If You Don’t Have Family Goals What Do You Have?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by SC Johnson. All opinions are my own.
It’s been said that families are like trees whose branches grow outward in many different directions, but the roots, they remain as one. Like an Austrian Oak, firmly planted in the ground like a Corinthian pillar of marble still standing amid the ruins of 2,500 year old Greek temple, FAMILY, is one of my life’s unmovable pillars.
Family is a non-negotiable. It’s an unconditional piece of my life that goes with me everywhere. From the time I wake in the morning until the time my head hits my pillow in the evening, and even in my dreams, family is there with me. Sounds a bit extreme, well, to some maybe, but to me it’s just a part of my life that I accept fully, completely.
My book and free 28-day program, The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto, incorporates Five Fs, which I like to think of as a house with four walls supporting a great big roof. The walls are: Fitness, Family, Faith, and Finances, while the roof that over-arches everything is the fifth F: FUN! The rock-solid foundation of good health and well-being lies beneath everything—and that’s what you want to build your “house” upon.
For the purpose of this article, I want to focus my attention on FAMILY.
Family, to me, means your tribe of special people, regardless of whether you are related by blood. This may be your partner and children, or your siblings and parents, but it can also include your close friends or work colleagues. It’s anybody with whom you have an ongoing and deep relationship that grows over time. Your family includes the folks who encourage you to constantly improve yourself.
For me, family primarily means my wife, Christie, and two daughters, Chardonae and Brielyn. I value their opinions above all others. My family means everything to me; they help me maintain my purpose. They are a big reason why I am so motivated to embody the five Fs as diligently as I do. They give meaning and context to many of the decisions I make and offer me insight and guidance. When faced with a tough decision, I often ask myself what my family would think about it. My moral compass is best directed with one question:
Am I being the type of man I would want my daughters to marry?
If the answer is no, then I have to challenge myself with other questions: Why did I act that way; why did I have that thought; why did I speak that way to my wife?
Do you see where I’m going with this? If you’re still not sure what I mean, let’s explore the other side of the coin. What if you didn’t have the support of your family, close friends, coworkers and peers? How would that make you feel?
If I were to say to one of my daughters, when they were facing a challenge, “Give up now; you’re never going to get it,” how would the family wall of her house look? I might as well knock it down with a sledgehammer.
I’ve coached many people who have told me that their family doesn’t support them on their path to becoming healthier. For example, “My husband loves me, but he keeps bringing home pizza and chips for the kids, when he knows I want to start eating better,” or, “I really feel alone. No one believes I can do it. Heck, I don’t know if I can do it. Why am I doing this, and what’s the point?”
We need connection and a sense of belonging to our group, team, or tribe—our family. It’s a slippery slope we find ourselves on when we’ve either lost, or never had, that kind of support. We tend to drift aimlessly through life when we feel isolated and alone. But when you feel happy and loved, flavours take on new dimension, and colours seem more vibrant.
Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.
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In Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman explains how the human need to connect is as fundamental to our survival as food and water. Children feel hurt when their social bonds are threatened or cut, which increases the likelihood of health and academic problems later in life.
Personally, I think John Lennon said it best: All you need is love.
Of course, we’re all human, with complex emotions that sometimes get the best of us. It’s only natural to lose our cool from time to time, and to disagree with the people closest to us. I know I’ve had less-than-proud moments when I have lost my temper with my family. All through the day, all I would think about was how I’d lashed out at my wife or children, replaying the scene in my mind over and over again. I’d feel so badly about myself that I would make bad decisions at work and eat poorly, if at all. Those times really sucked Of course, I’d always apologize when I went home to Christie and my girls. I’d acknowledge that I wasn’t the dad or husband I aspired to be, and ask for their forgiveness. And until they felt ready to forgive me, I wasn’t myself.
My family bond is the mortar between the bricks and tiles of my house—and I’m their wall, too.
A #FamilyGoals Strategy to Adopt Starting NOW (to make your life just a little more awesome)
Christie and I now have a rule in our home, and I encourage you to adopt it in yours. Our family mantra is, “Fight fast; make up faster!”
We might disagree and even argue once in awhile, but we make a point of getting it all out on the table, leaving nothing to chance or second guesses. We strive to get to the understanding and agreement quickly, and move on. This has worked wonders for us, and I know it can help you, too. Just try it and see how it affects the quality of your relationships. If I’m wrong, so be it. (But let’s not fight about it… LOL.)
A decluttered, clean living space creates a calming haven. As a family that’s been on the road traveling together extensively for nearly 2 years, we appreciate a clean space. Another exercise which brings us closer together is cleaning. I know, right?! Cleaning! There’s something both satisfying and calming in cleaning. When tensions are high, we pull out our mops, brooms, vacuum, rags and SC Johnson cleaning products to make our little oasis shine. Honestly, who doesn’t love a clean living space, right? The adage, “Families who clean together, stay together!” is more true than you know. At least for my family that is. How about you?
This may seem like a BIG family goal, and realize in our home it is. We are a family that is very passionate about our opinions and sometimes conversations get heated. We embrace this, respect each other’s positions, but more importantly know that if things get elevated, we have a goal to set things right quickly. It’s a goal that works for us, and I suggest trying it to see if it works for your family too.
It didn’t matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it. – P. Buffett
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Family Goals are crucial in the whole scheme of creating harmonic boundaries between family members. We’re individuals, yet we operate on an unspoken creed that unifies us together like the pillars of home, an Austrian Oak steadfast in the wind or the 2,500 year old marble pillar atop a Athenian mountain top. When we share a common familial goal, these seemingly little accomplishments bring us together, ensuring our ‘HOUSE’ better weathers the storms and elements that life may bring at us. As a family, creating goals together are like unifying the direction in which our branches grow, albeit for a moment, but for that moment we have the opportunity to grow tall, reach for the sky high above the canopy of a the forest, and share a moment in the sunlight… and we continue to grow.
Dai “Coach Moose” ManuelDai Manuel: Your Lifestyle MentorAugust 25, 2017