Its that time of year again — as 2014 comes to a close many of us start to reflect on the last 12 months and wonder if there are things we could do better moving forward. Of course, put like that it sounds a little depressing, but the key to a successful year is to approach it from a positive perspective. New Year’s resolutions is a big part of that positive energy, and yet making big plans for your life can also be very daunting.
This year, try a family approach to your New Year’s resolutions. Instead of beating yourself up about things you would like to do differently, celebrate the idea of the whole family brightening their future. Get the kids involved, and have fun with it. Goals don;t have to be about pressure, they can just be about living well. Here are some tips on how to get the family motivated to make (and follow through on) some reasonable resolutions for 2015.
1. Have a positive approach: Getting kids to make promises about their behavior, health, or creativity can sound a lot like a punishment. It’s important to handle the subject with care so that your children feel less criticized, and more inspired. Do not set resolutions for them, but rather ask them to take part in the family’s resolution making process. Make it sound fun, not demanding. Remember, it should not be seen as a punishment.
2. Make it a family activity: Declaring a resolution is a big deal, because it means you are setting a standard for yourself and your life that may be difficult to achieve. But doing this as a family means you have a warm support group to keep you on track. Get the family excited about their resolutions by making the process a fun tradition. With young children, an arts and crafts event creating beautiful resolution cards to pin on the fridge is a great way to relieve the pressure.
3. Be realistic: Often, we abandon our goals because reaching them becomes impractical. What a resolution should be is an attainable step towards a better future. Set goals for yourself that you know are manageable, and do the same with the little ones. They may be excited by the concept of a resolution, but “I will fly to the moon” will be an inevitable let-down. Be clear about the definition of a practical resolution and guide them towards finding the right one for themselves.
4. Break it down: The best way to ensure a resolution is manageable is to break it down into baby-steps, approached positively. This can be accomplished by being very specific. Rather than “I will work less”, try “I will reduce my weekend work hours to spend time with the kids.” For the children, help them break down their goals, as well. “I will help mommy around the house,” might become “I will make my bed every morning.”
5. Let the resolution be its own reward: Encouraging kids to set resolutions is a great way to teach them how to manage goals. However, offering a reward for keeping the resolution may confuse the purpose. Resolutions are all about life-management, self-control, and positive energies. Let these be the reward. Children can learn the value of follow-through, and be proud of themselves for it.
6. Make family resolutions: Individual resolutions are important, but having a separate family resolution that you all come up with together can do wonders for your family’s relationship. It will give everyone a chance to express their feelings and desires, and settling on a resolution that addresses this will ensure everyone feels heard. It will also give you all something to look forward to. Something like a family vacation, or weekly family game nights — now that’s a resolution you can feel good about.