Your Family: From Okay to Awesome (+ Giveaway!)

The following post is from Sherri of Serene Journey and Zen Family Habits:

improve family life
source: Chris Willis

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Adventures with Kids, the winner of the spot in the Ultimate Family Bootcamp!

Life is truly amazing. In a lifetime, we can experience such great joy and such heart-wrenching sorrow.

In the midst of it, we can fall into the trap of not paying too much attention to anything in particular. Then — seemingly all of a sudden — we’re frantic, stressed, and angry. We’re unhappy with how our lives are playing out and how different they are compared to the ideal we had in our mind. We wonder how we ended up at this place.

I noticed this with respect to my own little family not too long ago. From the outside looking in, it looked like we had all the ingredients to be a happy and carefree family. Yet we weren’t. I was stressed, unhappy and feeling guilty that we weren’t moving in the direction we had set out on. We weren’t completely miserable or in total despair, but we did, however, feel like we needed to take some time to re-evaluate, reconnect and start creating our life again.

Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time working on our family. We read a lot, we listen a lot and we’ve learned that we’re not alone.

So how do you take your family from okay to awesome when you find that you’ve been living on autopilot?

1. Decide you’re worth it.

Is your family worthy? Worthy of happiness? Worthy of feeling connected? Worthy of living deliberately? Worthy of heading down a path as a unified team?

Of course you are! Making the decision to be worthy of these things (and a lot more) is the important first step in breaking through a mental barrier. Maybe you’re carrying guilt and anger around with you and think you haven’t suffered enough yet to be happy or content. What’s that guilt and anger doing for you? Has it fixed what you’ve done? Likely not. Guilt and anger can’t fix anything. We all screw up, we all make mistakes and we’ve all felt bad for not getting to where we thought we should be. You’re not special here!

You’re also not just affecting yourself by hanging onto these feelings. You’re projecting these feelings onto those around you, unintentionally of course. Want to take your family from okay to awesome? Start by forgiving yourself and letting go.

2. Understand everyone in your family better.

It’s easy to take family for granted. In most cases, they’re always around and they’re always there when you need them. It’s easy to assume we know what they think and feel, but a lot of times we’re way off base.

When was the last time you actually sat down and asked the members of your family what they like and dislike, what their needs and wants are, how they see the family dynamics? Taking the time to understand each member of your family can clear up a lot of misunderstandings, get rid of any ignorance and promote a more unified family unit.

3. Do something about it.

Once you know you’re worthy of creating and having an awesome family, you must take action. Intentions are great and thinking about what you’re going to do is fantastic but they get you nowhere. Putting your plans into action is what gets you somewhere.

Start by having a clear vision of what you want and where you want to end up. It requires communication between everyone and input from all family members. Dream big. Put everything out there. Don’t hold back. This can be tough on kids in particular. Ocassionally they don’t feel that their opinions, thoughts or ideas matter. Be aware of this and, as the adult, create a welcoming safe environment where your kids can feel they can share anything without looking stupid.

4. Have fun.

Life’s full of responsibilities. There’s work, bills need to be paid, a house to be cleaned and doctors appointments to be booked. We run the risk of taking everything way too seriously.

Make time to just have fun. If the thought of spontaneity frightens you, add it to your calendar and schedule in the fun! Take a camping weekend, go to the zoo, swim for the afternoon, host a kick off to summer BBQ. It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be fun! Make it happen.

Letting go, communicating, and getting active are great ways to take your family from okay to awesome. Don’t take everything in life too seriously and make time to have fun with the whole family.

If you want more techniques and strategies for creating your ultimate home team, I would like to tell you about a program Leo Babauta, founder of Zen Habits, and I will be offering through Zen Family Habits starting Thursday April 14. It’s called The Ultimate Family Bootcamp and it’s designed to help and inspire families of all shapes and sizes to regroup, reconnect, and feel happier.

This is a 10 week multi-media bootcamp with 10 modules discussing topics like creating your ideal family, getting on solid financial ground, time management for real people, organizing and decluttering, mastering the art of self-renewal and much more. These modules consist of a combination of weekly videos, articles, workbooks and printables as well as expert interviews.

If you would like more information please check out the course page here. Leo and I look forward to you joining us this April for a bootcamp, family style.

And one lucky Life Your Way reader will win a spot in the upcoming Ultimate Family Bootcamp! To enter, tell us what you plan to do to increase the fun factor in your family.