It is that time again! Time to dust off the resolutions and goals for a brand new year. Here is an idea to help you work through this effort that I really enjoy.
My family and I create annual sparkboards. It is such an easy way to help generate ideas, create visions, and bring your visions in to action. We look forward to the time together and the positive creativity the exercise generates – but first, remember to set the mood. We like fun music, lots of materials, and my husband and I like a little wine. We have several magazines, every color marker, glue sticks, patterned scissors, and anything we can use out of our hobby cupboard.
Each of us has our own poster board to create a sparkboard. On one side of the poster board, we divide the board with a marker into three columns, each titled: Me, My People and My Work. My husband, Bill, and I have chosen five years out in the future to create our vision, and the kids – ages 13 and 15 – use the year they turn 25. This side really is meant to be creative. Gather any words, pictures, symbols possible to describe what you want for yourself 5 years out (or whatever year you choose). It can be broad and big, because you have time to make these dreams become realities.
Then, on the other side of the same poster board, we divide the board with a marker into the same three columns; except the kids use “My School” instead of “My Work”, and we identify the actions we can do this year to help us move toward our vision described on the other side of the poster board. It can be anything – but be realistic and honest. There is no need to list out a bunch of actions you don’t plan to do.
If you really own your vision, your intentions, you need to own the actions it will take to get you there. If you don’t know what you can do to get to your vision, then you have some learning to do – that is an action. Also, make them easy and small, so you can build up. Pick one you will do within the next week. You want to be able to add the actions in to your daily routine, or else you won’t do them, and you will quickly lose the value connection of that action to your vision.
When each us of finish our sparkboards independently, we then share the boards with each other. Each of us presents our sparkboard, and the others encourage and ask questions. It is now the responsibility of our family to stay connected to these visions and hold one another accountable. We actually continue to talk about our visions as a part of daily dinner conversation through the year; in the context of understanding how what you did today helps you achieve what you want in the future. We also post our boards in our home to help remind us of our visions. Because we have done this several times, we now include a reflection component to our conversations: did you do anything about that last year? should that really still be on your list? what are you most proud of? what would you change on your list after experiencing 2009? maybe stuff all of your cash in the mattress?
This really is easy and fun to do. It sounds almost too simple, but it ignites ideas and creativity, as well as brings us closer as a family. Please feel free to share any ideas you use. What matters most is that you are doing something about your intentions – the how is open to interpretations. Best wishes for an amazing 2010!!