Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Plans Gone Awry

Since I'm thinking about a five year plan for our family, I reviewed some of my early posts on New Year's resolutions. I have to say, I didn't get very far with them. For instance, I said I wanted to have Soup Sundays and invite in family and friends to dine with us.

I'm sure I wanted to do it at the time. And then we got the flu. And then spring came. And now, I can't imagine why I'd want to tie up myself to my house on Sundays when I could be outside doing something fun!

I also said I wanted us to volunteer and be more active in the community. To some extent, I tried this by volunteering more at our church - with disastrous results. (We're looking for a new church.) Otherwise, we never started volunteering - though I did make efforts to do so. It seems people aren't eager to have a four year old join their volunteer squad. So, that had to wait.

As I start the strategic plan for our family, it's going to be important to remember the idea isn't to create more goals. The point is to create a mission or values statement that will guide our day-to-day and year-to-year choices. That may lead to new action plans and goals may ensure, but the trick is: Goals can change and action plans can fail. A mission statement - which I translate as having an idea of where you want to go and what your values are - should be a more enduring statement of direction.

I think that's part of the reason I didn't achieve many of my resolutions: I didn't have a clear direction, except to spend more time with family and friends. Plus, I didn't ask Hubby to participate in the process. So, while the resolutions are fine in and of themselves, they couldn't stand up to competing interests that better reflect what I wanted to do - or even needed to do - with my life.

Sure I want to see friends and family. And Soup Sundays would be a great way to do that. But it's only one way, and when I really examine it, it's not particularly fun or effective and it actually would compete with other, more important goals - like spending more time with my immediate family and taking care of my own health.

While I haven't had a lot of success with resolutions, my family and I have had success with strategic planning. That's because strategic planning starts with the most important thing first: Define your purpose.

Here are some free online resources we'll be using as we begin this process:
Family Goal Setting: Ready, Aim, Achieve!
Setting Goals: You Can Achieve Any Dream You Desire
Dr. Phil's Five Factors for a Phenomenal Family (good fodder for what to cover and how to achieve your goals)

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