Here are some ground rules for setting a family New Year’s Resolution:
1) Sit down with your family and discuss what sort of resolution you’d like to make. Then, set a specific time frame in which to achieve your goal, and build in checkpoints to monitor your progress.
2) Involve everyone in the game plan, then encourage and support one another in their unique roles. Accountability is a key factor in keeping things on track.
3) Identify the payoff. How will you know when the goal has been reached?
4) Celebrate your success. Savor the moment, and let everyone revel in the accomplishment of the goal. The more fun you make it, the more your family will look forward to taking on future challenges!
And here are some ideas to get you started:
Save money for a specific major purchase: Allow your children to do chores and contribute part of their earnings toward a family purchase like a vacation, a new computer, or a new car.
Eat healthy: Make a commitment to better health by involving your children in shopping for and preparing nutritious meals, researching healthy recipes, cutting back on sugary snacks and sodas and drinking more water.
Get in shape: Devote 15 to 30 minutes a day to some form of exercise with your spouse and children. Maybe it’s doing some sit-ups or jumping jacks while watching TV. A family hike, even if it’s just around the block, can be a great time for bonding and talking. Get up, get out and get moving – together!
Make a difference: Find a way to invest in a worthy cause. Volunteer your time together to help people in need. Serve a meal at a homeless shelter, visit elderly shut-ins at a nursing home, allow your children to contribute money they have earned themselves to a charitable cause. Teach them to give freely, without expecting anything in return.
Conserve energy and natural resources: Involve the whole family in an energy-saving lifestyle. Turn off lights and fans in rooms that aren’t in use, plan errands and trips in the car to conserve fuel. Recycle paper, bottles and cans. At the supermarket, opt for paper instead of plastic, or carry along a canvas tote when you’re shopping.
Log off, unplug, disconnect and reconnect: Take an evening a week (more if you dare!) and turn off the television, push back from the computer, pop out the ear buds and spend time as a family. Do something different, like playing cards, checkers or a board game. Talk, laugh, interact and show your family that real-time hands-on fun beats virtual reality anytime!
Commit to excellence: Help your children excel in school (and ultimately in life) by taking time to become actively involved in their education. Encourage them to complete their homework before they head out to play, check their homework and discuss any problem areas. Praise their successes and creativity. Let the older ones help their younger brothers and sisters. Volunteer at your child’s school, chaperone a field trip and check in regularly with their teacher to monitor their progress.
Broaden your horizons: Teach your children that their world extends beyond their own back yard. The majority of people in the world live in conditions that are vastly different from the ones they are familiar with. Help your children to understand that they have much to be thankful for. Research the lifestyles of people in third world countries. Ask your kids how they can make an impact in the lives of people they might never meet. Teach them to be good global citizens.