Three Reasons Why Your Family Should Plan Strategically Every New Year

20141230_140107At the start of every year, my wife, my two children, and I celebrate the new year as a family. This year, we drove up to Tagaytay and stayed at the PHINMA Training Center, a quiet and secluded Tagaytay facility that was perfect for our family’s Strategic Planning meeting.

This year marks the second year of our family’s strategic planning meeting. As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Nobody likes to fail, and the first step towards that horrible conclusion, is the failure to plan. Here are three reasons why your family should strategically plan at the start of every year.

1. Planning sets direction. Speaker and author Steve Maraboli says, “When you establish a destination by defining what you want, then take physical action by making choices that move you towards that destination, the possibility for success is limitless and arrival at the destination is inevitable.”

Define goals for yourself and your family that you can work towards. Once you have these goals in place, it will be easier to identify what needs to be done, and what each member of the family needs to do to get there. What good is all one’s hard work if one doesn’t have a clear goal in mind, or a destination to head towards? Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”

And where do people without a plan end up? Nowhere.

2. Planning helps manage family resources. Having a plan helps couples manage their resources and budgets better. Planning requires we identify the resources–including time and budget–needed to see the goals to completion, and reduce the chance of failure and disappointment later on.

For example, if your family goal for 2015 involves a large expense, you can budget for it on a monthly basis to know how much you need to save. If your child’s individual goal is to learn how to play an instrument, you know that you’ll need to allocate not just the budget, but the cost and time to take your child to the tutor (assuming the tutor doesn’t do home visits). If your goal is to spend time with your family, you can identify how you’ll spend that time, then factor in the time and expense it would otherwise take to do that.

3. Planning sets people up for success. As men and husbands, we must take the lead role in setting our families up for success, especially our wives. When our wives’ goals are clear, we husbands would then know what we have to do to help them get to where they want to go. It sets the stage up for great communication and teamwork.

Family Strategic PlanningJust as importantly, we set our kids up for success. Shannon Alder says, “There is one gift that trumps all other talents—being an excellent parent. If you can successfully raise a child in this day in age to have integrity then you have left a legacy that future generations will benefit from.” Planning and skillful execution of that plan will pay off as you raise children who are better suited for the challenges of life.

If it helps, here is the agenda that our family identified in our strategic planning for this year:

1. Year in Review. For this part, we reviewed 2014, using our family’s Mission Statement and Values as a jump-off point. We asked ourselves to rate ourselves on a scale of 1-10, on how we did in terms of Godliness, Respect, Integrity, Perseverance, and Excellence. We also identified two to three highlights for the year.
2. Technology Policy Review. We reviewed our family’s Technology Policy, which we drafted to help our children discipline themselves in using the family’s various devices. We updated the policy to include a Consequences section, and revised the allowable times on weekends.
3. Family and Individual Goals for 2015. We set individual goals for ourselves (e.g., Nathan to become more organized; Nicki to have better eating habits), and a family goal to save up a certain amount of money by the end of the year.
4. Expenses. We’ll be making separate time to discuss operational expenses (monthly) and capital expenses (big, one-time).

We started and ended our session–and family time–with a word of prayer. Proverbs 16:3 tells us, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” I believe the ultimate success of our plans lies in its ultimate goal: the honor and worship of God. May the LORD bless you as you plan for your families this 2015!