Happy new year, dear readers. It’s another opportunity to plan and be intentional. Here at Philly & Friends HQ, we believe in intentional living. We have tips to help you plan out your year in a wholesome way. These practical steps are set under 4 separate buckets; Reflection, Intention, Attention, and Navigation. 2020 was a trying year for most people and a lot of us are still reeling from it’s effects, we hope these steps help you find your feet and stay grounded. In the middle of uncertain times, we could all do with some structure. 


Every successful plan begins with reflection. Reflection helps one identify what worked, what didn't, and what could have been done differently. Reflection gives the opportunity to be grateful for what we have, how far we’ve come and most importantly, for life. Only from a place of gratitude can we affirm who we are now, understand who we want to be, and identify what values we want to live by. Gratitude gives an insight into the sort of values that are just right for us. When you know what you’re most grateful for and you understand why it is important to you, you will be able to identify your most important values. What guiding principles do you wish to live by? What would you like your family to be known for? Reflection shows how to move from who you are now to who you want to be 10, 20, 30 years from now in order to achieve your goals and uphold your values. The more you reflect, the more ideas will come to you. Keep a journal where you brain dump your ideas and thoughts as the year progresses. These random musings will help direct your thinking process towards the things that are most important to you.


At Philly & Friends, we believe words are powerful and the right words, spoken out loud, can truly effect change, shift mindsets, and evoke powerful emotions. What words you would use to describe your family. What do these words mean to you? Do they reflect your vision and capture your ideologies in the best possible way? An interesting way to find words to describe your family is by representing it with bright colours. Red might mean fierce, skill full, determined. Blue might mean calm, reserved, peaceful. Green might mean luscious, resplendent, sunny. Use as many colours as needed, ask the kids to get in on it. Create a beautiful painting using all the colours that best describe your home, hang it proudly on a wall for all to see. Let each member of your family know what each colour means. Let the painting remind them to be what those colours stand for each and every day.

Intentional family planning also involves intentionally planning activities to enjoy as a family. Basically, you want these activities to align with your vision and values but also be enjoyable for every member of the family. Identify fun, adventurous things you can do together, both indoors and outdoors. When you  know which activities are your favourite as a family, you might want to consider making them family traditions. It could be a special way of celebrating birthdays, a nice dish you all enjoy on a certain day, or a special song you all sing together. As you plan, remember to stay flexible, 2020 taught us that.


Remember that each person in your family is a unique individual. As you give your family the gift of definition and you all strive toward your family vision, know that each person would interpret it in their own unique way and that's Okay. Allow your children the space to be themselves within your unit. As you identify who you are as a family, also identify who each person is as an individual. Little things like their favourite food, best colour, love language of preference etc can really set people apart. Learning to love your children the way they want to be loved can make a huge difference (use this post to learn about love languages in a parent-child relationship).  Pay attention to who each person is, their dreams, aspirations, what they’re great at, what they love, and what they wish to work on. You should then tie these up with the family goals and vision. As you pay close attention to yourself and each other, also note what works, what doesn’t work, and what needs revamping. Notice your blessings and the progress you make and be thankful for them. An easy way to track your progress is by journaling them every week/month. Score yourself on how well you’ve done. This way, you’ll always remember how far you’ve come. You can track your progress on areas like habits, self care, affirmation, fitness, confidence, and whatever other area you wish to be intentional about.


This means doing. After you identify the activities you love as a family, you need a way to remember how they tie up with your values. Write down why these activities are important. What their significance is. Why they need to happen and how often. An important aspect to  setting a family vision is having the confidence to represent them unashamedly and to see them through. To do this, you must have a healthy level of confidence as a family in order to drive your vision doggedly. Assess your confidence levels, deliberately improve them if they are low, and keep them up if they are high. Our Beautiful Box of You affirmation cards can help you build up confidence, it can be used by kids and adults alike. This post on about confidence in kids can also help.

In driving your vision, you must recognise and accept the world around you, one way to do this is by encouraging diversity in the playroom. Assess your children’s playroom for this is their window into the larger world. This blog post can walk you through all the steps in making sure your little one’s toys and books are well represented. 

Knowing and understanding your family as a unit and on an individual level will give you insight to the kind of goals that would bring the entire family the most joy. Understand what makes each goal important/significant to your family. Identify how to achieve this goal and what you need to do so. This calls for some deep thinking to be as specific and unambiguous as possible.