Surveys vary, but roughly 80 percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by February. There are countless reasons for this trend, such as choosing unrealistic goals. However, an underrated cause for the failure rate is a lack of a social system. Positive results ensue when you have someone to support you—and hold you accountable.
Working together makes it way easier to pay attention to what you eat, keep that exercise regimen going, or improve your social skills. You can encourage each other and lead by example—at the same time! With all of this in mind, 2023 could be the year for family resolutions.
A Few Basics Before Setting Goals
- Truly make this a collective effort. Choose your resolutions together and make sure everyone is on board.
- Create rewards for success to keep everyone motivated.
- Never impose your personal preferences on your family. You can set such goals on your own even as you work together with others toward a common goal.
- Have meetings to discuss progress (or lack thereof) and remain open to adjustments.
5 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Parents and Families
Create a family ritual—preferably something weekly. This can be as elaborate or simple as you choose—from a movie or game night to taking a class together or more. Everyone’s life is busy and often unpredictable. To maintain and deepen your familial connection, don’t leave it to chance.
In the digital age, you can be sitting right next to a loved one yet still be thousands of miles away. Sometimes, all it takes is a small step or two to shift this dynamic. For example:
- Get into a routine of saying hello and goodbye. Do not take for granted when you cross paths with a family member. Especially when leaving or entering the house, greet each other with love and sincerity.
- Schedule time without your devices. Of course, this rule can exist during your weekly ritual (above). But find other times (meals, for example) to bring everyone back to the present moment together.
This could intersect with #1 above, but the basic idea is to make kindness a shared family activity. You may volunteer together with an existing program. Even better, you can create your own way of helping others and staying present. Decide together which causes mean the most to you and then figure out how to best use your skills and energy. Is there any better family activity than practicing compassion together?
Depending on your children’s ages and everyone’s physical abilities, exercise ideas can be specifically adapted for your family. If possible, training together for particular events can be very galvanizing. Also, there is the importance of eating with intention. Things you can do together:
- Pick out recipes
- Learn about the ingredients
- Eat (no devices)
- Clean up afterward
Does your family home have an emergency plan in place? This may not sound like the most “fun” goal, but it can save lives while teaching everyone the importance of teamwork. Try to involve all family members of at least school age. Explain possible scenarios and practice what to do in case any such emergencies occur. You can hold drills, regularly check emergency supplies (batteries, etc.), and inspire your children to be responsible and aware adults.
Easier Said Than Done?
Yes, of course, getting a family to agree on anything can be rather tricky. If you feel at a loss for how to create deeper family bonds, reach out to Integrative Psychotherapy Group. Working with a skilled therapist is an excellent way to assess your situation and discover the new approaches you need. If 2023 feels daunting to you, we can help.