Break Bread Together

There are many studies on the importance of family meal time.   For kids and parents the social activity of having a family meal builds closeness, better eating habits, confidence and helps with academics, physical and mental health and overall well-being. My favorite quote on the importance of dining together comes from the late Anthony Bourdain:

“We know, for instance, that there is a direct, inverse relationship between frequency of family meals and social problems. Bluntly stated, members of families who eat together regularly are statistically less likely to stick up liquor stores, blow up meth labs, give birth to crack babies, commit suicide, or make donkey porn. If Little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts.” 

― Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook 

However, in a busy household nightly family dinner is not always easy (or even possible).  With school, extra curricular activities and work schedules getting the family together is not a simple task.

What is important is that it is the time together that matters, not the meal.  If a nightly dinner is not going to happen, strive for something like a proper Sunday meal with candlelight and all!

Another option, is skip the dinner idea altogether.  Do family breakfast.  20 minutes together to kick-start your day with some proper triggered conversation starters:

“What is one thing you are look forward to today?”

“What is one thing that you are concerned about today?”

“Before we head out the door share one thing that was good yesterday and one thing that was bad?”

“What was one thing you did today or yesterday that helped someone else?”

The meal matters for the nourishment, but the conversation matters most.  The conversation also needs to be with the kids talking (hopefully more than the parents)

When we share a meal, we often play a game. Some examples below:

Word association game: to help with vocabulary, state a word and then have your kids call out as many words with similar meanings.

The compliment game: each member states two things they like about other family members and they cannot be the same as what has been stated.

What happened today game: name one thing that made you happy, one thing that made you sad, one thing you did to make the world better and one thing you could have done better.

If you can- get around the table, enjoy a meal and each other.  It is amazing what you will learn and enjoy about your family by making family meal time a priority.

That’s the Goal

Another year is winding down and 2018 is just around the corner.  Of course New Year resolutions are being thrown out like free t-shirts at a sporting event.

Don’t state resolutions, but do set goals.

This morning, each member of my family wrote down three goals.  Why did we write them down?  Because studies have shown you are at least 40% more likely to achieve written out goals.

Why did we share them and do the exercise collectively?  Because the success rate of achieving goals again grows exponentially, simply by sharing them.

We all had fitness goals.  However, the key is to make them precise.

I am committing to a 100 push-up/day for 100 day challenge and taking boxing classes at a studio across from my office.  My wife, is going to do ballet classes on Saturday mornings and my eldest daughter is going to achieve her dance splits by doing stretching exercises on her yoga mat (set right next to her bed) first thing in the morning and just before bed.

Beyond the classic post holiday, “time to get in shape” goals.  Setting specific school, or career goals and personal achievement goals will help keep 2018 on track.

My five year old is committed to do more around the house to help the family (how she came up with that is beyond me, but awesome!)  She wants to wash dishes and feed the dogs daily.

Focus on areas that you need to work at and have the goals written down.  Better yet, re-write them daily, or weekly to keep them top of mind.  In my business, I can get bogged down and forget the basics to my early career success.

One of my career goals is simply blocking an hour each day, to “smile and dial” to simply call my clients. I want to make sure I am personally connecting with them to check in and check up on their mortgage and life needs (and not through email or text.)

Goals are the start, the set up and ultimately the end destination.  You may get there without setting them out, but by doing so-writing them down and sharing them, you will creat accountability and a road map to not only getting there, but getting there together-and isn’t that the ultimate goal?




STOP if you want to GO

Life can be crazy busy.  For me, most of the time, my life is some sort of organized chaos.  It is fast paced and unless I purposely stop-it is all go, all the time.

But you have to stop, just for you-even for a few minutes.  Stop to say thank you, or just to embrace all the good.  To have a moment of gratitude.  It can be a walk, a coffee at first light, meditation, prayer, reading-whatever works- the key is to just stop.

I try to do this at least twice a day.  Most often it happens during runs with my two awesome Black Labs (Miles and Rosie).  They help me relax and being outside with them helps me appreciate the complete awesomeness of the life I live and the people in it.  Why do my dogs do this for me? Because they are kick ass creatures and it is just what they do!

What can also help with stopping, is to say no.  This is a hard thing to say for a lot of people, but it is important to say it.  It is okay to say it. You are not a jerk to say it. Say no to the appointment tomorrow (if you’re already at capacity).

I am a four meeting limit guy.  I can rock up to four face-to-face meetings a day and be all in (with an espresso or two)-if you are meeting five with me, I’m letting you down before you get in the door.  If you have a full social calendar, turn down the party-just don’t always turn down the party.  If you want to say yes, of course say yes!

This leads me to the RSVP.  Say yes, say no, but don’t say maybe.  Maybe should only be said, if it is a “Wow, thanks for the invite, I just need to check my schedule and i’ll confirm back ” and then you ACTUALLY check your schedule and confirm back-tomorrow-NOT 3 WEEKS FROM NOW!

When you say maybe, you are telling someone:

A) I am waiting to see if something better comes my way

B) I am a total flake that cannot even plan a few hours of my life

A and B are bad outcomes.  No, is a fine outcome.  Yes, is a fine outcome.  Carly Rae Jepsenin’ your life…is no way to fill a calendar.  If you feel too busy, really focus on taking the time to stop and then, be all in, or all out, but don’t “Call Me Maybe”.