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Parenting
05/07/2010
IconRemembering to Nurture The Nurturer Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org It's a good thing Carrie was born on a Sunday, or her daddy might havemissed the whole thing. The year Carrie arrived, Terry was workingfull-time, plus starting his own business on the side. He allowedhimself one day off a week. That's it. The other six days, he workedevery waking hour, and many of the ones when he should have beensleeping. Was he a workaholic because he was supporting his stay-at-home wife? Nope. I was working full-time, too. And because he was sleeping when Iwas working, we never saw each other. Literally. I take that back. We had a standing date for lunch on Wednesdays. Wemet at a little cafeacute; near my office, 1-2 p.m. Then he had to run. Two years of this ridiculous lifestyle brought us nothing but a failedbusiness and an almost failed marriage. Absence does not make the heartgrow fonder. Absence makes the heart grow resentful. Many couples who have had to deal with love on tight schedules know whatI'm talking about. A great relief settled on the Gochnauer householdonce Terry dropped the second job. And when I came home two yearslater, our marriage really started to grow. That's because we were finally able to spend lots of time together. Itdidn#146;t matter what shift Terry worked, because when he was off, I wasoff. We hear a lot about how having a stay-at-home mom benefits kids. I'mhere to tell you - having a stay-at-home wife benefits a husband, too. But what if we're working opposite shifts so our children are never indaycare? Be careful. Sometimes we get in trouble by focusing too much on thekids and not enough on Mom and Dad. It's crucial that we cultivate therelationship that's holding this family together, treating it with asmuch respect as the mother and child bond. Whatever schedule you and your husband are on, build in lots of qualityAND quantity time for the two of you alone. A peck on the cheek as thebaby is passed from one parent to the other isn't going to cut it. Each husband and wife needs to feel as loved as the children they'renurturing. Try to find the balance that will allow all members of yourfamily to blossom, as everyone receives the affection and attention theyneed. You might want to check out Cheryl#146;s latest book, #147;Stay-at-HomeHandbook: Advice on Parenting, Finances, Career, Surviving Each Day More#148; (InterVarsity Press, 2002) from your local library. If you#146;drather have your own copy, visit www.homebodies.org/bookstore/orderSAHH.htm or write Cheryl@homebodies.org . You can also read her column on the Web by clicking here . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconA Process To Deal With War/Terrorism Jitters How We and Our Nation Can Learn To Cope with the Worries Over The War With Iraq By Dr. J. Mitchell Perry, Business Psychologist and Human Performance Expert We are being bombarded daily with war news in Iraq.The news is unsettling and unnerving and is taking a toll with the serenity ofAmericans at home. We are becoming more worried than usual, and some of us are having trouble coping with the stress.How can we cope with this threat to our well-being and life- as- we-know it?Here are five tips: Accept the Reality That War/Terrorism Happens Recognize that war is a constant and that war will always be with us. About a dozen wars are ongoing in the world at any given time. Understand that terrorism and war rocks our perception of stability, but, in essence, stability is merely a perception. Remember that you will always feel better when you accept circumstances as they are rather than agonizing about how things should be. Control Over- Compensating Behavior By overeating, over-drinking, gambling, incurring credit card debt, chronic lying, overworking, etc., we are living our lives out of control. Start by identifying the out of balance indicators. Next start to solve aberrant behaviors to get our life back in order. Take some proactive steps toward more control and responsibility over what you can control. Lose the weight, exercise, get your financial house in order, increase your effort to live up to your basic governing standards, manage your time better....in short take more command over your life. When you do, you will find the severity of concerns/worries about the war with Iraq will lessen once you have better control over your own personal and business life. Look At the Threat Realistically By accepting the reality of war, we can focus on a solution on how to deal with it. When we focus on a solution, we will go beyond merely describing the problem and provide ourselves with mental and emotional tools. Problem describing can be a chronic habit and lead to more worries, increased perception of helplessness and powerlessness. So spend more of your time focusing on problem solution. Your power will increase and so will your ability to cope with the reality of war. Keep the "Worry" In Context with the Rest of Our Lives Change your behavior to protect against the perception of disaster. Preparefor and be ready to accept a new reality. Since September 11, the world has changed and so have our ways of dealing with national security. We now face the task of coming to terms with the daily threat of terrorism. Remember that other countries have been dealing with this for years (like Israel and South Africa). When you catastrophize, you get weaker. When you concentrate on what you can do, you get stronger. Focus On Connection With Others Around You Spend more time making contact with people your care about. Strengthen those relationships that need time and attention. Do the maintenance on yourself and those important people in your lives. Make your relationships closer and you will feel stronger and less alone. Get out of worrying alone and spend more time with others. In that way you will feel less hostage to the latest news release promoting fear. The reality is that we have more control than we think over what develops in our lives. Sometimes events outside our control can be a threat to our perception of control. However, our journey can be smoother once we strengthen our lives with more balance. Our goal is to increase our personal power and decrease being hostage to fear. The above ideas can aid significantly in that goal. Dr. J. Mitchell Perry is a business psychologist, author and human performance expert. He is based in Ventura, California and his website is www.jmperry.com . Email: drjmperry@jmperry.com Phone: 800 JMPERRY. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconJust Say No....and Challenge Yourself By Carrie Myers Smith Saying no is tough! But it's a necessity if you're to become a woman inwellness. Recently, a friend and I were talking. Her son was playingbasketball (among other activities, including karate and snowboarding),our boys were not. She wanted to know how we did it. "How do you do it? How do you say no?" "Simple," I replied. "I open my mouth." Okay, so it's not really thatsimple. In a nutshell, you first need to desire a certain outcome. Inthis case, we didn't want to confine our entire winter-weekends and week to basketball. Secondly, you need to make a choice-either go withwhat you desire, or choose what you know in the end will not make youhappy. We chose to not do basketball. Our boys do soccer and baseball,and we thought that was plenty. Since we live in the Northeast, they didoutdoor activities instead-and didn't suffer because of missing out onbasketball. Finally, you need to act on your decision. That's whereactually saying no comes in. If you live in a small town, you understand the pressure for your kidsto be involved in everything. And because everyone knows everyone, smalltown people really have a knack for slathering on the guilt when youdecline. But you need to decide what is best for you and your family,not what's in the town's best interest. In our case, it definitely paidoff. The parents whose kids played basketball complained all season longbecause of the crazy schedule. Weeknights and every weekend wereengulfed in basketball. Some games were more than two hours away. Andsome days, they had a game somewhere in the morning and another gamesomewhere else in the afternoon. Did I mention these werenine-year-olds? Learning to say no is one of the first steps in becoming a woman inwellness and building the healthy life you and your family deserve. Now,go to a mirror and practice saying it: no, no, no. You can do it! Challenge Yourself Have you come to a point in your life where you feel good rather thanguilt for saying no? Obviously, there are times we have to say no tosomething we really wish we could say yes to. But so much of our livesis filled with fulfilling other people's expectations of us. How manyhours a week are you spending on fulfilling other people's expectations?How many hours a week are you at your home? How much time does yourfamily spend as down time-together? I want you to do a littleexperiment. Keep a log for a week of your schedule. I don't just mean acalendar. I mean, really keep track of what everyone is doing. Tally upthe time each day that everyone is together. If you're single, keeptrack of how much time you're at home or doing something you reallyenjoy-work doesn't count! At the end of the week, figure out how muchtime you actually spent with someone else in your family. How much timeis everyone in the house at the same time? Sleeping doesn't count! Nowsit down with your family and show them the results. Discuss whatactivities each person could consider cutting down on. I'm notadvocating quitting half-way through a sports season or otherresponsibility. But begin today to practice saying no. Stop and think ofthe implications it will have on yourself and your family if you take on"just one more thing." One other thing I encourage you to do is considereach of your children's true gifts and talents. Are they being nurtured?In our Super Woman ways, we try desperately to create Super Offspring,often at the expense of nurturing their true gifts. There is so muchcompetition in today's world to have well-rounded kids. They know alittle bit about a lot of things, but each child has a special talent. Ichallenge you to sit down with each child and discuss this with him orher. Kids get stressed out, too, and they may be relieved to have yourblessing to cut down on some of their activities. Carrie Myers Smith is a Wellness Coach, contributing editor for Energymagazine and founder and president of www.womeninwellness.com . Click here for a free 30 day trial toCarrie's Women in Wellness Life Coaching Program. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconThe "Marriage Advantage" Married Men Earn More Joanne Watson Studies show married men earn an average of 10-40% more money than thosewho have never married, yet have similar education and work experience. And in the current economy, being part of a team, is one way to giveyourself a real advantage. If you are a stay-at-home mom (or want to beone) you can contribute to the family income by helping your husbandmake more money, while being home with your kids. Here are some tips for couples who want to work together to boost theirincome. Build your husband's confidence. Confidence will open a lot of doors.Get him to tell you about the five accomplishments he is most proud of,and write them down. Then add his best qualities to the list. Is heeasy-going? Dependable? Persistent and methodical? Creative? Once herealizes how valuable he is to an employer, it will be much easier to goafter a raise or a higher-paying job and get it. Husband and Wife networking. Think about who you know that could giveyour husband an introduction to a great, higher-paying opportunity. Itcould be someone you meet on the job, at the PTA, a volunteer activityor any number of places. If you are the social type, you may also wantto have parties or host charity functions to give your husband a chanceto connect with his business contacts on a social level. Help "Market" your husband. He may be great at his profession, butthat doesn't mean he is great at marketing himself. Help him get aterrific resume done, send a mailing to employers, and help make him theemployee they just have to have. Practice with him. Asking for a raise or interviewing for a job can beawkward. If you practice over and over, your husband will be preparedfor the possible questions and responses and will be ready with his"come-backs". By practicing with him, he will be cool, calm andcollected and you will increase his chances of success. Share his dreams. Having someone who believes in your dreams andgoals, and talking about them can help them materialize. Every greatcompany was once just an idea, and most top executives started outsomewhere less prestigious, but they had a goal and they accomplishedit. Listen to his dreams and offer support and encouragement, and youmay help him accomplish his goals as well. There are many ways you can help boost your husband's earnings. Byforming a team, couples can make the "marriage advantage" work for them,and help make at-home parenting affordable. Joanne Watson is the author of How to Help Your Husband Make More Money,So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom (Warner Books Jan. 2003). Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconFour Ways To Take Back Your Family's Time Together by Leslie Godwin, MFCC, Career Life-Transition Coach Year-round school makes scheduling family vacations next to impossible. Sports practices often take precedence over family dinners. Pagers, cell phones, and laptop computers keep us tethered to work no matter where we are. Many families are bossed around by schedules on steroids and are starting to fight to get their lives back. You may not be ready to declare war on school officials, team coaches or your boss, but you can improve the quantity AND quality of time together by putting these ideas to work: HOLD FAMILY MEETINGS: A weekly family meeting provides the time and place to discuss family priorities and goals, as well as major and minor disputes (everything from "Kelly went in my room again and borrowed my clothes!!" to "I want to sleep over at Stephanie's house this weekend. I can get my chores done Thursday.") BASE OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES ON FAMILY PRIORITIES: Your family meetings will give you a chance to create family guidelines or rules. Base family and outside activity levels on those agreed-upon priorities and values. This has the wonderful side-effect of teaching your kids how to plan the details of life based on the Big Picture. ENSURE UNSTRUCTURED FAMILY TIME: Kids and adults need unstructured time to read, play, and just hang out together. Too much structured time doesn't allow spontaneity and doesn't teach your children that grown-ups can play and have fun without needing fancy vacations, trips to amusement parks, or other pre-packaged ways to enjoy themselves. (Don't you wish your parents taught you this lesson when it would have been easy to learn?) Enjoying time together is easier when you have a playful attitude. What if you acted playfully and relaxed in these everyday situations: bathtime, when preparing dinner or when helping your child get dressed. (Within reason, of course. I understand that as soon as parents step inside a supermarket, children become inhabited by aliens.) TEACH YOURSELF, SO YOU CAN TEACH YOUR KIDS, HOW TO VALUE BEING IN THE MOMENT: Many young children know this but forget it when social and family pressures to "do" and "accomplish" start to crowd out the more subtle appreciation of being in the moment. This is best taught non-verbally by your example. So here are some ways to teach YOURSELF how to be more present in the moment: Meditate a few minutes every day to quiet your mind and feel centered. Be aware of when you are getting caught up in an emotion like fear or excitement about something that MIGHT happen and calmly ground yourself in the present moment as much as possible. Don't schedule activities too closely together. When you're rushing, you aren't in the moment. Instead, make an effort to do your chores, work, and other activities on your body's natural schedule so you can relax and enjoy (most of) them. You'll probably save time because you won't make as many mistakes as you would if you were in a hurry. Life isn't going to slow down so we can catch up. So the next time you find yourself saying, "Let's go, we're running late!" take a deep breath, remind yourself that you're getting off track, and refuse to be bossed around by your schedule. Leslie Godwin, MFCC, is a Career Life-Transition Coach specializing in helping people put their families, faith, and principles first when making career and life choices. She publishes a free email newsletter on career and life transition. To subscribe, email godwinpss@aol.com and mention that you'd like to be on the email newsletter list. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconOne Income Beats Two Two income families aren#146;t getting what they want#151;and it#146;s costing them more. In a poll by Survey USA, 73% of moms surveyed said being a two income family doesn#146;t allow enough time with the kids, and 87% said they would prefer to be home if they could afford to. Yet, if one income isn#146;t enough to pay the bills, many women will go to work when they would rather be home. However, a better solution is to help your husband make more money. Take this example: Sam makes $40,000. Sam and Donna#146;s family expenses are $50,000. In order to cover the $10,000 shortfall, Donna would have to earn $25,000 out of which she would pay child-care for two children, office wardrobe, possibly a second car and insurance, office lunches and more meals out or convenience foods due to busy schedules. Even if Donna#146;s income were higher, the same expenses would have to be deducted. And, the higher combined incomes might put Sam and Donna in a new, higher tax bracket, which would mean Sam would take home less than what he was taking home before Donna went to work. Instead, Donna and Sam could just work together to boost Sam#146;s income by $10,000 for the same net result, but with Donna able to stay home. Something that isn#146;t that hard to do when armed with the right information. In fact, couples working together have an advantage. Helping your husband may not sound #147;politically correct#148;, but working as a team to increase one income may be the ticket to having a lower-stress, family friendly lifestyle, and still being able to pay the bills. The joys and rewards of being home with your kids makes one income beat two, hands down. How to Help Your Husband Make More Money, So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom by Joanne Watson (Warner Books Jan. 2003) is available in Dr. Laura's Reading Corner bookstores nationwide. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMoments for Mom a Wife February, 2003 I'm going to take you on a little tangent this month, ladies. We'regoing to talk about the men in our lives seeing as it is the month oflove (according to Hallmark, at least). I don't know about you - but laughter is hugely important to me. I loveto laugh and my husband, Kevin, in his unique way, makes me laugh harderthan anyone else can. (Definitely one of the reasons I married him.) The other day, I told my husband, Kevin, that I wanted him to come upwith a nickname for me. Something other than honey or Beth. Somethingthat meant something to both of us. And something that was actuallynice. I explained to him that two of our couple friends' husbands havenicknames for their wives and I thought it was really sweet. He sighed,rolled his eyes, and said, 'You're kidding me, right?' But he startedthrowing some out nevertheless. 'Toots?' Um, no. I'm looking for a tad more personal, please. 'Slim?' Why? 'Because you're slim.' That's sweet, but no. 'Winnie?' Winnie?! 'You say, 'I win' a lot.' No I don't, so no. 'Blackie?' What? 'You look good in black?', he said with a bit of aquestion, his weariness showing, his creativity waning. Again, thankyou, but no. 'Peri?' Why Peri? 'Your favorite color is periwinkle.' No, no it'snot. I actually dislike periwinkle. (By this time, I'm beginning towane.) Til he tossed out his final offering, and quite confidently I must add,'7.' 7? Are you kidding me? Why? 'It's your favorite number.' Noit's not, I said with a sigh of resignation. 'Well, what's yourfavorite number then?' 63. '63?! Whose favorite number is 63?! Andwho calls anyone 63?!' No one calls anyone by their favorite number! Sigh. So 7 it is. Just a peek into our goofy life. And there's only one reason I gave youthis glimpse, because I want to encourage you to laugh, to find theidiosyncrasies in your relationship that make it so unique, to remindyou that your lives are so intertwined that the bond is unbreakable, toremind you that you have a history and a present and a futuretogether, and to remind you that all of this is a gift from God. HappyValentine's Day, ladies! copy; Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2003. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com Elisabeth K. Corcoran is the author of Calm in My Chaos: Encouragementfor a Mom's Weary Soul (2001), which can be purchased directly throughher publisher, Kregel Publications at #1-888-644-0500 or www.kregel.com ,or at chrbook.com or familychristian.com, or through yourlocal Christian bookstore. This column is original and not excerptedfrom her book. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMyths and Misunderstandings of the Grieving Process by Brook Noel Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. It is the rare school or family environment that teaches what to expect either emotionally or pragmatically, when life collapses in tragedy, especially the advent of sudden and unexpected death. A sudden loss can put one into a whirlwind of emotions and visceral responses, twisting and turning us until we are set down in a place that feels as foreign as another planet. Like a hurricane, there is nothing like it, and nothing can prepare us. We can only follow suggested guidelines, i.e. evacuate, board up, etc. However, unlike a hurricane where there is often advance warning, with sudden death there is no such warning#151;no way to prepare. We are ill-prepared to handle sudden death because we don#146;t expect life to be so tenuous, so fragile. However, once our lives are touched by the experience of tragic loss, we never look at life in quite the same way. We become acutely aware of the delicate nature of the human organism, and life becomes precious in a way it never was before. You can consciously shift from feeling grief is #147;something that happens to you#148; to #147;grieving is something you do to heal.#148; Remember, when life feels out of control, and it#146;s bound to during this time, that you do have control over how you will grieve and this can be very empowering. In this article we will cover many of the common myths that people hold today. You may have encountered some of these already or been feeling pressured by them yourself. By examining the myth we can create a more well-rounded picture. Myth #1 - Death is death, sudden or long term and we all grieve the same way. Of course there will be some commonalties in the grieving process. Truth is, depending on our life experiences, age, sex, resiliency, number of previous losses, health, cultural expectations and relationship to the deceased, we will each #147;do grief#148; in our own unique way. No two of us are exactly alike in our histories and in our relationship to the deceased. Myth #2 - By keeping busy I can lessen or eliminate my grief. In an attempt to avoid the pain, grievers may choose to keep busy. We may find ourselves cleaning the house, dusting bookshelves, cleaning closets and engaging in other non-important tasks. However, you will find this #147;busyness#148; is simply a sidetrack that will only work for a short time. There is clearly no way around grief. Myth #3 - I am going crazy and I#146;m afraid I will stay that way. Sudden death creates trauma for the survivors on many levels. Trauma victims may not behave as people would expect. Many people report feeling numb and indifferent. Those around you, may expect you to be more openly distraught and you may hear comments like, #147;My, you sure are taking this well,#148; or #147;I expected to find you in a more disturbed state.#148; You may find yourself walking around in a fog with an inability to make decisions. You may behave in a matter-of-fact way and you may appear to be functioning at a rather high level. Blank stares are common as the mind tries to grapple with the unimaginable. You may not weep, cry or wail for some time. All of these behaviors may puzzle onlookers and family members, and all of these behaviors are normal and temporary. Myth #4 - I will need to make sure I don#146;t grieve for too long#151;one year should be enough. Sometimes societal and religious beliefs impose rules like time limits for grief, what we should wear, how we should behave, when and where we should talk about the death and to whom. With sudden death, as with any death, we must find our own way through to embrace life again. Most recoveries from sudden death take at least two years, and in some ways we never #147;get over#148; the loss completely. Our expression of grief needs to come out of our need to make meaning or sense from what feels like meaningless tragedy, and no time limit can be set on that. Myth #5 - If I express my anger at God or the circumstances of the death, I am a bad person and will #147;pay#148; for it. Anger is an extremely uncomfortable emotion for some of us, but it is one of the most important ones to express. If you become angry with God, don#146;t judge yourself too harshly. As Earl Grollman writes, #147;It#146;s okay to scream at God. He can take it.#148; The Psalms are full of raging at God about injustices. We believe God can handle anything we throw his way. However, if you find your anger is becoming out of control (i.e. breaking valuables, threatening or preparing to kill someone, wanting to burn the church or hospital down or you have suicidal thoughts) immediately seek appropriate professional help and guidance. Myth #6 - I won#146;t have to grieve as much and I will feel better if I use alcohol or medication to alleviate my sadness. Some survivors will use, or increase their use, of alcohol or antidepressants. By doing this however, they distance themselves from what they need to feel to heal, and they distance themselves from their family members and support systems. The grief simply goes underground and waits to be expressed. They may mistakenly believe that #147;If I drink (drug) to get over it, then the grief will be gone when I#146;m sober.#148; Nothing could be further from the truth. Some will need the temporary relief that medication can provide in order to function and a competent therapist should help make this decision. Myth #7 - If I talk about my loss I#146;ll feel worse. You cannot move through your grief unless you experience it. Hiding it or denying it will only prolong it. Meeting and talking with other people who have been through this process will help you. Ellen Sue Stern writes in Living with Loss: Meditations for Grieving Widows, #147;It#146;s essential to allow yourself to talk as much as you want; healing is hastened by reminiscing about your husband [or loved one] processing the last days of his life, the funeral and any other details surrounding his death. For now choose only to spend time with people who are supportive and understanding, who can lovingly listen as long as you need to talk.#148; Myth #8 - After a while I won#146;t think about it anymore. You may be ambushed by grief when you least expect it. To believe you can forever put the loss and the circumstances surrounding the death #147;out of your mind#148; is a completely unrealistic expectation. You will, from time to time, throughout your life, re-experience feelings associated with the loss. Myth #9 - I should be relieved that they didn#146;t suffer a long and lingering illness. You may hear some say #147;well at least he died quickly#151;be happy for that.#148; Perhaps you are thinking this way if the person you lost suddenly was much older or had been suffering. But for most of us, the sudden death was an untimely one#151;one that occurred way too soon for the person and those left behind. There may be little, if any, relief in the knowledge that they died quickly. Myth #10 - Once I am done with one stage of grief, I will simply move on to the next. With the popularity of the well-known #147;Five Stages of Grief#148; (Kuuml;bler-Ross,) some people mistakenly believe that grief is a linear process. Like we said before, recovery is not like an elevator that takes you from the basement of despair to the penthouse of joy. It is more like a maze where you go forward a bit, move back a few steps, cover the same ground again and find yourself at the beginning. Like a fun house hall of mirrors, you see yourself over and over again, distorted and misshapen until you come out the other side. Myths can prohibit the process of recovery. Use the above Myth-Busters to work past the myth to reality. Excerpted from I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: surviving, coping and healing after the sudden death of a loved one by Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair. Available through your favorite bookseller or at www.championpress.com Brook Noel is also the founder of GriefStepsTM www.griefsteps.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconGoals for the New Year By Patricia Chadwick www.parentsandteens.com As the New Year dawns, now is the time to think of your goals for the coming year. I'd once heard a saying, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!" I found this to be quite true and have strove over the years to write down my goals and review them often. I find this helps me to accomplish the things that are important to me. I suggest that you get away by yourself for a day in order to really think about the goals you want to set for you and your family. You will benefit by having several hours alone without any distractions. That way you can really think deeply about the things you want to accomplish. If you can't take a day, split your goal setting session into 2 or 3 hour sessions until you are done. If your teens are in school and your husband works outside the home (2 things that I don't have!), you can spend your time when they are gone setting your goals. Turn off the phone and television - and don't go on the Internet! Since I don't have this opportunity, I've done it several ways. One year, I went up to our summer cottage, lit the wood stove, and spent the day goal setting. Another year, I took a drive to a small, quiet restaurant in a neighboring county and spent the day sipping hot cocoa and setting my goals. Another year, my husband took my family away for the day and I stayed at home, spending the day writing out my goals. Anyway you can, make it happen! Setting your goals down on paper will help you attain them throughout the year. As we think of these objectives, we might wonder what types of goals we should be setting. This is something personal. To set my goals I use a loose-leaf notebook with a yearly calendar in it. I break the notebook into 12 categories. You may find that more or less works for you. Think about what is important to you and set out to attain it! Below are some ideas to get you started. Spiritual Goals This section will help you focus on what you would like to accomplish spiritually during the year. You might want to include things like: Studying the Bible more in depth Reading through the Bible in a year Practice the spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, journaling, etc.) Learn to be quiet and listen to God's voice and then do what he says! Read a certain Christian Book Develop a certain character trait Work on loving your neighbor as yourself Family Goals In this section you will focus on what you wish to accomplish as a family. It may include character traits you wish to instill in your children. You may want to include items such as: Work on treating each other with respect Discuss sexuality with my young teen Help your teen prepare to get his license Work on developing a closer relationship Help teens become more independent and self-sufficient Train teens in various practical living skills Continue to develop Bible study skills Have family devotions Strive to eat supper together at least 5 times a week You may also want to break it down into separate goals for each member of your family. Marriage Goals This section will help you focus on improving your marriage relationship.You may want to include things such as: Work on understanding my spouse better Read 2 marriage enrichment books this year and practice what I learn. Remember to show respect and love Find a counselor who can help with marital difficulties (if needed) Plan a "date night" at least once a month Pray meaningful prayers for my spouse Personal Goals This section will help you focus on yourself. What goals do you want to attain personally in the coming year? Do you have hopes and dreams for your own future? This is the place to write them down! You may want to include items such as: Take a college class community college Learn how to use the internet more efficiently Learn how to design web sites Read at least 3 books "just for fun" Make one new friend Work on living healthy - eating better, exercise, etc. Financial Goals This section will help you focus on making ends meet and saving for the future. You may want to include items such as: Stay out of debt Tithe regularly Work on living more simply Begin saving $40 per month in savings Eat out only once a week to save money Work out an investment plan Business GoalsThis is a section every WAHM will want to work on. You many include items such as: Develop a business plan for a new home business Research new marketing techniques Read at least one book on improving your home business Find a new customer base Education Goals Some families homeschool, others have their teens attend public or private day schools. Some have children in college. This section will help you develop educational goals for your family. You may include items such as: Decide whether homeschooling is right for your family Decide on which school your teens should be attending Help teens plan their schedule for next year Help teens develop ideas of what careers they'd enjoy as adults Look into colleges and scholarships with older teens Develop a savings plan for college House Goals This section will help you to put (and keep!) your house in order.You may include items such as: Shampoo Rugs Spring Clean Paint the Kitchen Clean out closets toss old clothes Read a book on organization Have house powerwashed windows washed Keep lawn mowed After you set your goals, put your notebook in a place where it is readily available to you. You don't want to just write the goals down and forget about them! Throughout the year, make a special effort to get out the goal notebook and review it and see how your doing. If you need to work harder on certain objectives, then make a note of it and work harder! If you've accomplished a goal, check it off. If you do this consistently, by the end of the year, you will be amazed at how much you've accomplished and will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did indeed hit what you aimed for! Patti Chadwick is a freelance writer and creator of two websites, www.parentsandteens.com and www.historyswomen.com . Visit her sites and sign up for her FREE weekly newsletters. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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