Resolutions generally last less than a month into the new year. When the new calendar goes up on the wall, we resolve to change our life so it'll be better. We want to stop smoking, lose weight, learn a new skill, make more money, or improve our relationships. However, most of those resolutions fail. Why? Because people don't like to change their habits... especially bad habits. Without a support group or smaller interim goals, those resolutions fall victim to everyday demands. You have a stressful day, so you grab a cigarette, eat a donut, or spend money on a gift for yourself, totally disregarding your resolve to stop smoking, lose weight, and save money. If that sounds like you, it might be a great idea to get a resolutions buddy to hold you accountable.
But new year's resolutions aren't just about personal growth: Families need cooperative resolutions to become stronger, too. Follow these easy steps to create and maintain resolutions for the new year that will change your family dynamics for good. It's sure to be a success, because after all: You have a built-in support group! Here's how to do it:
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1. Bring your family together for a brainstorming session.
All members of the family must be present to participate in this important step. List everything you want to accomplish as a family in the coming year. Keep in mind that individual goals don't count! In other words, your son can't list get better grades in math, because that's an individual goal. You could, however, aim to work together more during homework time. So go ahead and make a list of serious resolutions, fun resolutions, or even silly resolutions. The more line items you have, the easier it'll be to narrow down the list during the last step. Be careful that this doesn't turn into a personal gripe session, though. Only list resolutions in a positive manner that will benefit the entire family.
2. Step away from the list.
Go do a family activity together. Go bowling. See a movie. Take a walk in the woods. Play a board game. This important step will reinforce why you're making the list of resolutions.
3. Narrow down the list and display it.
Cooperatively cross off those items that won't work, or are just too silly to consider. Discuss the feasibility of implementing controversial items that might be hard to support. Bring the final list down to three or four important goals or resolutions; that will keep it manageable. Post your list of resolutions in a prominent place, like the refrigerator.
4. Develop a timeline.
The timeline should break down the resolutions into monthly mini-goals. Add those interim goals to the list on the fridge, but be realistic. If you all determine that you should read a certain number of books in a month or a week, adjust the goal for the age and ability of each family member. At the end of the month, you can have a book discussion!
5. Implement the new family resolutions.
Keep track of how you're doing. Meet weekly or monthly to discuss the resolutions, and whether they need to be adjusted. Resolutions don't need to remain static. They can change as the family finds that they are unworkable for whatever reason.
So what are you waiting for? Gather the clan together and create a list of fun, silly, and serious resolutions, and then narrow that list to a few to work on for 2014. At the end of the year, review your progress as a family, and create new resolutions for 2015. What fun!
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