New Year's resolutions. We all make them but not many of us keep them. We start out the year exercising, eating healthy and watching our wallet closely only to lose all that momentum by mid-February (if not sooner).
This year, change your pattern; set family resolutions and work together to keep them. Getting the kids involved will give you an accountability partner (or team as the case may be) and motivation to keep going. Using fun, visuals to keep track of your resolutions will keep everyone motivated and involved.
There are hundreds of resolutions you can make as a family. Here are 5 that every family can benefit from; the 5 New Year's resolutions that my family will be making this new year!
Be More Active – Everyone benefits from increasing their activity level. That can be easy to commit to but difficult to stick with as the year progresses. This is especially difficult if your kids just got a bunch of video games (as mine did) and are excited to play them. All. The. Time.
To keep you motivated, create a visual in your home that shows the amount of activity your family participates in. In my house, it's going to be a jar full of pennies. We are going to deposit one penny for every minute we are active. We'll keep the jar around all year and at the end of 2013, we'll spend it on a fun activity as a family (or add it to our vacation fund).
You don't have to keep a penny jar but you could make a paper chain for each hour your family is active and decorate your family room with it. You could use the active minutes as a trade in for online time. If you are active for 30 minutes then you can be online for 30 minutes. It doesn't matter how you do it but the key is to keep everyone motivated so you will want to find a motivator that works for everyone.
Unplug From Electronics – How often you unplug is up to you. It may be that everyone unplugs from the time school gets out until the end of dinner time or one night a weekend. In our home, it will be dinner times, after-school (minus 30 minutes they are given each day) and one night on the weekends.
To keep a reminder of this resolution, you can schedule it into everyone's calenders, send a reminder text, tweet or Facebook event if your children are older. If your kids are younger, decorate a box or basket to hold electronics. Place it on the mantle or a shelf as a reminder that you've all committed to unplugging more often.
Read More – Everyone benefits from reading more. Your kids need it to do well in school and you'll grow as a person by reading more as well. Commit as a family to reading more often. It can be as simple as reading picture books together in the evening before bed or reading more advanced books to your children. I'm reading the Harry Potter series with my oldest son. He could certainly read them himself and probably would prefer it as he's a very fast reader but the time we spend together reading has been wonderful for our relationship.
Stay on track with your resolution by creating something that keeps track of each book you read. It can be as elaborate as creating a blog and writing or recording book reviews or as simple as keeping a chart of the book title, the author's name and a star rating (four stars for excellent, one star for not-so-great). You could also sign up at Good Reads and keep track of each book you've read.
Make Good Memories – You are probably already making many great memories with your family but this year make the resolution to purposefully make (and record) good memories. Bring out the camera more often and get yourself into those pictures. Moms are notoriously bad about being in pictures. We take them of our children but stay behind the lens. This year, make it a habit to get into the frame too.
Record your memories with a “Good Memory Jar.” I saw this idea on Pinterest recently and thought it was a great idea. I'm not sure who originally thought of it but I fully intend to adopt it in my home. Each day write down one or two memories of the day. It can be as simple as “I loved the way the flowers smelled in the garden” to something more elaborate like “This day at Disney World was the best.” Whatever makes you feel good that day, write it down. Your kids are going to love keeping track of their memories throughout the year. On December 31, 2013 take the time to read each of those memories and reflect on your year. Find a way to keep those memories alive as the years go on.
Eat Healthier – Nearly everyone has made the resolution to lose weight and then found themselves failing as the weeks pass in the new year. This year, make the resolution as a family to eat healthier. This may be that you'll change your weekend pizza delivery to homemade pizza or you'll skip that run through the drive-thru after practice and instead pack snacks for the car. Maybe your family wants to decrease their soda consumption. How you define eating healthier is up to you, the key to keeping this resolution may be in how you keep yourself accountable.
To keep this resolution in place, meal plan as a family each week. You should also involve everyone with the meal preparations a few nights each week (consider giving each kid one night a week to help). Make a contract with each other, sign it, date it and post it in the kitchen.
You could also make a family poem using New Year's or your family's last name as an acronym. For each letter in the world you are spelling, write a sentence that covers part of your resolution. (For example: C-Consume 8 glasses of water each day.) Write this on poster board and hang it on a prominent place in your home. Every day you'll have a visual reminder of your resolution to eat healthier.
No matter what resolution your family makes, find a way to visualize your progress, hold each other accountable and celebrate your accomplishments. With these ideas, you'll be certain to keep your resolutions and have the best 2013 possible. Happy New Year!
*Photo by Inspire Kelly via Flickr.