Creating Our Family’s “One Word”

I guess when you spend 27 years of your life with one person, you get to know them kind of well.  So when Frank made a comment last week that he knows how I really want to spend my New Year’s Eve in my ideal world, which would consist of reflecting, journaling, and setting goals for 2016, I told him not only was he right, but that this year I wanted to have him and the kids experience why this would be an awesome way to spend New Year’s Eve as a family, just the 4 of us.

We will, of course, mix in our 2016 dream session in with some family games, take-out, and some type of dessert that involves chocolate and, hopefully all of that, combined with being allowed to stay up until midnight, will appease the kids enough to buy into this activity without too much push back!

I also love to look back at pictures from the past year to remember the highlights, the low points, the trips, the fun times, the little moments, and everything in between. We take so many pictures with our phones now, I forget half the stuff is on there until I download them (many of you know this from my posts that happen days, weeks, and even months after the event! J)

I think it could be a great family tradition to do a “year in review” type thing by looking at pics we took throughout the year, so tomorrow we will kick it off! And I’m not turning this into work by spending 18 hours creating a slideshow.  In the spirit of simplicity, we will plop down on the couch with the kids on our laps and look at pics on the laptop.

As social as I am and much as I love a great party and hanging out with friends, I think this is the perfect night to cozy up in front of the fire and curl up with a beautiful journal and dream about what we want to create in the new year.  In the past, I typically take a day to do this between Christmas and New Year’s, but I have a deep longing to do this with my family and am remaining optimistic that they will find this half as enjoyable as I do.

It’s such a gift to give yourself permission to ask yourself what you really want, uncensored, if you could just wave a magic wand.  What would you do? Where would you go? How would you be? Who would you spend time with? What would you stop doing?

I want to teach my kids that they can manifest the experiences that they want to have, but they have to get clear on what those experiences are.  They won’t just magically materialize.  In order to develop that clarity, we need to set aside this sacred time to imagine, visualize, and dream.

And I really want to think about this from a family perspective this year as well.  I want us to really get clear on questions like:

  • What are our family values?
  • Why are those values important to us?
  • How can we remember these values and character traits in the hectic pace of life and the day-to-day conflicts that arise at home and in the world?
  • How do we want to treat each other at home?
  • How does that manifest in our relationships at school, at work, and in the community?

We talk about these things, but writing them down is so powerful, and I believe dedicating a night to writing it all down together with a beautiful, fresh, clean slate ahead of us can have an amazing impact.

We are headed to the store later today to pick out our individual journals that we will refer to every week and can add to throughout the year.  We have already started a Family Journal that we will continue to use as well.

Here are some ideas I have for getting our dream session rolling:

  • We will start out by talking about what we are most proud of from this past year – these could be outward accomplishments, personal growth milestones, or something we were really struggling with that we were able to make progress on.
  • We will brainstorm, journal, and choose our “One Word” that we really want to focus on individually this coming year that will make us feel happy and proud if we truly LIVE this word when we are sitting here this time next year – you can check out this simple, quick read that I picked up last December for more guidance, but you get the gist: “One Word That Will Change Your Life” by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordan
  • We will share why we chose that particular word over all the others (it’s not always easy to pick just one, but trust your instincts and you will know!)
  • We will brainstorm and journal on our “One Word” we’d like to focus on as a family and talk about why this word is the most important for us to commit to living and sharing as a family in the coming year
  • Then, we will each choose and share:
    1. 3 goals we want to achieve or areas we’d like to improve on personally or professionally
    2. Things we want to do or places we want to go or experiences we want to have in the upcoming year
    3. One thing we want to STOP doing
  • We will all agree to encourage and support each other in our individual and family “One Word”, goals, as well as what we want to STOP doing and ask for any specific support or accountability from the family, if desired
  • We will agree on a time each Sunday to check in as a family and talk about challenges we are facing with our goals and individual and family “One Word”, recognize any progress we are making, and celebrate any “wins” from the past week

Obviously, the new year is a great time to do this, so if any of this resonates for you and you already likely have plans for New Year’s Eve, this could be an equally fun weekend activity to kick off the new year, or anytime you are feeling like you want to create more meaning, purpose, and connection in your personal and family lives.

I wish everyone a new year that is filled with experiences that are rich in love, joy, and contentment!