Why You Should Make New Year’s Resolutions as a Family

Why You Should Make New Year’s Resolutions as a Family

A New Year’s resolution is, traditionally, an individual pledge to meet certain goals in the new year. The most common New Year’s resolutions are: losing weight, eating healthier/exercising more and saving money. These resolutions are great goals to have, and will benefit your life and probably your families lives as well, if you can actually stick to them. Over 90% of people give up on their resolutions and slip back into their normal routines before the year is halfway over. This usually happens because the goal was too overwhelming, and because the only accountability was to oneself.

This year, why not do resolutions differently? Why not make a resolution that doesn’t revolve around yourself, but instead revolves around your family? Why not make New Year’s resolutions for your family, and make them as a family? This will bring your family closer together as everyone aligns their goals. It will get a dialogue going about what is important to all the members of your family, in the short and long term. Committing to a New Year’s resolution as a family will keep you accountable not only to yourself, but to your family members as well. Many psychologists and life coaches agree that being accountable to your family helps tremendously to keep people working toward a goal without quitting.

The first step to creating a New Year’s family resolution is getting the family together to discuss your options, ideas and pros and cons of them all. This discussion can be a sit down meeting over snacks, or it can be a lighthearted game. (Consider getting everyone to write their ideas down and play a game of charades to figure out what the suggestions are).

When figuring out your resolution, start with a general goal. It can be big or small, but will probably seem big. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Once you have your big goal, simply break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Most resolutions get abandoned because they are just too big to accomplish at once and people get stressed out and quit. An article in the American Psychological Association encourages people to “start small and make resolutions that you think you can keep.”

If you’re struggling for ideas, here is a list to get you going:
Big Goal: Be a healthier family.
Small Steps: Start small by incorporating one ultra-healthy night a week, like Meatless Monday, or Sugarless Saturday. Plan a weekly trip to the farmer’s market. Plan a monthly family walk or bike trip.
Big Goal: Spend more time together.
Small Steps: Plan a monthly family game/movie night. Have a night when the kids cook, with parents supervising. Take a community art or theatre class as a family. Volunteer in your community as a family (e.g., animal shelter or library).
Big Goal: Take more risks as a family.
Small Steps: Plan a family vacation to an adventure park. Race go carts at a track. Go on a spontaneous road trip. Go river rafting.
Big Goal: Make/save money as a family.
Small Steps: Host a garage sale. Save spare change in a jar. Find a cheaper grocery/clothing store. Start a coupon book.
You can also check out Huffington Post’s 50 Healthy Resolutions That Aren’t Losing Weight for more ideas.

If you’re still worried about sticking to your New Year’s resolutions, here are some psychology-proven tricks from Kevin Kruse, contributor to Forbes Magazine.

Clearly define your goals. Use numbers when possible, such as how many hours a week you want to volunteer or how much money a month you want to save.
Track your progress. Use a calendar to plan and track your progress. Use check marks, stickers, or anything that gives your family a pat on the back when you stick to your monthly game night.
Don’t think of your resolution as “all or nothing.” Do your best as a family. It’s important that everyone is trying, and remember you can adjust the resolution if you need to!
If you do have to reschedule or cancel a plan, don’t beat yourselves up! Just do your best to get back on track with your goal. Remember you made the resolution because it was important to you and your family.

Don’t forget to lean on each other for support and spend quality time together in the New Year.