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My daughter Jessica wrote the following idea on her Facebook page:

For those who write New Year’s resolutions, you should write them up now. Then, tomorrow, you start them. That way you have a few days’ practice and the nostalgia of the new year won’t get in the way! Make today the day you work towards what you want to do.

A good idea.

Followed by another good idea from a friend here in town:

And also tell some people so they can help keep you motivated!

Purpose and Accountability: two key aspects to keeping goals, resolutions, or plans.

Though I agree with Jess and it is a good idea, Peter and I are going about this a different way.  We are planning for two days away where we can talk about every area of our life. These two days are about giving us uninterrupted time to talk to each other, to reflect on the things we are doing, not doing and want to do, and time to pray together.

To me it’s not about goals, resolutions or even plans but instead purpose, direction, vision for our family.

I certainly hope we’ll work out some specific intentional steps (and really that is just another word for goals) but we cannot decide on a “what” to do without knowing “why” we do it.

There is no reason though why we have to have this sorted by the beginning of the year  – we should not be dictated to by the date, 1st of January.  It is more important to be intentional and thorough and this takes time.

Peter and I are working through Phyllis Sather’s ebook: Purposeful Planning.  Our first step is to each read this book privately and to think about the different questions and areas listed there.  When we are done we will set a date for our planning time where we go away and talk about life together.

One other thing we are going to do that we haven’t done before is to pass on some questions to our kids to think about and to invite them to share their thoughts with us.  We are going to have a family time (probably over dinner) for them to share (though they may like to share some thoughts privately too and we’ll make room for that).  We will then go off for our time away with their contributions to consider.  When we come back, we’ll have another family time to share with them our thoughts and developments.  Phyllis and her husband usually take their kids with them, and it has become a special family time and we have done this too when our kids were younger.  But this year we are just going away, the two of us.

In the past Peter and I have found this planning time to be so valuable and I look forward to this time again.  Can I encourage you to think about your New Year’s resolutions – don’t just jump to the glaringly obvious ones, the ones you decide on each year, the ones that will only last for about 3 days.  Instead pause and think about your family life, think about your purpose, think about what you are doing to walk in the things on your heart.  Be intentional and take your time to make it real.

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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