New Year's Resolutions: Family Edition
Common knowledge: New Year's Day is a good excuse to make some adjustments in your life. It's normal to hear friends, family, and co-workers talk about shaping up at the gym or trying to squelch a bad habit. Such goals can be life-changing if they make it past the first few days but studies show that forming a tried and true habit—good or bad—takes about 1 month. While there's plenty of great resources for kickstarting a good habit, we're here to offer a new perspective on the New Year's Resolution: family acts of resolve.
We're not talking about "try to get to Disney this year" (still a solid, if crazy target given the 2020 we just wrapped up) or "become a family of black belts in karate"—those are goals more than they are declarations (and plans) to resolve something (hence the word resolution).
Seem intimidating? The above words seem so...so...official, right? Well, the accountability of a resolution is the real key here. Accountability is what makes good habits successful. Without accountability, your resolutions are just empty wishes—a child's worst nightmare.
Say these in your child's voice:
"BUT YOU PROMISED!"
"YOU SAID IF I..."
"I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO..."
...sound familiar? As parents, we are the single-most influential figures to set precedent for our children's habits. Ignoring the politicians' definition of accountability, accountability is easiest to embrace when you declare it in a visual form—a journal, list, sticky note, or social media post. There's just something about a resolution actually existing that kicks off the journey properly. We're not saying that you need to barf up your most personal details on TikTok...but we're not saying not to either. Any parent can confirm that calling out broken promises/plans are a family behavior hallmark. Take this very moment as your sign to use accountability to your advantage. Leverage the guilt of not doing what you promised as motivation.
Personal resolutions are just that—they're for yourself. This post is about family goals that can introduce some positive, productive discipline and structure to your household. You see, personal resolutions can also be seen as solo missions that isolate in a time where we've done everything alone. In contrast, a family resolution shares the load while experiencing contagious success together. We've assembled a quick list of slam dunk (that's dad-speak for "high percentage") resolutions that your unit can achieve together. Achievability is other key "A" word here—resolutions need to be obtainable in order to see progress, meanwhile reciprocating that progress as both a validation and a reward.
That said, here's a few family resolutions to unleash your kin's collective eye of the tiger.
Play more video games
Yes this is not a drill: Play more video games. Play a lot of them. Sport games. Fighting games. Puzzle games. FPS. Smash 'ems. Battle Royales. Console games. Mobile games. Whatever—just play them together.
What could be more refreshing than a parent interrupting some chores for a spontaneous call to the living room to play Rocket League or determine who takes the trash out by way of an Among Us session (Android, iOS)? You'll find that by initiating a task the kids like, they'll be more likely to return the favor when you need one. Collaboration, camaraderie, pwning newbs—it's all there...just make sure the kids are comfortable.
Exercise (but not what you think)
First things first, let go of any preconceived notions about family exercise like 4 mile runs and deadlifting like an olympian. You don't need any equipment or triathlon signup fees here: just get on the floor for some pushups and sit-ups and commit to doing it every day. Make a chart for each family member to track your progress: start small and start easy—you want to rack up a few wins so that everyone looks forward to the challenge of the day.
We won't get into workout plans here, but have a few helpful links below to hit the ground running if pushups and sit-ups aren't your thing:
- Types of activities for kids (that adults can do, too)
- Ideas for a gym-free workout
- What to do and how to do it
Sharpen a skill
This TIME article does a wonderful job of mapping out the process—it's not as complicated or daunting as it seems, yet offers enough of a challenge to feel dedicated to something. You may even change your mind or lose interest when its all over, but the successful mastery of any "thing" pays dividends in other theaters of your life.
In hindsight, we cannot deny that 2020 has been a little...umm..unfair? Though more symbolic than physically different, turning the page from 2020 feels downright good. The coming year presents a fresh calendar and a renewed outlook—let's take advantage of the reset and make every day count!
Happy New Year!