Generally we host a New Year’s Eve party at our house each year. It’s usually a group of family and/or friends who get together to share lots of food and play board games. It’s a fun tradition, but several years ago I decided to add one more thing to our New Year’s Eve routine that was just for our little family of five. Each year about a week before the New Year, I start reminding everyone to begin thinking about their current year’s accomplishments and coming year’s goals. Then a couple of days before New Year’s Eve, I quickly mock up a page on the computer with blank lines for listing 3 each of accomplishments for the current year and goals for the coming year. These get handed out to each member of the family to complete. Everyone then brings their list with them to our New Year’s Eve dinner and we each share what we have.
When we first began this tradition, and the kids were all under the age of 10, they eagerly participated in the process. Now that we have two teenagers in the house, I sometimes get a slight eye roll or a little groan when I hand them their goals and accomplishments list to complete. Nevertheless, they always complete them and it’s always interesting to see what makes it to the top of everyone’s list.
I made a slight change to the process this year since not everyone was as agreeable to completing their list as they once were. This year the list for the current year could include both accomplishments and favorite memories and the coming year’s list could include both goals and things they would like to do. I felt like perhaps a favorite memory of the past year and something random that they wish to do in the coming year would be a little easier to come up with than just goals and accomplishments; which can sometimes require a little bit of deep thinking.
Every year that we do this there is always one person, and usually more than one person, that surprises me with what they have on their list. Going through this exercise has had many benefits to our family. For one, it’s been a great way for each of us to get to know each other a little better. Goals and accomplishments, and even memories and wishes, aren’t exactly everyday conversation so this gives us the opportunity to discuss something a little more meaningful than we typically would. Also, hearing from my kids on what their top goals, memories, accomplishments and wishes are sometimes gives a little feedback to know what we may have done right as parents over the past year and where we can focus our efforts to help them achieve their goals in the coming year.
In addition to the benefits this tradition offers in the here and now, I can’t wait to pull all of these lists out in 10 or 20 years. I can see us all together at a future holiday going over these lists, getting a little glimpse back at who we were, what was important to us then, and reminders of forgotten memories.
Now I’m off to complete my list! Happy New Year to you and your family.