Listen instead

I’m a goal setter, but don’t like the drudgery of traditional goal setting. Also, I feel that I am not the ideal person to identify my worst flaws and prioritize their improvement. The best people to do that are those around me most: my family. But they don’t want to offend me, so I invented a way to get them to give me their best feedback without them feeling like they’re going to offend me.

Here’s the plan:

Everyone in the family has to come up with a goal for everyone else in the family (not for themselves). So in my family of 7, I’ll come up with 1 goal for each of my 6 other family members, and they will do the same for everyone else. This will generate a bunch of ideas about what each family member feels is most needed for me. If you’re worried about offending each other, then do it secret ballot style. There will be a bunch of duplicates. Just consolidate the list so that each person has a set of suggested goals. For my family of 7, each person will have up to 6 goal ideas, but more likely 2-3 after consolidating duplicate ideas.

Give every family member $10 of monopoly money, times the number of family members, for my family, that makes it $70 monopoly money for each person. Each person has to spend $10 on each family member, putting their money on the goal they would most like that person to work on. Add up the totals. Whichever goal has the most money, that becomes the top priority for that particular person.

Attach a BIG reward to the accomplishment of the goal. “BIG” needs to be proportionate to the goal and person. For example, if my daughter, when she was very young, sets a goal to “stop sucking your fingers” (which is a persistent problem), she may get a reward like a night out to Chuck E Cheese or a movie with Mom and Dad–something big to her. For adults, be creative within your budget.

Make sure the goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART). This makes for a fun way to set meaningful goals, achieve them, and create some family unity at the same time!