New Year’s Resolutions – A Family Affair

happy new yearWell, here we are, poised to turn another calendar page and launch ourselves into a new year.  I don’t know about you, but it feels like I just performed this acrobatic feat a few weeks ago, rather than 12 months ago. How did it get to be 2014 so quickly?

The cliché suggestions about reviewing the past year and looking ahead to the clean slate of our upcoming year are actually valid. It feels good to take stock of the year we just raced through and also to make some good plans and resolutions for the new year.

Let me stop here to ask you a question. Overall how did you do with your resolutions last year? Research done at the University of Scranton shows that only about 8% of resolutions are actually kept.

You might think that low figure would discourage me. But instead I feel good about the fact that each year, or each day for that matter, I get a fresh start and new chances to work towards accomplishing my resolutions.

I was in a review-the-past-year moment today when I got to wondering if I ever made resolutions as a child. I took a minute to think about it and came up with the fact that as a young child my resolutions took more the form of wishes.

In other words, one year I might wish to learn to play jacks better and another year wish I could save enough money to buy a Barbie Dream House. I guess these wishes were my resolutions and became goals for me to achieve as the new year began.

And that line of thought made me realize that helping our kids make resolutions and set goals could be a nice way to teach them about self-discipline and the thrill of accomplishment. Both of these things lead to building a healthy self-esteem.

And what about the fact that only 8% of resolutions are kept each year? Does that mean that our kids will be devastated if they don’t accomplish their goals? Not really. What it actually does is provide our kids with two valuable lessons; sometimes we do get second chances and failing isn’t the end of the world.

Having a second (or third or fourth) chance to succeed is the beautiful thing about resolutions. Think of these tried and true sayings: Try, try again. The third time’s the charm!  Rome wasn’t built in a day. Each of these sayings let’s us know that succeeding on the first try is a rarity and it’s okay to give it another go tomorrow.

So my advice to you is to encourage your kids to make some resolutions for 2014. There are many ways to do this but one of the best ways to start is to talk about your own resolutions for the upcoming year.

Sharing your resolutions with your children opens the door to brainstorming goals that are appropriate and doable for them. After all, setting goals that are lofty or impossible is a surefire way to be in the 92% of those who fail to keep their resolutions each year.

It will probably be tempting to name the goals you think your child should set for the upcoming year. But try to hold back and allow your child to choose her own goals if possible. This process is a great opportunity for her to start forming ideas about the kind of person she wants to become and it’s best done without having a goal forced upon her.

Another good way to introduce the concept of resolutions to your child is to set goals or make resolutions as a family. The team effort involved is often invaluable. Here are some nice family-oriented resolution ideas from About Kids Health. These ideas are easy to incorporate to your family’s lifestyle and can really make a difference for you in 2014.

And if you find your child still needing some inspiration, here’s a quick little slide show of kids christmas ball happy new yearlisting their New Year’s resolutions on Spoonful.com. Charming!

Finally, as I close my last blog post of 2013 I would like to thank you for visiting my site and wish you and your family a very happy and blessed 2014. Happy New Year!

Cathie

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