Now that we’re halfway through January, it seems like a good time to check in on the resolution front.
Do you make resolutions? We don’t do resolutions in the traditional sense, as much as we like to talk about goals. My husband and I make ourselves lists of goals that we’d like to accomplish as individuals but we also like to take some time on New Year’s Day to talk with the kids about goals. We encourage them to think of some things they might like to accomplish in the new year and also talk about what we’d like to work on all together as a family.
Obviously this exercise is more fruitful with older kids (my five-year old’s goal for the year was to become an airplane pilot... we had to steer him towards a more realistic “learn as much about planes as I can.”) But it is great to discuss as a family and establish this tradition, even before everyone can fully participate.
One of the “family goals” that we talked about with the kids was spending less money on entertainment and eating out, in order to save up for both big money things- like vacation and smaller cost fun (new diaper pattern, anyone?). We wanted to do this because we like the idea of having more money for fun things but also because we just felt like over the last few months of the year we had found ourselves eating fast food too often for our liking. We were also spending money on entertainment for the kids that could have been avoided by better planning on our part.
This was on both my husband’s and my individual goal lists, but we think it’s important to discuss big things like this as a family. If we never talk about it with the kids about it but suddenly stop doing what had (unfortunately) become part of our routine, that doesn’t seem fair. So we all talked together about how we’d be making better, more delicious food at home and enjoying the great weather here in Texas by taking advantage of more (free) outdoor activities. When we explain that it means fun things for the boys in the long run, like maybe getting to go on a road trip this summer, they were totally on board. They also had great suggestions for alternatives to some of our bad habits that had cropped up.
Now that we’re a few weeks into the new year, I can say that we’ve been on a good track. Th reason we choose the word “goal” over “resolution” is that we don’t want to be absolutist and feel defeated if we slip up. We have managed to stay on track with breaking our bad habits and putting our better ones back into place. I had forgotten how much easier it is to keep good habits going when they involve things like delicious homemade food and soaking up some sun. What seemed like it would be difficult has turned out to be pretty easy... so far.
I’m sure we’ll have some ups and downs while we pursue our goals this year, as a family and individuals. But it feels like an accomplishment to at least get off to a good start.
What are some of your best hints and tricks for staying on track when pursuing a goal or sticking to a resolution?