What’s your resolution for the New Year? Do you want to earn more money? Lose a few pounds? Do you want to buy your first home, or are you saving for a down payment on your first car?
More importantly, what goals are your children setting? There’s a good chance that they’re caught up in the New Year’s Resolution “fever,” and are actively putting in place a list of things they’d like to accomplish in 2018.
Many times, the things we do will impact our kids. What’s more, we may not even realize we’re doing it. So before you set your New Year’s resolutions this year, why not consider these goals as alternatives to the norm. They’re goals you and your family can achieve together. Lose that 20 pounds on your own, and try these resolutions with your family.
Resolve to live a green lifestyle
This New Year’s Resolution can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to make it. By resolving to live a greener lifestyle, you’ll be teaching your kids compassion and responsibility.
Begin with simple steps, like ensuring the lights are turned off. Start to recycle your glass, cans and cardboard. Then, you can move on to bigger projects. Your family can “Adopt a Highway” in most areas of the United States, or you could even resolve to walk to school if it’s a safe route!
Resolve to start exercising
When you set that New Year’s goal for yourself, you probably did so with the notion that you’d either lose weight or tone up. But here’s something you may not have thought of.
When your kids hear that you’d like to exercise more, they begin to get the impression that it’s not fun. That it’s something that takes willpower and personal fortitude to go to the gym. Of course, you want your kids to exercise. But they begin to think, “why would I want to move my body in ways that are not fun?”
Break that cycle early. Resolve to exercise together in ways that are fun. Go for a hike or flay disc golf at the park. Heck, go out in the yard and have a water fight. Make it fun, and you’ll be establishing good and healthy habits which will last a lifetime.
Resolve to learn something new
As an adult, you may have a resolution to get that personal training certification, or to finally finish your Bachelor’s degree. Your kids can make continued education a part of their annual goals, too!
Learning doesn’t have to feel academic. Ask your child what she’d like to learn, then go for it! Does she want to learn the rules of football? Find the local league. Does your son want to learn to speak French? Find a class!
There are some goals which aren’t finite. For example, your child won’t master piano in a year. But set mini-goals along the way, meanwhile reinforcing to your kids that learning never stops. Then show them by getting that Bachelor’s degree yourself!
Resolve to be more kind
This may not seem like a quantitative goal, but it certainly can be. Establish the “rules” ahead of time, then be more kind with nothing but a piggy bank.
Involve the whole family. Every time a family member catches another family member doing something kind, put a quarter in the bank. At the end of the year, break open the bank and see what’s there!
Chances are you’ll have enough money for a nice family dinner out. You may even have enough money to take a weekend trip to the beach or the mountains. Or, you can drive that kindness lesson home and donate the money your family has earned over the course of the year. Choose a charity together, or vote on your favorite.
Resolve to eat more healthy foods
Your kids have probably heard you talk about your diet goals. I would strongly encourage you to reconsider what you say about those goals in front of your kids.
Your kids love you for you. They don’t care how round or straight you are. They don’t care if you’re a size 5 or a 10. They see you for the parent that you are, not for the shape you have.
So when your kids hear you talking about the imperfections you perceive to exist in your own body, it makes them begin to wonder about their own. They begin to think their bodies aren’t as perfect as you know them to be. They think that a “perfect” body will gain them acceptance. And most importantly, they begin to think that the acceptance of you, their parent, can only be gained if their body is just so.
Please reconsider. Keep the weight loss goals to yourself, and instead resolve to eat foods that are more healthy. Resolve to drink more water, to cut back on soda or to eat three servings of veggies per day.
And go easy on yourself! You may think you’re a few pounds overweight. But your kids love you just the way you are, and that last ten pounds likely isn’t a resolution you need to make at all.
Resolve not to make resolutions
Of course, your family may not choose to make any resolutions at all. Only 8% of people actually keep them anyway; most resolutions flop by February.
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, just make a few immediate changes. Take the time while your kids are out of school to clean out the closets. Donate those unused things to a local shelter or your Goodwill store. For every new toy your child got at Christmas, give one old toy away.
If you must make goals but aren’t sure you’ll keep them, start small. Resolve to “job more and eat les ice cream.” You may find that keeping this resolution is much easier than, say, the goal to jog 3 miles every day and eliminate ice cream from your diet.
Choose just one or two New Year’s resolutions, then help each other meet those goals. Resolutions don’t always last the year, but with your family’s help, they’ll be more likely to stick.