What is the one thing for your marriage or family that, if you were to accomplish this year, would change everything?
Maybe it’s a habit to break, a project to complete, a relationship to restore, a debt to pay off, a degree to complete, a skill to develop, a friendship to cultivate, a tradition to start, etc. You get the point.
Have you ever noticed the things we get distracted by are never as important as the things we get distracted from?
One of the things we enjoy about the community we live in is the endless walking paths. We love to take our little Shih Tzu named “Bougie” out for walks around our neighborhood. However, the biggest challenge in taking her out is how long it takes. She gets easily distracted. She will stop at anything and everything. If she sees other dogs, forget it! She’s got to bark and sniff at every dog that walks by or that she sees from a distance.
Many of us are like that. We get easily distracted from moving forward in the direction we want to go in life. We start every year with New Year’s resolutions. However, studies show that over 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Why? I have found that my failures of not doing well with resolutions were because I didn’t have a plan and didn’t have any accountability. You can probably relate.
To help you and your family stay focused this year on growing together in your marriage and familial relationships, let me encourage you to work through the following three questions I was recently challenged with by John C. Maxwell. He calls them the Three R’s of Decision Making. The questions below must be asked in this order:
- What is required of me? What is required of you as a husband, wife, mother, father, son, or daughter that only you can do or fulfill?
- What gives me the greatest return? Of all your commitments that require the most time, energy, and money, what gives you your greatest return of investment (ROI)? Out of those commitments, what is giving you the greatest payoff to help you become who you want to become and accomplish what you want to achieve as a couple and family in the long-term?
- What gives me the greatest reward? We can be excellent and effective at certain things – yet not feel completely fulfilled. What do you do that fills your emotional tank? What brings you the most joy and fulfillment? Life’s too short not to do what you love.
As a parent, you can word or phrase these questions in an age-appropriate manner to make them the most relevant to your child’s age and the activities they’re involved in. Encourage one another to write those things down or have one person record each member of the family’s responses.
Now, let me encourage you to take those questions a step further. Let’s say you had a list of 10 items that only you can do. Chances are, your top two things are where you’ll see the most significant results from your efforts. It’s called the Pareto Principle, which states that 20% of your activities generate 80% of your results. Another way to look at it is to embrace the idea that the less you do, the more effective you will be.
One of the reasons why so many marriages and families drift away from what could be and should be is because they have a hard time saying no to the good so they can say yes to the best. Remember, a good thing can become a bad thing if it keeps you from the best thing.
There are some “good things” you need to say no to as a couple or family, not forever but for now (in this season), so you can stay focused on becoming WHO you want to become and fulfill WHAT is most important to you in your marriage and family this year. Remember, every family ends up somewhere, but few families end up somewhere on purpose.