Set a Goal and Get Happy

I want my family to live in a happy home. Who am I kidding? I want to live in a happy home! I want to come home to a place filled with happy people. Happy families resolve African American Family Parents and Childrenstress more quickly. They find family time more enjoyable. They laugh more. But, happy families do not just happen in today’s world. No. We have to nurture and grow a happy family. To live in a happy family we have to develop practices that promote happiness (see 10 Habits for a Happy Family). One habit that promotes happiness is to develop goals. My first thought upon hearing “goals” was “Oh great, something else to pressure me.” But, goals do not have burden us. When established wisely, goals motivate us and turn dreams into reality. They help us engage in activities and areas that interest us. Goals provide the opportunity to think about, plan, and pursue what we value and enjoy. Good goals promote a sense of purpose while we work toward achieving them. They bring a sense of accomplishment as we actually complete them. Goals also build confidence in our abilities and excitement for our future plans. All of this leads to greater family happiness. Sounds good doesn’t it? But how can we establish goals to promote family’s happiness? Here are six tips to help you do just that!

  1. Think about what interests your family. Consider what your family values and enjoys. Does your family enjoy music? Make a goal related to music. Does your family enjoy sports, history, comedy, traveling…? Whatever interest your family might have provides wonderful fodder for a great goal.
  2. Consider any areas of family growth your spouse/children might like see. Does your spouse want a more thankful family? Your daughter a family that offers more affirmations and compliments? Then set a goal about gratitude, encouragement, and affirmation. Maybe your son wants a more active family; or you want a family that helps with household tasks more often. Turn these desires into family goals. Following these first two steps will assure that your family finds the family goals meaningful.
  3. Make sure to attach incentives and rewards to your goals. Don’t limit the rewards to money. In fact, financial rewards may be the least effective anyway. The natural results of working on the goals, verbal acknowledgement of effort, and time together will prove much more effective as incentives. For instance, a family movie night (which provides time together and fun) can serve as a reward…pop in a favorite DVD and serve some popcorn at home. Playing a family member’s favorite game also offers a great reward. If you have a family goal of offering more gratitude, the simple act of receiving that gratitude acts as a reward.
  4. Make it fun to work on the goals. Offer encouragement, not criticism. Notice one another’s efforts and progress. You might even have a little competition to add fun and motivation. If your family has a goal to offer more affirmations and compliments, ask your family to determine who offered the highest number of sincere compliments during the week and serve that person’s favorite dish for dinner. You get the idea. Make it fun.
  5. Don’t go overboard. Happy families work toward achievable goals. They do not establish so many goals that family members feel overwhelmed; nor do they make the goals a source of pressure. Instead, happy families make reasonable, age appropriate, realistic goals. If a goal seems too big or creates too much pressure, change it. Break it down into smaller goals or modify it in some way. And remember to give each smaller part of the goal its own set of incentives and rewards.
  6. When you see progress toward a goal or recognize extraordinary effort toward a goal, celebrate. After all, movement toward achieving this goal means your family has grown in an area of interest or value. It means your family has become better at a desired skill. Moving toward achieving a goal means the whole family has put effort into the family and has identified the family as a priority. That deserves celebration!

Following these six tips can help increase your family’s happiness through goal setting. Now let’s get moving. Set a goal and get happy!

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