Keep, Start, Stop for 2021

A few days ago the family and I gathered outside on a beautiful sunny day in the driveway to do our 2021 vision setting. It’s a family annual tradition (vision setting) that we’ve started including the girls in as they’ve gotten older. This year we added a twist. With chalk in hands and simple directions, I provided guidance for how we’d proceed. It’s a simple exercise that anyone can do, and it’s a great way for parents to model for their kids how to set clear intentions for their lives. Here’s what we did:

Our semi-finished product

The Set- Up: First, I drew 3 simple columns on the driveway. Pro Tip: if you’re doing this with young kids, you’re going to want to make this an activity driven exercise (chalk, sticky notes, something fun they can play with).

Next, I labeled each column: Keep, Start, Stop. The guidance was clear: with chalk in hand, everyone had 4:12 seconds (because weird allotments of time usually keeps people on their toes…it’s a facilitation trick I learned) to write as much as they can in each column. Pro Tip: this activity goes even better if you do it silently first, and then talk about it afterwards. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn from each other and how many common themes you see.

Keep: What did we do this year as a family that you think we should keep doing? It was that simple. No need to defend your answer (yet). We’ll do some prioritizing, force ranking, all of that can come later. For now, it’s just about getting it all out there on the pavement.

Start: What’s something new that you think we should be doing as a family? Again, here there were no limitations. My 5 year old wrote that we should get a pet. Her sisters agreed. I’m not sure it’s in the cards yet, but at least it’s on the pavement.

Stop: What’s something we should stop doing as a family, because it just didn’t seem to help us grow, love each other better, or have fun? Surprisingly, this one was the most difficult column for our family. Even my wife and I struggled to find things to add here. As for the kids, once we started talking more about interpersonal relationships, then some concrete ideas came out. For example, we all agreed we could do with less fighting, though my suggestion of “no more tantrums” was quickly rejected. (After all, we do have a 2 year old Samantha reminded me).

That’s it. The fun part came as we paused and discussed what everyone had written for each column. It took all of about 30 minutes give or take, and while the 2 year old didn’t fully participate, the other three (5 years old, 8, and 10) all contributed along with my wife and myself. One thing that helped, prior to doing this activity with the girls, my wife and I did it ourselves so we had a clear idea of what we were thinking. Afterwards, we put it together in 3 intentions that we came up with for 2021 that we printed out and posted around our house (we do this each year).

Our printed 3 intentions for the year

Whatever you come up with, I’m sure it’ll be great, and most importantly, it’ll be a reflection of your family.


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