Perhaps you’ve made a number of resolutions already to make this year a personal best. Here’s a list of some doable ways that you can experience more growth and fulfillment as a family this year.
1. Develop a mission for your family.
To avoid aimlessly wandering through another year, set aside time to come up with a central focus, a guiding mission or purpose for your family, that will help you live this year (and the years to come) more intentionally. There is an easy and super helpful step-by-step exercise available here to help you come up with a mission unique to your family. This idea is immensely helpful in keeping your family “on track” spiritually as the weeks and months go by. Examine your mission, strategies, or defined priorities regularly, and adjust your lifestyle and habits accordingly.
2. Hold family meetings.
Meetings seem to be way more common in the business world than in family life, but they can be extremely beneficial in helping your family have a more meaningful year, individually and as a unit. Here are some simple tips for how to hold a family meeting. Regular family meetings, whether weekly or monthly, have so many tangible benefits, allowing you to strengthen your spiritual leadership, sharpen communication skills in your family, intentionally pray together, inculcate essential family values, and reduce stress. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Even a few minutes of intentional conversation together on a Sunday afternoon or evening can reap big rewards. If you need some good conversation starters in your family meetings, check out this resource.
3. Live the liturgical calendar.
Make an effort to celebrate feast days—at least solemnities, the highest ranking of feast days in the liturgical calendar—at home this year with your family. Here is a helpful feast day email reminder service, with occasional feast day email alerts, articles to learn a little about each feast, and simple ideas to celebrate the solemnity at home, and this is my little cheat sheet that can give you some short tips on how to celebrate a feast day. Living the liturgical calendar at home will help your family feel more connected to the celebrations and life of the Church throughout the year.
4. Pick a patron saint and a spotlight virtue.
Select a saint to be a special intercessor for your family this year. This saint name generator can randomly select a saint for you, if you don’t already have one in mind. Include this saint regularly in your prayers and learn about the life of this special saint as a family this year. Additionally, consider picking a “spotlight virtue,” a virtue that you will focus on growing in as a family this year (examples include generosity, patience, charity, hope, etc.). You don’t need to figure it out yourself, either. I’ve got this free Virtue-Focused Year printable that will give you a virtue for every month and some easy ways to grow in it. Consider displaying your saint and your virtue in a prominent place so as to serve as a reminder to pray for the saint’s intercession and to practice the particular chosen virtue on a regular basis.
5. Rejuvenate your marriage.
Make a commitment to liven up your marriage this year in some way. Consider setting aside time for a regular date night (you can even try an at-home date like this one) or a dedicated time interval every evening after the kids go to bed to chat and reconnect—even if only for 15 minutes—before you complete the remaining frenzy of tasks that the evening holds. The sky is the limit with this hack; think of some way you want to commit to marital improvement this year (maybe even by reading a marriage-building book together) and make it happen.
6. Refocus on keeping Sundays holy/peaceful.
Sundays are the key to personal and family peace. Check out these simple ways to “keep holy the Sabbath” and commit to at least a few of them in your home this year. It will really change the way you live and relate to one another and to God, not only on Sunday, but throughout the rest of the week as well.
7. Prioritize prayer and sacraments.
Start every day with prayer this year, even if it’s short. Pray as a family before you begin the hectic activities of the day (for example, an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be or The Morning Offering). Set aside at least 15 minutes a day for private, silent, reflective prayer; bring along your Bible to this prayer time for words on which to reflect! Consider having a short family prayer time after dinner, when everyone is already gathered together (a decade of the Rosary is usually a doable length of time, even for little ones). Grab a copy of A Parent Who Prays, A Grandparent Who Prays, or A Godparent Who Prays, and make this year a time to be truly intentional about praying for the young ones in your life. Finally, make sure to get to Mass every Sunday. Plan your whole week around it. Confession once a month will also have a drastically positive impact on your spiritual growth this year.
For a more in-depth look at how you can make your Catholic family life more vibrant and meaningful, read this book, which unpacks these 7 ideas (and more), offering practical strategies for implementing spiritual leadership principles at home.