We’re two weeks into the new year—how are your resolutions doing? If you fell off the wagon, don’t worry. The reason most resolutions don’t last is because people dive in headfirst instead of gradually working their new habits into their daily routine. This is not sustainable long-term and is more likely to cause burnout. Keep reading for some ideas to help you and your family bring those resolutions to life!
You know the talk— “how was your day at school? What did you learn? Anything new?” Add a new question to your repertoire: how did you work towards your resolution today? Your child may have resolutions like improving in math, making new friends, taking more time to read, etc., so ask them questions pertaining to their specific goals. Share what you did to work towards yours too so they’re more willing to share, and don’t be afraid to be honest if you didn’t do much on a particular day either. If either of you didn’t work on them, talk about what you can do tomorrow instead. Honesty is key for accountability!
Hold yourself and your family accountable for their goals by making a resolution calendar. Spend some time with your family to plan tangible small goals and put them on the calendar. For example, if your child’s resolution is to finish more books, mark February 1st as the day they should have read x number of books. The idea is that breaking down your resolutions into smaller chunks will make it easier for you to sustain, and perhaps by summer you won’t need the calendar to guide you anymore!
If there’s a habit you and your kids are trying to break, try this method found in the New York Times. It comes from the idea that habits are a response to a certain feeling, so identifying that feeling and doing something else to manage it will help you break the bad habit. Here’s an example NYT uses:
“Bad Habit: I check Twitter too often.
Cue: I feel isolated.
Routine: I check Twitter.
Reward: I feel connected.
Way to change the behavior: Instead of checking Twitter, get up and talk to a colleague.”
Now use that formula for something in your life! For your kids, have a discussion with them about the habits they want to break, like procrastinating on homework or not brushing their teeth before bed. Get to the root feeling causing the habit and find an alternative to help them create healthier habits!
We recommended you make a 2023 vision board as part of your New Year’s Eve festivities. If you haven’t yet, try it now! Vision boards are meant to make you envision what you want to get out of the year, and it’s a physical reminder of your goals that’s purely visual and aesthetically pleasing. The idea is to take the stress away from your goals and focus on the fun of it. Eyes on the prize!
This is a good supplement to the resolution calendar. Reward small goals and decide on larger prizes for bigger milestones. It also doesn’t hurt to make it a group effort too– consider giving something to the whole family, like a day trip to the zoo or local museum, when everyone has hit their goal for 3 consecutive months, 4 months, 5 months, etc… This will keep momentum up for both you and your kids, and you’ll make memories in the process!
Setting resolutions for the sake of setting a resolution is a sure way of letting it go quickly. When setting your goals, make sure it’s something you genuinely want. The same goes for your kids—in fact, this is a great social-emotional learning opportunity. Ask them to look inward and journal their thoughts and feelings on their resolution and make any changes necessary to your plan. That could include changing your resolution altogether!