While making lifestyle changes to improve general health is a positive endeavor (and can happen any time), there might be pressure to set unattainable resolutions this time of year.
If you want to set goals for change in the new year:
- Make a plan.
- Keep it simple.
- Be specific.
Also, consider resolutions that relate to promoting family health and strengthening family relationships. This effort can start with reducing family stress. The article “Managing Stress for a Healthy Family” offers the following five suggestions to help: (https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/managing-stress.aspx)
- Evaluate your lifestyle. Model healthy behaviors for children
- Talk about it. Initiate conversations and provide opportunities for your children to talk about their feelings. Ask how they are doing.
- Create a healthy environment. Create a clear and relaxing physical environment
- Focus on yourself. Make sure you are eating well and getting enough physical activity and sleep
- Change one habit at a time. Focus on changing one behavior at a time to reduce feeling overwhelmed and increase success
Get everyone involved in setting family goals. Making positive lifestyle change is easier with support. Involving your children and partner can help. Focus the discussion on positive changes and point out achievements from the past year. The Gottman Institute offers the following suggestions as “resolutions that are easier kept as a family” 1) go to bed at the same time 2) unplug devices 3) eat meals together 4) create reading time 5) exercise as a family 6) work toward a financial goal 7) switch out soda and 8) go meatless one day a week. (See https://www.gottman.com/blog/make-new-years-resolutions-family-affair/) Make your new years resolutions a family affair).
(For recommendations on helping children identify and set their OWN goals see https://www.parents.com/holiday/new-years/resolution/8-ways-to-help-kids-make-new-years-resolutions/).
Finally aim for gradual, ongoing change that is sustainable. Think about what would work for you and your family. Don’t give up if you have a set back- life is full of unexpected challenges and some days are just hard. Getting back on track and working toward the goals you set for yourself or as a family is a great model for your children of resilience and perseverance.