With a new year, we say goodbye to the past and hello to the future. What can we do in the present moment to bring closure to last year and hope for what lies ahead? For families, it can be a time to celebrate and learn from the previous year. It is also a time to plan and create a new year from the vision you hold for your family. Here are some things to think about as you close the door to 2005 and open a new door to 2006.
What accomplishments did you and other family members attain? Review the past year and recognize all the great things each of you accomplished. Maybe a child mastered potty training. Maybe you or your husband received a promotion at work. Perhaps your son or daughter made the honor roll. Or it could be that a family member worked very hard at changing a destructive behavior pattern. Whatever it may be, take the time to celebrate each and every family member for what they bring to the success of your family.
What trials and tribulations did your family face this past year? If you look back and realize you had a pretty good year, praise God for the many blessings you received. Never forget to recognize and express gratitude for the many wonderful things you normally take for granted. If, however, your family faced or is now facing hardship, ask yourself how you can better cope. What can you do to pull together as a family during times of stress? Facing job loss, illness, childhood challenges, divorce and even death can take its toll on everyone. How can you better support one another or what resources do you need to help you through tough times?
What did you learn from life’s lessons last year and how will you apply those lessons to your future? Was there anything in particular that seemed rather challenging this past year? Maybe your child struggled in school or perhaps your marriage experienced some rocky bumps. You might have spent the whole year crazy busy and wondered on a day to day basis how you would manage the stress. Why do you think your family encountered these life experiences? What is there to be learned from those tougher times? How might you handle life differently next year as a result of what you learned? I learned this past year that I sometimes take on too much, and the stress that results is something I can do without. Next year I will give thanks for the quiet times and manage my time to create the balance my family and I want and need.
What do you want to create for your family to make next year the best it can be? Without awareness and plans to create something different, you and your family will experience the same. And maybe that’s okay with you. I realize your family could be one of those extraordinary families that sail through life with the greatest of ease. Most families, however, have opportunities for growth. What would make your family life even better next year? It could be you have plans to spend more time together, argue less, or get out of debt. Maybe your family would benefit from more structure, a stronger team approach to household chores, or less extracurricular activities.
Whatever you envision, how are you going to create that? You need to have a plan for what exactly you and other family members will work on this coming year. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable and reasonable. For instance, we will institute a Sunday night game night so our family can bond and have fun. Everyone’s schedule will be cleared on Sunday nights and we will protect that evening like gold. Having the family you want and deserve requires a vision and a commitment to action.
So this new year, celebrate your family accomplishments, have gratitude for God’s blessings and pull together in times of need. Apply the lessons you’ve learned from life’s difficulties and put together a plan to create the best year ever. Love and strengthen one another in life and watch your family grow and thrive.