This edition it's my turn to write in our "Diary" and it's the first of 2017 -
This edition contains 2 challenges for you and your family - So - will you take up the challenge?
2017! I can’t believe that it’s actually the beginning of another year!
I’m sure that you, like me, have dedicated yourself to one or more of the below;
Planned a new exercise/fitness routine
Thrown away all the Christmas chocolates and sweets and dedicated yourself to a healthy eating plan
Set some goals or new year resolutions for yourself about getting into that “little black dress” or suit that you bought in the sales
Many of us set new year resolutions, after all, a new year is a new start and time for new beginnings – we can turn the page on the previous year and look forward with fresh eyes.
We make resolutions usually because there is some aspect of our life that we want to change for the better. I've just had some wonderful quality time on holiday abroad with my family over Christmas. I have two teenage boys and the time we all spend together is usually very limited. Our holidays times together are always times I value and treasure.
Over the New Year period we chatted about our plans for 2017 and what we all wanted to achieve individually and as a family and I really reflected on this question:
How many of us when setting our goals or new year resolutions, think about setting goals for our parenting?
Maybe we promise ourselves that we are not going to shout as much, or not give in to “pester power” then a few days in we find ourselves repeating those same old patterns again.
So why is it that our good intentions fail?
Firstly, in my opinion we usually have unrealistic expectations and try to change the habits of a “parenting” lifetime overnight and become some sort of super parent. Or we have ideas around being, almost like a TV advertisement kind of parent or family. Perhaps those ads make us feel inadequate or even more imperfect than normal, cementing our negative beliefs about ourselves and how our families should be.
Let’s think about it another way, instead of thinking about resolutions, let’s think about solutions.
In life you attract whatever it is that you think about the most. If you think about negative words like giving up, stopping, doing less or having the word “don’t or should” in your parenting goal, your subconscious attracts what you don’t want – so firstly remember to write and speak your parenting or family goals in the positive and also in the present tense, as if it is happening now!
Think about how you will feel and sound when you have found the solution to your parenting challenge, but we can’t do it alone. Good strategies and ideas are crucial to the outcome you desire.
So for 2017 here are a couple of ideas and strategies that I challenge you to commit to this year to focus yourself on becoming “the best parent you can be”
My First Challenge is to Create a “Family Happiness Jar”
This is such a wonderfully simple technique and one that I absolutely love.
First, get a large jar and decorate it or just label it “Family Happiness Jar”
Then use pretty coloured paper cut into strips, or maybe cut with pinking scissors for an even more creative effect. Create a large number of strips and keep them in a safe place or in a pretty box beside your jar.
Now you are ready!
Every day you add a note to your jar that describes a moment that made you happy. The more you fill it up with happy and thankful moments, the more beautiful it becomes.
You might be asking “But what do I put in?”
Your happiest moment of that day
Something you are grateful for
You could also include a token or ticket stub from a trip you loved
Notes from your kids about their happiest moments or best moments from that day
Everyone comments of their favorite part of a movie you watch together or a family outing or holiday
Get everyone to contribute - Whatever it is, write it down, put a date on it, and place it in the jar.
Open your jar at the end of the year and enjoy all your positive family moments or open it whenever you are feeling you all need a little boost.
A variation for older families is to all write down your personal goals for that year and put them in the jar, then on NYE open the jar and see how you’ve got on
My next challenge to you is to create a Family or Parenting Vision Board.
Vision boards were really brought to our attention by the wonderful Oprah Winfrey who said “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe”
So why not use this within our families for our vision of parenting or what we want to achieve as a family!
I’m such a strong believer of this strategy. Numerous celebrities have shared over the years about the impact of creating inspirational vision boards and many of my clients have used it with great success.
How to create a Parenting/Family Vision Board
Focus your mind on your visions, hopes, dreams for the future as a parent or as a family. Include simple things and great big things.
Step 1: Go through your magazines and cut out the images from them. Take photographs when you are out and about, buy postcards and visit Pinterest for ideas.
No gluing yet! Just let yourself have lots of fun looking through magazines and pulling out pictures or words or headlines that strike your fancy. Have fun with it. Make a big pile of images and phrases and words and even adding fabrics etc. to give it a 3D effect.
Include things your intuition is calling you to do – a vision of a new look you, or a way you desire to live. Things that cause you to say “That’s my style, I want to be like that”
Step 2: Go through the images and begin to lay your favourites on the board. Eliminate any images that no longer feel right. This step is where your intuition comes in.
As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll get a sense how the board should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board.
There are no rules, just create your own personal family brand! Or it may just be that the images want to go all over the place. Or you might want to fold the board into a book that tells a story.
At my confidence group coaching programmes, I’ve coached women who come up with wildly creative ways to present a vision board and in my group parenting programmes we use this strategy on the final session of our 7 week programme and everyone loves it.
Just ensure you choose pictures that really speak to you and really excite you. Make sure you have words and pictures – big words like “You can do anything”, "calm", "love each other" for example – and include your personal affirmations.
Step 3: Glue everything onto the board. Add writing if you want. You can paint on it, use glitter glue or write words with markers.
Take your time, don’t rush it – creating a vision board can take a couple of evenings or even a week or two – the preparation is all part of the visioning for the future, so let your imagination run wild, get your creative juices following and make it really precious to you.
Step 4: Leave space in the very centre of the vision board for a fantastic photo of your family where you all look radiant and happy. Paste it in the centre of your board.
Step 5: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often. It's really important to see these images every single day.
You might decide to do this alone or get your children to do it with you and make it a whole family activity. What a wonderful way to create a joint vision for the future of your family.
So will you take up the challenge? Let me know how you get on - tweet or facebook me pictures of your jars and vision boards. I'd also love to hear how you get on - After all - what you focus on you get more of!