As Old Man Winter approaches, it’s easy to dream about tropical shores and family holiday vacations. For those struggling to make ends meet, those tropical shores might seem like only a fantasy. However, even with tight family budgets, fantasies can become reality with some planning and a bit of discipline.
Planning starts with getting the whole family involved. Arrange a family meeting on a day and time when everyone can participate. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss individual and family goals. It is important to set guidelines for family meetings as well:
- Begin and end on time
- Let each person speak uninterrupted
- Show respect for every opinion and idea
- Keep order so everyone is heard
- Keep written records of what is said and decided
Now you are ready to begin the process of setting goals using the following steps.
Brainstorm- Brainstorming is an unrestrained offering of ideas by all members. Members of the family should offer their dreams to the group. No idea is too outrageous at this stage. Be sure to keep a list of all suggestions.
Review and examine all choices– Ask the following questions about achieving each goal:
Would it benefit the whole family?
What effect would it have on each individual?
How might it hinder the family?
What needs to be done to achieve that dream?
Does it fit in with family values?
Decide- Begin by eliminating all suggestions that the family agrees do not meet the needs of the group. Write down the pros and cons of the remaining suggestions. Discuss the options and take a vote on which to tackle first. Majority rule applies. You now have a family goal.
Take action- A family goal is the start of turning a dream into reality. Taking action to achieve the dream is the next discussion. Consider the following:
- What needs to be done to achieve the goal? For examples if your goal is visit Hawaii, steps include: looking into vacation costs, setting up a savings account, saving so much every week, and keeping track of progress towards the goal.
- What else can each member do to contribute? For the Hawaii example, one member can look into costs and options, one member can set up the savings account and one person can set up a way to keep track of progress. Everyone in the family will contribute to savings.
- How long will it take to reach the goal? Can the goal be broken into smaller steps? For example, to go to Hawaii the family might plan a 5 year goal and save so much every year.
- Post the goal where everyone can see it. On the refrigerator or in the bathroom is usually a good place. Hold a meeting every few weeks to discuss progress and make adjustments if necessary.
By working together to set and attain goals, all family members learn valuable lessons such as:
- Being open to change.
- Committed to shared decisions
- Skillful at resolving differences and conflicts
- Respectful of others
- More efficient workers
- Happier with their roles in the family
Source: Ohio State University Extension Ohioline Factsheet HYG-5211-96
Author: Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness
Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County