I always find this last week of the year to be a time of reflection. The big holiday bustle is over, and as the year wraps up, I find myself looking backward to the year ending and forward to the new one coming. Pair this reflection with family being together, and it is a great time to write or check in with a family mission statement.

Creating a family mission statement helps families identify their core values. These values become guidelines that help your family live intentionally. As you think about what you want for your family in the coming year and why, use your values and the mission statement you crafted together to guide you.

Your mission statement helps you choose everything from how you spend your vacation to where your family donates time or money. You use your family values to filter out activities that aren’t part of your family mission and to choose those that are.

Write a Family Motto

Spend some time looking back over 2017.  What did your family do that you loved—and what didn’t happen that you had hoped for? Think about what is important to you as a family and take advantage of this time of reflection and family being together to create a family motto and/or mission statement.

You can start by asking questions like these:

  • How do we want to show up for family, friends, community, work and the world?
  • What are our goals?
  • What are our priorities?
  • How do we want to feel as we walk through the world?
  • How do we want others to feel when we interact with them?
  • What physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components of our life are important to us?
  • What are our core values?

The first six questions may help you identify your family’s values. You can also look through a list of values and have each person highlight 3–5 that feel the most important to your family. Then compare ideas. Once you pick your value words, you get to decide what the words mean to you and how you want to incorporate those values into your life.

From these values, you may create a family motto, which is a concise, memorable way of encapsulating your family values and ideals.

I love these examples and what they show about what families value:

We can do hard things.

This speaks to values like perseverance, tenacity, bravery, commitment, and resilience.

Dream big, Work hard, Share gratitude

This is a family that believes in daydreams and goals, responsibility and resourcefulness, and appreciating what they have.

May our first word be ADVENTURE and our last word be LOVE.

This is the motto of Bruce Feiler and family, and you can see the core values that it encompasses.

Live, laugh, love

These are the words my family has chosen to live by.

I share these examples to give you some ideas, but the goal isn’t to find the right family motto (skip the Pinterest search for family mottos). The process of creating a family motto together is essential. It’s what allows you to design a shared vision of what your family stands for and what is important to you and why.

Write a Family Mission Statement

Your family mission statement is a longer, more detailed version of your values, what’s important to your family. You can chose to flesh out your motto or start with a mission statement first. A mission statement helps define what your family stands for and how you live your motto and your values. For example, my family defined what we meant by each word in our motto.

In our family we choose to be present, show up, and each use our unique gifts. We get outside, explore and adventure. Our family is optimistic. We act like the glass is overflowing and find the humor and the fun. Our family cares for each other and uses kindness as our guide.

You can see how we took three simple words and a phrase that might seem over used to define thoughtfully how we want to live and engage in the world. This helps guide us and remind us what really matters to us and how we want to live when we start to get off course.

Family mottos and family mission statements express the why of what you want to accomplish and give your family direction. And, when you create your motto or mission statement together you design a shared vision of what your family stands for and what is important to you.

Your family mission statement will be completely unique to you. The process of creating it helps ensure that your family is invested in it and that it truly reflects your values and ideals. Make it  open enough that it can apply to any situation, but clear enough to give your family direction.

How does your family choose to live? What do you stand for? Why? Set aside some time to sit down with your family and create a family motto and mission statement. (And if you have one already, how about revisiting it and recommitting to it as you look forward to the new year?)

Ready to create your own family motto? Get my step-by-step guide: How to Create a Family Motto.

Want to feel more engaged and energized? Get your copy of 3 Steps to a Meaningful Life You Love!