Is your family stuck in a rut? Are you bored? Do you find yourself wondering how you got so far off track?
All families go through times like these occasionally. I know I would love to be able to push a pause button and just sit, regroup and get back on track.
While that’s not literally an option, life doesn’t come with a pause button, there are ways we can get back in touch with our families. With a bit of effort it is possible to get in sync, connect and move forward in a deliberate and meaningful way as a team.
I have a great family who I love dearly but that’s not to say we get off track from time to time. I want to share with you a few things we do occasionally to get back on the same page.
1. Have deep and meaningful conversations. After being with someone for months or years it’s easy to take them for granted. We assume we know them better than they know themselves. We consider ourselves experts on their likes and dislikes, their needs and wants. And I’m sure you know what they say about assuming. The thing is people change. Their tastes change. Their hopes and dreams evolve. Their outlook on life has likely changed significantly to what it was 15 years ago.
The simple act of sitting and talking about things that matter can do wonders to deepen the understanding we have for one another.
2. Be present. This probably isn’t the first time you’re hearing this on Zen Habits. When we’re distracted by cell phones, email, work, presentations, TV etc. it’s difficult to really appreciate what’s going on around you. Think about it – if you’re at work trying to have a conversation with your boss but he/she is constantly checking his/her email, phone messages and waving at everyone that walks past the window, how would you feel? Frustrated? Unimportant? Discounted?
You can only fully experience something and give someone your undivided attention when you don’t have the temptation to be somewhere other than where you are in that moment. Your family is no different.
3. Do something fun. Block out a chunk of time and do something fun with your entire family. Go for a walk, ride your bikes or go skating. Do something none of you have done before like rock-wall climbing, yoga or badminton. Team activities where you have to work together to succeed are great ways to promote trust, increase the sense of belonging and unite you as a team.
4. Plan for the future. Think as long term or short term. Maybe you want to plan your summer holidays or what you will do once you’re done school. Maybe you want to plan a little further out and think about retirement or early retirement if that’s in the cards. Planning together gives a sense of longevity to the relationship and gives you something to work towards together.
5. Invest in your family. Take the time to really put your family first. So many of us simply pay lip service to the phrase “family is my number one priority” yet very few of us actually live it. Investing a bit of time and energy in your family can tighten that core unit, make everyone feel safe and secure and raise happiness to levels you only imagined.