The beginning of the year is always an important time to reflect, assess and make new determinations. As our day is determined by the night before (how you slept, if your kids did his or her homework, if you ate something funny) so should the year before help us prepare for the one that comes next.

So, in the next few weeks, why not take some time to dream out the first weeks of the year with God and family? It’s a great time to think of our goals from last year, what we accomplished, and take the time to think through new ones.

This month you can do a simple activity together to think through what you want to accomplish this year through family dream maps. Modified from activities you can find floating around on the internet, Dream Maps give us the time and space to express what it is that we actually want. Although we usually think we know what we want, most times it’s easier to know what we don’t want! Instead, with Dream maps, we articulate our concrete goals in specific categories as a way to become clear on what we want in order to be able to work towards them.

We chose four specific categories, described below, to help us in our relationship with God and each other – but feel free to modify them as you would like:

Growth goal: Something connected to your personal spiritual growth and development. The more specific the better. If there’s an area you feel you’re lacking, try to articulate it in a positive way and to connect it with a specific habit. For example: by the end of the year, I’d like to have the habit of gratitude and so I’d like to write down three things I’m grateful for each day.

Relationship goal: This one should come up as particularly important for your family. Try to key into a specific relationship and a daily habit that can improve it. For example, I would like to work on having great communication with my son so I’d like to make sure I take at least five minutes every day to have a one-on-one conversation with him before bed. Having a general idea of when you will do it also helps to keep the habit!

Health goal: our health is interconnected with everything else and so our physical health is an important priority in our lives. Try to find a health goal that is, again, connected with a daily habit. For example, I’d like to work towards a specific BMI (generally between 18-24 is considered average in terms of health) and so I’d like to work on this by eliminating snacks and sugary drinks from my diet.

For our family, we also decided on a material goal, although we understand there are some dangers in doing so! Here we asked each person to identify something they’d like to have and to also think through some plan to achieve that goal. During the Christmas season, we could see that our kids were heavily dependent on Santa but with no steady means of income, we will have to consider how we’d like to approach money and responsibility another time. For us as parents, we were a little flexible with what that meant (I opted for a family experience rather than a possession).

In doing this activity, we made it a crafting activity and each person cut and glued origami paper onto a piece of thin cardboard. We decorated each sheet to our hearts’ content and drew the year in a big oval we drew in the middle. We then divided up the square into four quarters and wrote down our goals in each division. We all helped each other to complete our boards and we finished it off by announcing to each other our goals for the rest of the year.

I got a wire with clips attached and put it on our fridge so it can serve as a daily reminder.

What would your family dream map look like?