The Power of Family Annual Goals

Last week we talked about your Individual Development Plan, the document that will help you focus on activities to better yourself. Where I work, my Individual Development Plan counts 10% toward my annual goals. We take significant time – several meetings over several hours – to determine what we want to do this year as a team and how we will celebrate success come January.

But is your family not more important than your job?

Sure, your career is important. It provides a sense of worth and lets you provide for your family, but it is still secondary. Why not put in the same effort you do at work to ensure you have a successful year as a family?

That’s why it’s time to create your Family Annual Goals.

Start with the big rocks.

Have you heard that you need to start with the big rocks? It’s another Stephen Covey principal in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  You can see a variety of YouTube videos demonstrating this principal. The short version is – you have a limited amount of time – you must start with the most important items first – the big rocks. Then layer in the items of secondary importance, the smaller rocks, then the pebbles and finally the sand.

If you run out of time, you’ve achieved your biggest goals – your big rocks.

So what is a big rock?

Imagine it’s New Year’s Day. You wake up with you family after a wonderful holiday season. You watch that sun rise and reflect on the year that has past. Are you happy? Are you proud? Are you discouraged? Did you accomplish those things you wanted to last year? Why or why not?

I’ve put together a Big Rocks Document to help you set and keep those goals. What are the big things you want to do with your family and for your family? Is it a trip? A new patio? A new minivan? A stronger relationship? A family hobby? Coaching a childrens activity? Getting healthy together?

I know there are things you want to do – so how do you get started?

Pick up some Rocks!

Select 4 to 5 big rocks. These are the heading your will layer in specific measurable goals for you and your family.  Here is the Family Annual Goals form and my sample for your reference.

Let’s do one together.

I’ll choose the Big Rock – Adventure / Travel / New Experiences.  Next, we will talk as a family about the things we would like to do to enhance this portion of our lives this year.

  1. Visit extended family in Oklahoma – This year we will drive to Oklahoma to see family and friends. As a new experience, we will stop in St. Louis so that we can relax as a family and visit a new place, such as the Merrimac Caverns or the St. Louis Arch. We will coordinate with family to ensure we maximize our time while also enjoying our well-deserved relaxation. Target Completion Date – May 15
  2. Orlando Trip – We will fly as a family to Orlando to maximize work travel and give us a new vacation experience. We will determine our activities as a family which may include Disney world. Target Completion Date – June 1
  3. Local Get-Away – We will coordinate with neighbors to take a weekend getaway to a local water park or state park. Target Completion Date – Sept 1
  4. Passports – We will take the steps necessary to obtain our passports so that when we are ready to travel internationally, we have the necessary identification. Target Completion Date – Dec 31

Note that I have target completion dates set throughout the year. This gives you small milestones throughout the year to achieve.

And that’s it. Put 3-5 goals that you want to achieve. If you hit most of them, you’ve had a successful year under this big rock. Hit all of them and your on fire – considering pushing yourself for even stronger goals.

Other areas I’ll be working on are:

  • Home Improvements
  • Physical Activity
  • Family Time

Remember to make Goals SMART

  • Specific: Goals are focused and call for specific action
  • Measurable: Goals are quantifiable in terms of quantity, quality or time
  • Attainable: Goals are achievable, yet challenging
  • Realistic / Relevant: Goals are consistent with bettering yourself and family
  • Time bound: Goals are defined by beginning and end dates

Involve the family

Start a draft using the Family Annual Goals document. Sit down with your family to talk about what you think this year’s goals should be. Take input from the family and work together to shape the plan. This will encourage ownership for the whole family. This will also increase accountability. When your kids say, “I thought we were taking a cruise this year as our goal?!” it tends to refocus your attention.

Post it and Check it

Print or digitally post your goals and place them where all the family can see. Set a reminder and check in on your goals every quarter – at the end of March, end of June, and end of September.

Are you on target to achieve your goals? Should you add or take away anything? These are your goals and they aren’t set in stone. Sometimes, at work, we have to adjust our goals for the needs of the business. You should have the same flexibility at home. Does your kid need braces? Unexpected new water heater? Maybe that’s the new goal and the Florida vacation is pushed to next year. Do what’s right for you.

If you don’t check off everything on your list, don’t beat yourself up. These are your goals and if you are hitting 75% of well created, thoughtful goals,  you are successfully impacting your happiness and the happiness of your family.

The Ratings

At the end of the year, we will talk about how to evaluate you plan. But just for reference – here is the rating system we use.

Rating Scale

  • FE-Far Exceeds Expectations
  • EE – Exceeds Expectations
  • ME – Meets Expectations
  • PM – Partial Meets Expectations
  • FM – Fails to Meet Expectations

As you review you plan, considering if you feel you are having an EE year or a PM year.

May we all FAR EXCEED!

Reference Documents

Feedback is love. Tell me what you think. What do you do at home to enhance your family happiness? Email me at

#daddydevelopment Copyright 2017

Facebook: @daddydevelopment

Twitter: @daddydevelop

Instagram: @stephenpjones10





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