The beginning of a new year carries with it the inevitable looking back paired with the hope of a fresh start and second (or third) chances. As we move into a new year, we feel the need to promise to do better. We resolve to lose weight, to be on time, to be better with our money, or to stop smoking, drinking, or swearing. By the time January 31st rolls around, many of us have had a relapse in our resolve.
Part of the reason we fail to keep these resolutions is we attempt to tackle them on our own. So, this year, instead of making an individual promise that you’ll soon forget, why not make some family resolutions? You help hold each other accountable and grow closer in the process. Here are 10 family resolutions to keep this year.
1. Have a weekly family game night.
One week, play Uno or Crazy Eights or teach the kids a game you used to play. The next week, make it a video game night. Show the kids you’ve still got it (or at least that you know where you left it). Take a trip to the local bowling alley for a game. Or pile up the board games on the dining room table and have a tournament. It will help you connect as a family and help your kids develop their strategy and social skills.
2. Commit to one healthy eating change.
Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking, or skipping sodas altogether. As your small changes become habits, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
3. Turn off the TV.
Television is a wonderful invention and not bad in and of itself, but in many homes, we use the TV as a buffer from communication. So, turn it off when you’re eating meals together. Turn it off for game night. If you’re really feeling adventurous, take the plunge—as one of your family resolutions, try not watching TV one night a week. You might discover you don’t miss it at all.
4. Eat dinner as a family.
Sharing a meal together—breakfast, lunch, or dinner—is one way a family builds its identity and culture. Coming together for a meal teaches the importance of listening, sharing, and compromise. According to Time Magazine, the statistics are clear: Kids who eat meals with their parents are healthier, happier, and better students. That’s a lot of bang for your buck! So, resolve to eat together as a family.
5. Be quick to apologize and forgive.
We sometimes do and say things that hurt the people closest to us. It’s best to try to avoid causing pain, but when you mess up, be quick to apologize. When it’s your turn to be hurt, be quick to forgive. Forgiveness is good for your body, your relationships, and your place in the world. That’s reason enough.
6. Exercise together.
Get outside and do something you and your family will enjoy. Go for a run or toss a Frisbee. Remember that dusty thing in the garage with two wheels and a chain? Pull it out and cruise around your neighborhood. Show your kids some of your old tricks, and then have them show you what they can do. You’ll have fun together as a family, and you’ll get lots of exercise at the same time.
7. Revisit your childhood.
Get down on the ground and roll around with your kids. Build a fort in the family room with couch cushions and sheets. Have a No Rules Night. Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean you can’t be silly and have imaginative fun with the kids. Get the whole family involved. In those moments of silliness, you can have serious bonding and build bridges for heartfelt talks.
8. Do something new as a family.
Routine is great for families, but it isn’t the same as getting stuck in a rut. Make it a point to do something new as a family. Never been camping? Give it a try. Always take the same streets to school? Branch out and take a new route. Doing something new together will give you a common memory. So get out there and get adventurous together.
9. Make each child feel special.Make a resolution to do something once a month with each of your children.
It’s great to have family resolutions that involve everyone in the family, but it’s equally important to celebrate your kids’ individuality. Make a resolution to do something once a month with each of your children. Do something together that will make them feel special and valued.
10. Nurture your relationships.
If you’re married, the best thing you can do for your children is nurture your relationship with your wife. When your kids know you value your wife as your first priority, they feel secure and loved. Put that relationship first and your family will benefit. If you aren’t married, do your best to have a good relationship with your child’s mother.
Sound off: What are some of your family resolutions this year?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What goals do you think I should set?”