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Are you one of the millions of people around the world who have made a decision to spend more time with your family this year? Then this article aims to provide some practical and useful guidelines to help you achieve your goal.

This is a good time of year to take a critical look at your life. Introspection is the first step towards change. Look at the factors in your life that prevent you from spending time with your family. Take a sheet of paper and make a list of those factors on one side of the paper. On the other side, list some strategies that you can use to neutralize the impact of those factors on your time. For example, if one of the factors that keep you from your family is work, a strategy maybe to work fewer overtime hours.

Review the strategies that you listed earlier and pick one or two that you can implement immediately. Work to remove the obstacles that prevent you from having quality time with your family. If necessary, seek advice and help from your pastor or other professionals in your community. Today we are faced with many forces that compete for the limited time we have. Regardless of the nature of those forces at work in our lives, we must be more determined than ever to defeat those challenges. Some of these challenges come in the form of negative habits that have been with us for years. Habits like watching too much television, procrastination, neglect of family and working too much are just a few of the challenges that may have to be overcome.

While your enthusiasm is in high gear, go right ahead and set aside family time in your weekly schedule. Start with 30 minutes per week and increase the time as needed. Use that time to do things together. Involve your family with the planning and execution of all activities. Do not make the mistake of monopolizing family time. This will destroy the initiative and enthusiasm of the family. Activities may include games, barbeques, hikes, movies, and Bible study. The list is your choice.

With the cooperation and help of the other family members, take a monthly or bimonthly reflective look at the past month or two. Give each family member a chance to give his opinions, criticisms or suggestions on how things can be improved. Suggest ideas that can be implemented in the future. Encourage each other to be respectful and caring in what is said and how it is said. Make these sessions enjoyable, thought provoking and as socially stimulating as possible.

Family time should not be cancelled for any frivolous reason. Treat family time as an opportunity to bond with family members and have fun. Family time is very important to your children. My children, though grown, are always reflecting on the great times the family spent together – whether it was a barbeque in the backyard or a trip overseas.

You will gain much pleasure from the positive fruit that results from spending quality time with your family. You and your family will be happier and closer. You will have something precious that money cannot buy and that on one can take from you. The results outweigh the effort. It's worth doing.

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