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Make New Year’s Resolutions a Family Project

Are you already thinking ahead to the new year? Are you mentally writing your list of resolutions? Here are some suggestions for making those resolutions stick and using them as a teachable moment for your family.

Step 1. Set the right goal. Set specific goals for yourself, ones where progress can be measured, that you know you can reach, and that you define a finish line for yourself. Your resolutions should be relevant to your life now and their achievement will positively impact your life. Ideally, they should serve as way to reset ingrained bad habits. Include making time to accomplish your goal as part of the resolution. Make one of your resolutions something that everyone in the family can participate in.

Step 2. Find community to support your goal. Having a partner or joining a group is one way to get support. Another is to enlist your family. Make your goal your family’s goal. If your resolution is to exercise at least 3 times a week, set a time for the family to get out and move every weekend. Maybe it’s walking in the park Sunday afternoons for half an hour or going to the pool at the Y together for family swim. Whatever it is, make it part of your weekly schedule. Motivate yourself and share that motivation with your family. Make a chart and post it on the fridge; have your kids put the stickers on the chart to mark your accomplishments. Plan for rewards, and include the family in them; they’ll be invested in your success.

Step 3. Plan B and Consequences. You will stumble. Those 2 steps backwards are teachable moments – for yourself and for your family. If your resolution is to skip desserts and sweets during the week and you indulge in a donut one morning, have a plan to walk for an extra half-hour the next day or to pass on desserts the following weekend. Don’t beat yourself up—it’s important to have self-compassion, take responsibility and hold yourself accountable. It’s what you’re trying to teach your kids, right? There’s no better lesson. Not only will you feel good about your own resolutions, you will be modelling setting and accomplishing goals for your family.

For more suggestions about New Year’s resolutions, check out these articles:

How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution

5 things to do now for New Year’s resolution success