Planning for a Family New Year Resolution

by: Dan Florell, Ph.D.

The piles of wrapping paper have been cleaned up. The leftovers have been put in the refrigerator. The children are off playing with their new toys and gadgets. Finally there is a chance to sit down and let the enormity of another Christmas passing start to sink in.

During this brief moment of time, parents can take a moment to reflect on the year past and what is to come in the upcoming year. Tradition has people use these moments of reflection to commit to changing their behaviors through a New Year’s resolution. Most of the time, these resolutions are quickly broken as the hustle and bustle of everyday life resumes and people go back to behaving the way they are used to.

There are ways to make sure that a New Year’s resolution can be successful. For instance, picking one behavior to change will be more successful than trying to change many behaviors at once. The singular focus makes it easier to make the change stick over time and overcome any obstacles encountered along the way.

Another way to have a resolution be successful is to solicit help from family members. Family members can provide accountability and support when trying to change a behavior. In fact, a resolution may be most successful if the whole family participates. Think of all the various family routines and behaviors that occur. Surely, there are one or two of those that could stand to be improved upon.

An example of a routine that could be improved upon is getting ready for school and work in the morning. Many families struggle day after day in getting everyone ready for the day and getting out the door in time. Yet few take the time to sit down and figure out if there is a better way it can be done, as there never seems to be the time. The holiday break is a perfect down period where the time can be found.

Families should sit down and talk about what they have to do to get ready in the morning. A parent can take notes about everyone’s steps. Once completed, the family can go over each other’s steps and brainstorm ways they might be improved. Ideas like laying out tomorrow’s clothes or preparing school lunches the night before could help improve the morning routine.

After everyone has had a chance to discuss their various steps, parents should write them down. Writing down the steps provides accountability for each family member. When it comes time for the first day back to school, families can put the plan into action.

While improving a family’s morning routine is just one example, every family can identify some routine or aspect of their lives that could use some help. Use the New Year’s resolution as a way to start that change. The whole family will benefit and it is a perfect way to spend a bit of down time during the holidays.

This article was published in the Richmond Register daily Tuesday on December 27, 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *