Family drawing and writing new year's resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions for Families

Most of us are familiar with setting New Year’s Resolutions, only to find that we lose momentum and fail to meet our goals. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone – recent research in the field of psychology shows that only eight percent of people who set resolutions actually follow through with them!

The good news is that you and your family can keep your resolutions this year with just a little bit of planning! Here are some simple steps for you and your family to follow:

  1. Be specific: Be as specific as possible about what you want to achieve. Rather than setting general resolutions, such as “I want to spend more quality time with my child,” try, “I will spend one hour with my child playing and reading together four nights a week before bedtime.”
  2. Schedule it: Schedule action steps to help you meet your resolutions, and put them in your calendar just like you would an appointment or meeting.
  3. Share your plan: When we share our goals with friends and family, we’re more eager to keep our word and follow through. Plus, people close to you can help hold you accountable.
  4. Track your progress: Measure and track your progress often while working to meet your goals. Put a star on the calendar for each day you observed what you set out to do and look at that calendar every day. This will help keep you accountable, and it will make it all the more rewarding when you meet your goals and you can look back on your hard work!
  5. Don’t throw in the towel: If you slip, get up and keep going rather than beating yourself up or giving up. When you achieve your goals, you’ll be thankful that you never quit! Plus, this is a great opportunity to model a spirit of resiliency for your children.

So, now that you have the steps to help make resolutions stick, maybe you’re wondering what kinds of resolutions you and your family should set! December is a wonderful time to begin the process of giving thought to what we want to consciously work on or toward in the coming year. New Year’s resolutions provide a wonderful opportunity to make a meaningful family tradition where you are all growing and bettering your lives together.

Here are some ideas for resolutions you might consider as a family:

  1. Have a family taco bar and game night every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  2. Prepare meals together and eat at home three evenings each week.
  3. Take a family outdoor excursion twice each month, such as biking, hiking, rafting, or skiing.
  4. Practice having an “attitude of gratitude” each night before bedtime by sharing three things you feel grateful for.

You can help your child set resolutions like these:

  1. Put my dirty clothes in my basket every morning and every night.
  2. Help mom and dad in the kitchen by taking the dirty dishes to the sink after meals.
  3. Learn to ride my bike all by myself.
  4. Walk our dog every Saturday morning.

Here are some resolutions you could set for yourself as a parent:

  1. Wake up a half hour earlier on weekday mornings so that I can prepare breakfast for my child and I to share before we leave.
  2. Attend 12 of my child’s after school activity events during this school year.
  3. Read a positive parenting book and implement new parenting strategies this year.
  4. Listen attentively when my child speaks to me by setting aside what I am doing, getting down on her level and making eye contact.

I hope these ideas will help you and your family develop your own resolutions this year. Good luck, and remember, don’t give up!

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About the Author

Lynn Louise Wonders, MA, LPC, RPT-S is an early childhood development and parenting expert. She offers private coaching and consultation for parents throughout the U.S. She is a well-known professional in the field of play therapy, providing training, supervision and mentoring to child therapists world-wide having practiced for more than 15 years in schools, child development centers and through her private practice.