Practical Tips for Making Family New Year Resolutions Sustainable
In 2023 I came across two books that changed my outlook towards life and the expectations we have for ourselves and our kids.
In the fear of sounding all-knowing, I am just going to leave the book reviews to GoodReads and just tell you that these two books compelled me to have an open mindset and create habits for myself and kids that will make sure we are making use of all the resources at our disposal and always move in the positive direction.
The two books are:
So obviously as a family we are going to create two important habits:
You must be wondering, there are some pretty basic habits, why call it a resolution and why involve the entire family?
Why are Family resolutions important?
Little kids learn a great deal by watching.
It is one thing to ask your child to read and explain to them why reading is important, it's a whole new game when you set up a Family reading time and lead by example.
And that’s why Family resolutions are important and that is why they work so much better!
Pick something you want to work on as a family.
Whether it is waking up early in the morning or adding more movement/exercise or introducing them to the joy of learning… take your pick.
Share the idea with your family.
Ask them for their opinions and go for it!
Little changes get big results
Let me just make the pot a little sweeter and tell you how little improvements add up to bring in big results and sometimes life altering habits.
My daughter was in 5th grade when we implemented a 1 extra math question a day rule. That’s all I wanted from her, just one extra Math question everyday. This was, of course, in addition to the homework she gets from school.
Because it was just one question, she did not resist. How much time can one math question take! She did it everyday. And then something great happened. A month into doing one question everyday, she started doing more than one question.
Then she started liking doing math and would randomly pick questions to do when she was getting bored.
Not only did she dramatically improve in Math, her outlook towards Math changed too and she was no longer running away from Math.
Make it easy
The biggest thing we can do to keep resolutions is to make it easy to keep them.
Did you resolve to not eat sugar? Do not bring sugary stuff home.
Did you resolve to eat healthy? Stalk your refrigerator with healthy snack and meal options.
Do you want to read more books? Sprinkle books near the couch and night stand
Do you want to wake up early? Start sleeping early and get a loud alarm clock.
There are ways to make it easy to keep up with your resolution, figure out what will make it easy and do it.
If it feels easy, chances are you will do it!
Create Family Progress board
It is so satisfying to see consistent performance.
Having a visual reminder of how far you have come is motivation to keep going.
You can go as elaborate or as simple as you would like with your progress board.
For our one-math-question-a-day we took a simple A4 size paper, wrote numbers 1 to 31 on it and marked off a number everyday she did her one math question.
Encourage each other
Because the entire family is participating in the New Year's resolution, it is so much easier to encourage each other and nudge each other back on track!
It also gives an opportunity to bond over something so fun and productive.
And having accountability partners within the family is a great way to make sure a good habit would stick!
Create a reward system
Create a reward system that will help you sustain the new year's resolution.
Is your resolution to work out everyday? Reward yourself with a massage appointment after 30 days of regular working out.
Do you want to establish a reading habit? Gift yourself a Barnes and Nobles gift card after 30 days of continuous reading.
Do you want to wake up early? Get yourself a new pair of walking shoes after 30 days of waking up early.
A reward system that encourages and sustains the new year's resolution is the best way to keep going!
Let's get real, there will be hiccups and setbacks along the way.
You are not gonna make a resolution and stick to it for the entire year.
The kids will get sick.
You will get sick.
There will be travels and holidays.
You will miss a day or two or even a week!
Instead of giving up, embrace the setbacks and start again!
Your body and mind remembers. It will not be as hard as it was the first time.
Especially if your entire family is committed and you give each other the much needed grace, you will be back at it in no time.
Focus on the journey
I cannot stress this enough!With good habits and resolutions, the journey is just as, sometimes more important than the goal itself!
Especially when we have little humans watching and noticing every single one of our steps.
It is important to have a positive outlook towards the journey we are on, if we are miserable, we will fall off the wagon.
Also only when you feel good about something, you are likely to do it over and over again.
So look at the bigger picture and enjoy this beautiful journey you are on with your family and have a fun year full of love, laughter and lots of learning.