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Around the Home: Start setting 2012 goals now
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It's not too early to set goals for 2012. Why wait until late December or early January?

We all have things that we'd like to accomplish around the house. The list often includes repairs, replacements and improvements.

We need to focus on our family's priorities and needs. Let's face it. We spend too much time worrying about what other people think.

And we give other people too much power over what happens or doesn't happen in our household.

How many times have you ignored your gut instinct and changed your plans or dropped an idea because a friend or family member criticized it?

Take some time, sit down with your family and discuss what you'd like to accomplish together.

A family movie night, more meals at home, increased community service, healthier habits and a household recycling program are examples of goals families can consider.

Planning is a key to checking off the items and getting tasks done.

It's important to narrow each goal down into "bite size" pieces or smaller, workable components. It decreases the chance that you'll become overwhelmed.

Setting family goals allows family members as a group to move forward, remain balanced and support the personal goals of each member, reports the Building Strong Families program at the University of Missouri Extension.

The program also suggests:

Involving your children as soon as they're old enough to participate in family discussions. When the kids have an opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns about an issue, they're more likely to understand the solutions for specific family matters and less likely to fight the changes that are necessary to achieve family goals.

Setting more modest goals, such as a weekend camping trip, sets the family up for success. Setting goals that are too difficult to achieve is counterproductive because everyone will be discouraged and disappointed when the desired result is not achieved. If your finances are tight, for example, setting the goal to take a family vacation at an elite resort next month may not be realistic.

If your family's goal is to take a vacation, you'll probably create a budget for the trip and decide how much you must save monthly to pay for it. Tracking your progress lets the entire family see how their efforts contribute to the overall goal and motivates everyone to stick to the plan.

As you work toward the goals, remember that encouragement and recognition fuel motivation. For example, if your goal is to be on time, remember to praise your kids when they have their shoes and backpacks on 10 minutes before the school bus arrives.

Be sure to check with the Hall County Library System for books and other resources on goal-setting.

Food banks are in need

As you shop for groceries this season, remember to add some extra canned goods to your cart for area food drives.

Use coupons and watch for "buy one, get one free" sales. Make a commitment to do this year-round. One can of food makes a big difference.

For more information on how you can volunteer or organize a food drive, contact the Georgia Mountain Food Bank at 770-967-0075 or

Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the Hall County Extension Office and can be reached at 770- 535-8290.

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