Your Family Goal Setting Guide

Family goal setting pulls your family together and enriches family life. Happy and successful families don't happen over night! Setting family goals helps you to focus on the family and achieve work life balance.

Here I provide you with a step-by-step guide to setting family goals and achieving them.

These steps include:

  1. Get your family on board and motivated to achieve goals
  2. Practice 'no limit' thinking to clarify your vision
  3. Develop long-term family goals
  4. Create an action plan to achieve your long-term family goals
  5. Develop short-term family goals
  6. Create a family goal setting plan for short-term goals

Now when talking about family goals what I am talking about are two different types of goals.

  1. Tangible family goals. These include things such as things that you can buy or build. A new family home, a vacation, a toy that you want to purchase for your children at Xmas....these are tangible family goals
  2. Intangible family goals. This might include more compassion and empathy. A more enriched family experience or quality time with your family.
family goal setting guide

Whether you want to set tangible or intangible goals, family goal setting is beneficial. Setting family goals allows you and your family to reflect on your dreams and accomplishments and discuss strategies to achieve them.

But setting family goals is also a good experience for your children - they get to experience an important to set goals!

1. Get the family on board

Family goal setting is not about one person setting goals and expecting the rest of the family to pull their weight.

Family goal setting is a collaborative process - it involves working together and getting your family on board. This alone may require time, patience, and planning.

It is important that, before you sit down with the family, you have a discussion with your partner about the direction in which you want to head (especially if family goal setting involves children).

Setting family goals is a great way for the family to work together towards a positive outcome.

Consider a Family Meeting
Family goals should be set with your spouse and children, especially if your children are teenagers or older. There is a great book that I recently read on goal setting for kids as a way to promote confidence and develop life skills. Rather than setting family goals, young children may benefit more from planning things like a vacation.

2. Practice no-limit thinking

Family goal setting is a great way to focus the family on a positive vision of the future - the type of future that resembles the person you want to be and the type of family that you want to belong to.

Setting family goals is a great way to discuss your goals as a family, offering encouragement and support. Sharing your dreams and the values that your family considers are important helps to develop your goals.

Do you want more enriching relationships with those that matter most? Do you want to change a personal habit or go on an end-of-year vacation? Are you looking for a better work life balance?

Balancing work and family can be an important goal for working moms and dads. The lack of a clear vision of the type of family you want makes it can be difficult to set clear and purposeful goals!

"Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination."

Fitzhugh Dodson

Family goal setting starts with a vision of what you would like your family to look like, and then taking steady steps to achieve this goal.

Each family member should have five minutes to imagine their ideal future as a family, five years from now:

  • Imagine if your family were perfect 5 years from now - what would it look like?
  • What kind of living standards would you have and where would you be living?
  • What optimal amount of time do you want to spend with the family?
  • In 5 years' time, what sorts of things would the ideal family be doing?

Practice 'No Limit' Thinking
Wave a magic wand over your family - allow yourself to think with no limits. What is your image of your perfect family? How would your perfect family spend time together? When you practice 'no limit' thinking it stops you asking the "Yes...but" questions that dampens your motivation and allows your true vision of your family to emerge. These right-brained goal setting activities help you to brainstorm an ideal vision of your family.

3. Write down long-term family goals

Practicing 'no limit' thinking allows you to dream big and clarify a vision of your ideal family. What changes can you start to make to move you in the direction of your ideal family?

Download your family goal setting worksheet (PDF file).

Identify those actions that support your overall long-term family goals. Print one form for each long-term goal that you want to set.

Writing your family goals and identifying the actions that support your long-term goals is a key component of making concrete family goals. If writing goals down on goal setting forms is not your thing then goal setting software may be more beneficial to you and your family.

Whether you write goals down or use goal setting software, the important thing is to take them from the abstract to the concrete. Once this is done the next step is to set SMART goals.

Setting SMART goals

When setting goals it is important to set SMART goals.

What are SMART goals?

SMART goals is an acronym for goal setting success:

smart goals



Action based



There is a long line of goal setting research that shows that setting SMART goals improves goal setting success.

Family Goal Setting Activity
Choose a goal that is a top priority for your family. Can you make this goal a SMART goal? For example, a general goal of "to spend more time with the family” can become a SMART goal when I state that “By the end of next month, I want to spend 20 minutes more with my family”. This goal is specific, measurable and has a clear deadline by which to achieve it. Goal setting theory proposes that setting SMART goals focuses the mind on achieving your goal. These goal setting tips ensure that you maximize your chances of goal setting success.

4. What actions support your family goal setting?

You have identified what you want to achieve and have set SMART goals to do so. But one of the most important questions that you can ask yourself is “How you are going to achieve your family goals?”

Asking this "How?" question separates you from the unsuccessful.

Rather than focusing on whether the goal is possible, by asking the 'HOW?' question you change your mindset and discover new opportunities and ways to accomplish your goals. By asking the "HOW?" question you identify actions that create a bridge between today's dream and tomorrow's reality.

How can you achieve your long-term family goal? Do I need to achieve better work life balance? Does your time management at work need to be improved?

If so, how can I improve my personal time management? Do I need to improve my time management at home? If so, then family time management may be beneficial.

These inspirational goal setting quotes or motivational posters may be useful if you are looking for inspiration to achieve goals.

The answer to these types of questions (and I am sure you can think of many more!) forms the basis for setting your short-term family goals - the building blocks to long-term family success.

5. Develop your short-term family goals

A goal setting plan needs to have clear steps to achieve your long-term goals. These steps are your short-term goals.

If you picture a staircase with the top of the staircase being your long-term goal, then each step can be considered as a short-term goal. Each short-term goal that you complete moves you toward your long-term success.Creating short-term goals from your long-term goal maximizes your chances of goal setting success.

For example, a parent who wants to spend more quality time at home with his family may set short-term goals such as leaving work at a reasonable time. This may involve better time management in the workplace that focuses your time on high impact activities

I have had clients who have used these tips on how to increase reading speed and this has freed up more time with family.

  • spending an extra 20 minutes quality time with your family. These tips to focus on the family may be beneficial.
  • Spending less time on email. These email etiquette tips are some of the ones I use with corporate executives to streamline their email usage.

These goal setting templates develop your short-term family goals - which move you toward long-term family goal setting success.

6. Your family goal setting plan

Each short-term family goal has clear actions that support it. What resources do you require to support each of your actions? Do you need new skills, more time, and/or resources such as money?

Are there any obstacles that you may face when working on your fitness goals? Are there ways that you can boost motivation when the going gets tough in your family goal setting?

Write down the resources or potential obstacles that you may face in this setting family goals plan.

If you liked this family goal setting guide then you may also like the career goal setting guide.

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