I always start the Summer off with the best intentions of having fun and relaxing with my family and friends enjoying the longer sun-filled days.
Somehow every year, the dream comes to an abrupt halt almost immediately after the reality of the season sets in – kids home with erratic work and activity schedules, sharing the car, sharing space, people in and out of the kitchen ALL day, conflicting social agendas, deciding what parties to attend (graduations, birthdays, weekend BBQ’s, pool parties, weddings…) etc.
You get the idea – the vision of ease and tranquility doesn’t quite match the chaotic reality. Now add on the internal chaos of having personal goals that can get overshadowed by the pull of Summer fun. When these factors all come together in a concentrated period of time, the opportunity for conflict looms.
So this year I decided to use a Family-Time First Aid Tool to help navigate the challenge of Summer togetherness.The tool is pretty simple – figure out what you want your Summer experience to be like and develop an action plan that helps you to create that experience.
Conflict often arises when you do not have absolute clarity about what you want to create and how you want to feel once you have created it.
When you make plans without thinking about what you really want, inevitably you end up finding yourself in situations that don’t necessarily meet your needs.
In order to prevent that from happening (or to reset after finding yourself where you don’t want to be), you can use a Family-Time First Aid Tool called the Contrast vs Clarity exercise found in Abraham-Hicks book, Ask and It Is Given.
It is a simple exercise that begins where we usually begin, which is – knowing what we don’t want.
STEP 1: Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle vertically (or create a table with two columns on your tablet/computer). Label the column on the left CONTRAST and the other column CLARITY.
STEP 2: In the contrast column, write down what you don’t want.
- I don’t want everyone arguing over the car this Summer.
- I don’t want the stress or distraction of coordinating the car sharing.
- I don’t want to worry about losing momentum with my fitness because I get too busy with the kids’ schedules.
- I don’t want to fall off my nutrition plan when I go to all the Summer parties AND the kids are home cooking and baking things that are bad for me.
At any one time, I would recommend only doing 5-10 contrast statements, so that you have time to convert them to clarity statements. You don’t want to create so much momentum thinking about what you don’t want that you end up too upset to think of positive alternatives.
STEP 3: In the clarity column, turn your statements from the left into declarations of what you want instead ONLY using the I perspective. The clarity statement must be something you and you alone can do, because you are the only one over which you have control. Also, make sure to include how you want to feel.
- I want to relax and trust that the kids are capable and responsible enough to coordinate amongst themselves.
- I want to release myself from obligation, let go of the need to control and allow the kids to negotiate car sharing on their own.
- I want to feel fit, strong and flexible as I honor my fitness goals. And I want to trust myself to create and follow a schedule every week that supports my fitness progress.
- A) I want to feel healthy and energetic by eating food that helps me to maintain a healthy cholesterol level and healthy body fat percentage. B) I want to feel satisfied and nourished by the food I eat.
STEP 4: For each CLARITY statement, create an inspired to do list that will move you toward what you say you want.
I want to relax and trust:
A) Have a discussion with the kids about ways they can manage the car use themselves.
B) Establish rules for proper care of the car in a sharing situation.
C) Come to an agreement about following the rules and the consequence for not adhering to the rules (i.e. lose car privileges for a day).
D) Communicate what I am willing and not willing to do in relation to the car sharing. Ex: won’t monitor rule following, will enforce consequences when informed that rules were not followed, won’t solve disagreements about the car, will offer feedback when my advice is requested, etc.. (Kids are relentless at holding each other accountable.)
I want to release myself
I need to keep my nose out of their business unless I need to coordinate something with them that involves them using the car. (Ex: Can you pick your younger brother up from soccer practice tomorrow at 4pm?)
I want to feel fit, strong and flexible
A) Determine fitness goals.
B) Create a workout schedule that supports those goals.
C) Put the workouts on the calendar.
D) Do the workouts.
I want to feel healthy and energetic
A) Find recipes/food sources that follow my nutrition parameters and satisfy my taste buds.
B) Stock kitchen with delicious compliant foods.
C) Cook/order healthy meals.
D) Actually EAT those healthy foods.
E) Create rules for wiggle room to indulge occasionally in a non-compliant treat.
F) Follow those rules.
With this plan, I would free up some time by letting the kids manage the kids’ car, allowing me to focus on my nutrition and fitness goals. The action steps are clear and easy to follow. It is the clarity of intent that allows for the simplicity of action.
So if you find yourself involved in conflict this Summer, I invite you to try this tool to Drop the Drama and create clarity instead. And if you would like some support in creating a happy family experience this Summer, you can schedule a call with me by clicking here.
Wishing you a Summer filled with clear intentions and enjoyable time with family!