It’s that time of year again.
The time of year when we write down a list of ambiguous, unrealistic resolutions for ourselves – goals that we more than likely won’t accomplish because what does “Eat Healthier” really mean, amiright? Does it mean one spoonful of Nutella instead of two, or should I start Pinning fancy recipes for Kale and Brussel Sprouts now?
In recent years, the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions has become less popular. I think we’ve all come to realize that we set ourselves up for failure using the traditional resolution model of the past.
There is something invigorating about the first of the year, though. It teems with possibility and in many ways it feels very much like a fresh start. Setting plans for the coming year doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as we do it the right way.
In recent years, I’ve enjoyed bringing my kids in on this little goal setting tradition. It’s fun to sit down together as a family and discuss where we’d like to be as a unit in a year.
Kids love to set goals. It makes them feel safe when life is predictable.
How children set their goals, though, will depend almost entirely on their personalities and, to a lesser degree, their birth order. Most (not all, of course) Type A first borns will want to set very high, lofty goals (get all A’s on my report card), while feisty second borns will set the bar much lower (eat ice cream every day).
Setting goals as a family is a fun way to tap into your children as unique individuals, and it gives you shared direction as a unit heading into the New Year. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1.) When you sit down with your children, have a few loose goals in mind to help drive the conversation. This is more necessary with younger children than with teenagers. By already having a few suggestions written down, you can keep the conversation from derailing into suggestions such as “Hold a Koala,” or “Ride a giant turtle.”
Both of which do sound kind of awesome, actually.
2.) Keep the list short. The end result of this little exercise is to show your children that it is entirely possible to accomplish your goals, so it’s best to keep the list short and sweet.
3.) Make one of the goals service oriented. Look at ways that you could serve together as a family. Is there a local food pantry you could help with once a month? Do you have a neighbor who needs help around the house? Could you bake cookies for one of your neighbors once a month and leave them anonymously at their doors?
Enjoy this time of brainstorming as you come up with something that you can do as a family unit to give back to your community.
4.) Make one of your family goals fun. Maybe there’s a water park in your town that you’ve never visited. Make a plan to save up for a summer day of fun in the sun. Or perhaps there are parks in your town you’ve never seen. Set aside days in your calendar to explore new places in your own back yard. Goal setting doesn’t have to be lofty or expensive. Keep it fresh and fun.
5.) Set individual goals. Take turns sharing with one another one thing that you hope to accomplish in the coming year. This is a chance for you to model for the children the importance of setting attainable goals, and reaching them.
Write down all your 2015 resolutions and hang them some place that the kids can see. As you accomplish your goals, mark them off the list with a big, black marker. Your kids will love the feeling of accomplishment as they accomplish these tasks, and mostly likely, so will you!
Do you have any goal setting habits as a family? How do you bring your children into the New Year’s Resolution tradition?