Whether you are going shopping with your children, aiming to have a family holiday, moving house or making changes in your business, planning is an important part of the process toward achieving your goal.
Often when we just react to a situation, we end up feeling frustrated, either because we didn't get the outcome we wanted, or because it was all too stressful. So in order to achieve what we need or want to do, how we want it to be done, when we want it done, there are some simple tools we can use to help us get there.
There are questions to ask ourselves and others about the past, present and future; there are options to consider and potential difficulties to think about; we need to make sure that if our plan involves other people, that we take their feelings into account; and we must act on our plan when we have worked it out.
So what are the important stages in this process?
1. The First Consideration Is The Current Situation
What has happened to lead up to this? What is happening now, and how are people feeling?
Take the shopping trip, for example. It's 12 noon and you are at home with your young children. You all had a late night last night. The children are getting hungry and the toddler is starting to play up. You haven't done any shopping for a few days and you have run out of vegetables.
2. The Second Thing To Consider Is The Outcome You Want
What is it that you need or want to do or have or be? In the shopping example, your outcome might be to have some vegetables for dinner, without making the children more tired or grumpy.
3. Next, You Would Look At How You Could Make That Happen
What are the options? You could pack the children in the car now and go to the shopping centre. You could ask a neighbour to mind the children while you shop. You could all have lunch and a nap, and then go shopping. Or you could ask your partner to pick up some vegetables on the way home from work. What is the best option, with the least stress? How will you manage that?
4. Naturally, You Would Talk To The Other People Involved In Your Plan To See If It Works For Them
How are the children feeling? How long will they sleep? Can your neighbour babysit? What time is best for her? Is your partner happy to call in at the supermarket before coming home?
Finally, when you have everything sorted, the next step is to….
5. Carry Out The Plan
Let your neighbour know when you are ready to go shopping and ask when she would like you to be back; or ring your partner and let him/her know what vegetables you need; or simply have lunch and curl up for a rest, knowing you can shop later.
Of course, all this may only take a few minutes for something like the shopping trip decision. For more complicated outcomes, such as planning your move to a new house, it will be a more lengthy process. But the same five stages, if done while having discussions with family members, will result in you all achieving your outcome and feeling pleased to be a part of it. With less stress comes greater satisfaction and closer family relationships.
Do you remember to consider each of these parts of the process for achieving your goals?
Sometimes when we are under pressure or just rushing along our usual path, we might forget to address important bits, like checking in with others in the family. Or there might be parts that we don't like to do, that we don't see the need for. Because each of us is different, we do things differently. Conflict can arise when parenting partners don't understand the other's approach or don't see the value in it. Understanding how you both go about achieving your goals is a great step towards calmer, more productive parenting.