Anytime is a good time to set some goals.

Setting Goals: There’s nothing special about January.

 

Though January is known as the time we set ourselves new goals – really, there is nothing special about January.  It is a new year, a fresh start – that is what we tell ourselves.  But really, every month is a new start.  Every Monday is a new start to a new week.  Every sunrise is a new start to a new day.  There is nothing special about January.

 

One of the ideas that has shaped our family all through their homeschool years was “Productive Free Time”.  This was a time in the afternoon where the kids chose how they were going to spend their time, but they needed to be productive, to be intentional, to do something.  This was the time in their day where they focused on their interests, passions, talents.  They experimented with new hobbies or skills.  They read books, played board games, built projects.  They used technology, took online classes, played music, took photographs, wrote stories.  Through this time they became proficient in some things and interested or knowledgeable (even a little bit) in other areas.  And they learnt to use their time wisely.

 

I have observed though that as they get older their focus narrows in and they start to dig deeper into a few interests.  And this is a good thing.  There needs to be a time where they do dig deep, and not be so board.  But it can also get a little overwhelming, and they lose the fun side to life.  It is all about being good at this skill, and less about discovering, exploring, and enjoying life.  It is tricky to find the balance as an adult – and they are heading into adult life.

 

So I decided to encourage them all to write a bucket list.

 

Family night around the computer writing a bucket list.

Family night working on our bucket lists

 

Last week I told the kids we were going to have a family night – to grab their dinner, and laptops and gather around the table.  They immediately looked at me with suspicion, but did it anyway!

 

And with a little intro along the lines of my desire for them to be productive, to focus on things that excite and interest them, and the need sometimes to have external motivators; though of course, we would all like to have internal motivation, sometimes a list is a good thing!

 

The penny dropped – they all knew where I was headed!  Jessica had found a bucket list web-based app that she was enjoying.  I wanted us all to write up a bucket list and to do it together so we can sharpen off each other, and encourage each other with different things that came to mind.

 

Day Zero Project provides a place to write 100 goals with the idea of achieving in 1001 days – which is of course not quite three years.  There is no prize – other than the adrenaline of ticking off a list – and there is no goal-police checking that you get it all done.  It is just a list of ideas and dreams.

 

As we started to write our own list, we started to talk about how the list would work for each of us.  Some found it to broad, some found it too specific, some found it just right.  I gave them the freedom to find other apps that would help them monitor 100 goals.  You can purchase a version of Day Zero Project that gives you far more flexibility, but we decided against that and want to use free apps at this stage.

 

As you start to write different things you want to accomplish, or learn, or explore you can browse different goals and ideas that others have used.  This is helpful, as was hearing the banter and discussions around our table.  As I started to write my goals I considered the categories I’ve used in educating the whole child: relationships, responsibilities, intrapersonal skills, talents, academic learning.  I want, for myself, and for my kids, to have goals for all areas of life not just travel, or health, or developing good habits, which are the normal things we get stuck on when setting goals at the beginning of the year.

 

So now we all have a bucket list.  And I hope that it will help us all use the little bit of free time we have productively, I hope it will help us not forget dreams in the midst of the busyness of today.

 

Read Jessica’s blog post on this topic:  101 Goals in 1001 Days

 

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