Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Goal Setter, Go-Getter and kind of Forgetter

Well, once again I have blinked, and it's Back to School time. Whaaaaaat? You would think having all the kids home for a surprise extra year and a half (that's a nice way to describe the events of 2020, right? A surprise? Surrrrrre.) would have given me enough time to adjust to all of this....I should be extra ready! But instead, I find myself just as shocked (and sad) by the end of Summer as I always am. Never enough Summer!!

So- as we're a mere day away from another school year starting, what better time to pull out a long-abandoned blog post that I never got around to sharing? It's the perfect time to chat about our Summer goals! Sure!

A few months ago, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about the possibilities of Summer....and adorably naive about how motivated my kids (and I) would be to learn and grow. With the structure of school ending, I wanted some way to keep them from completely melting into lazy, screen-dependent, blobs of dumb...and encourage them to keep moving, learning and maybe even cleaning once in a while?! The solution?  A chore chart...of sorts. But hopefully more open ended and goal-centric versus just a strict to-do list. I scoured the Internet for something that matched my vision...and came up short. So I made my own!

Each day, we tried to accomplish something from each of 5 categories. Something good for our:

  1. Mind
  2. Body
  3. Soul
  4. Home
  5. Others

Is that kind of a lot? Of course! I'm nothing if not on-brand with my constant over-zealous achievement-oriented optimism! But I wasn't trying to be overly legalistic about the whole thing. It was just a framework to get us all focused on what kind of goodness we could infuse into our days, and how we could be intentional about spending our time. (Plus, pretty much anything goes when it comes to "soul" whatever floats your boat and makes you happy, that counts!)

I framed the chart with the intention of plotting out our goals together each Sunday. I planned on sharing the file at the beginning of Summer as an encouragement to anyone else who was looking for a way to put a little bit of structure back in this wild (and wonderful) listless season. Buttttttttt.....I never posted. But buuuuutttttt, we did use ours! Sometimes! Very imperfectly!

The super simple guide to how it works (or how it could work if you were actually diligent about it):
Each row is a category, each column is a day. Each Sunday evening (theoretically) we sat down together and planned out how we could make the most of our days. We weren't strict about every single person having a goal for every single box, every single was more of an aspirational framework. If they had piano, or swim lessons, that counted! If we were planning on doing something especially fun, that would check a box! I tried to make it less about the pressure of ALL THE THINGS WE HAVE TO DO and more about encouragement to serve each other well, and care for ourselves well.

I'm still learning what works for each of my kids. Some are very type-A, and love structure and a challenge. And not. So I will not act like this exercise was a rousing success all around. (I have four children- literally nothing is a rousing success all around. Not even ice cream.) But it did put some guardrails around our life, provide some guidance with plans, and a little bit of accountability for contributing around the house. They were proud when they accomplished things, were a little extra-motivated to find ways to help, and had a better sense of how to earn the allowances they are so desperate to implement around here.

By no means have I cracked the code on How to Win Friends and Influence Tiny People, but it was worth a shot anyway. And now we find ourselves abruptly at the end of the Summer, staring down a new season with new needs and new rhythms. Daily goals at this stage would be overwhelming to even the most planning of planners. But I wanted to experiment a little and see if we could continue down a path of thoughtful living...maybe just with a little looser framework to match our current needs. 

So I reworked it to be weekly, replacing the daily columns with column for each kid (and a shared column for us grown-ups). The concept remains the same, it's just spread out over the week.

Time will tell if this is a helpful tool or a complete stressor. Maybe BOTH!

If you're a like-minded goal-getter (and occasional forgetter), you can download copies here: 

Summer- Daily Goals

Fall- Weekly Goals

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