How to set themes for the year + Happy Holidays video from the St. Clair Family

Our goals and themes of 2019, plus a Happy Holidays Video from our family to yours

How to set themes for the year as a person, a parent, an entire family? Often it’s best done looking backward! As we looked back at 2019, we had a lot of fun. We also made changes, both little and big, toward some of our family’s travel and life goals.

Happy Holidays family video

Winding up in 2019, our family did something a little different. Instead of writing up a holiday letter where we talk about our year in review, we realized we’ve had so much fun making and sharing our wee family videos with you, we did a 2019 Happy Holidays video instead. Here it is:

Want to know more about how we set goals as a family—and how we also set goals retroactively, as we think back over what we did during the year? Check out our family tips, goals, and themes ideas below:

9 tips on how to set family themes and goals for the year

We love to set goals for the year. Often, each of us will even pick one word we used to focus our intentions and to develop, work toward, and implement our goals. However, we understand goals can be tricky targets. Sometimes we realize we were misaligned about what we wanted, and we need to take a fresh look at what we want and need. Here are a few tips that help us set personal and family goals:

  1. Consider both small steps and big leaps.
  2. Review small goals and big goals, and break them down into smaller, piece-by-piece tasks.
  3. You don’t have to set every task for a goal; just figure out how to take one next step along the path.
  4. It’s okay to dream big and fall short.
  5. It’s okay to dream small and exceed your expectations.
  6. It’s okay to fail.
  7. Learn from mistakes and see what you can do better next time.
  8. Give it form. Write it down, paint a picture, make a vision board, but do something that takes your goal out of your mind and puts it into a form you can share and come back to.
  9. Talk over your goals, progress, and challenges with people you trust.

BONUS 10. Sometimes retrospect is the best way to see what goals you set and met

Sometimes, we’ve been too ambitious with the expectations we set for our goals, time, or resources. Then we take stock of what we have done, talk through the goal with one another, and see what progress we made, or if we need to let that goal go.

Other times, we’ve simply gone, well, splat. It sucks, and it hurts, and it can feel hard to find a new way forward.

But we can, and you can too.

That’s why, as we finish up the holidays and think about the year ahead, we also talk through and examine the year that’s now behind us. Funnily enough, sometimes looking back has really clarified our way forward. We’ve also usually realized that we accomplished far much more than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.

Look back and find the goals you might not have realized you reached

Did you accomplish something that you hadn’t really counted as a goal met? Go ahead and set that goal, just in retrospect. Check that sucker off, and celebrate it accordingly.

Sometimes the easiest way to set goals or themes for the year as a family is to look back and see what you did already. After all, sometimes a year simply doesn’t go the way we wanted or hoped. However, many times we can look back with far more perspective, kindness, and understanding of ourselves and what we’ve done.

What were our themes and goals for 2019?

Okay, this is a somewhat philosophical missive about setting goals as a family. But as we watched our 2019 holiday video, we kept thinking about the goals we had set for the year, and not only that, but how we did things throughout the year that had never crossed our minds at the beginning of 2019.

So as you watch the video, here are the themes we focused on in 2019, and the things we did as a family that went into each:

  • Learn
  • Laugh
  • Make
  • Adventure
  • Grow
  • Love

Each theme came to life in different ways, through various goals. For example:

  • We pushed ourselves to take more trips, such as a two-family summer trip to Eastern Oregon, a part of the state we had been wanting to visit more.
  • Connor took part on stage in a karate kata demonstration.
  • Aster learned to ride a bike (and just wait till you hear what she says in the video).

But one of the biggest goals we accomplished as a couple? We celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary!

Not only have we now been married over a decade, but we had our first-ever couple-only weekend. Going to Denver, Jodie’s parents took the kids for the weekend. We spent a couple of days reflecting on our marriage and our commitment to one another, and enjoying everything from a leisurely coffee at a cafe, to a Monet exhibition and a night at the orchestra.

What are our goals and themes for 2020?

We’re still thinking through what we are looking forward to in 2020. After all, how to set themes for the year is always a work in progress! A couple of big things we’re working on? We want to buy a pop-up camper so we can camp more. We also want to take a family trip to Disneyland, since Anthony and the kids haven’t been yet.

And then… Well, we’ll see what else we get up to.

After all, you never know what a new year will bring…

We hope you enjoy our holiday video card, and please share your own holiday wishes and family goals in the comments! Happy Holidays from the St. Clair Family!

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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