa Kloess, Cultivate PR & Partnerships Manager

Make a "grateful board" together! Listing the things we're grateful for as a family during dinner brings a light perspective to our conversation and helps each family member (little and big!) connect and share about their day. I learn a lot about our kiddos' day at school and their personalities through this simple exercise. We each share 1-2 things we're grateful for from that day and write them down on a chalkboard near our dining room table. It's a great visual reminder every time we walk by it!  — Meg Prellwitz, Cultivate Copywriter

Togetherness is one of the best ways we've found to grow as family—so my first action step is to always create our family schedule. I recommend agreeing upon times you'll be together each week/month—no matter how big or small those time slots are—and jot them down where everyone can see them.

Perhaps your family is in a season of togetherness only for an hour around the dinner table—that's great! Maybe you have a family breakfast each Saturday, or church together on Sunday—also great! Don't overlook the small pockets of time, even daily routines, that can foster sweeter relationship. We love bedtime with our son: we have family time as we get him ready for bed with a nightly dance party to Baby Shark, short family prayers each night, and then I read him three books. Bottom line: when you agree upon when you'll be together, you'll use your time better! Julie Homen, Cultivate Marketing Director

Friends, I hope these ladies gave you a few things to think about as you set out on your family goals this year! Below, I've rounded up some of our best resources for your use along the way. We're cheering you on!

Next week: starting steps for spiritual and personal growth goals!

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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