By the time the new year rolls around, I’m more than ready. There’s something ceremoniously cleansing to be able to let the past year go, along with all its triumphs and pitfalls, and start over fresh with a clean slate and good intentions.
This year I plan on making resolutions that include more than just myself. While my resolutions for 2012 will include a few personal goals, I’ve decided to add a few goals that benefit my family.
I resolve to slow down. Our calendar is full. It almost always is. If I see white space on it, I automatically think of all the things I’d love to do to fill that space. A fully colorful calendar makes me incredibly happy. But it stresses my family out. This year I resolve to allow some of that white space to just stay white.
I resolve to create more one-on-one quality time. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our own personal stuff and forget the importance of staying involved in each other’s lives. I’d love to make dates with each of the kids as well as Mr. W, spending some uninterrupted time together before going back to our own personal lives. This means, putting down the iPhone and unplugging the video games, and maybe even getting out of the house to escape distraction or the temptation to plug back in.
I resolve to spend less time with my nose buried in technology. That might seem like a personal goal, but it’s not. My iPhone has become my greatest source of procrastination, as well as being an unworthy time-suck. The result? I end up more stressed out than ever because I’ve just wasted time I really needed to either do something specific or to just unwind. Rather than playing games, surfing the web, or getting my news from Facebook, my time would be better spent reading a book, going for a walk, connecting face-to-face with a friend, or playing a boardgame with my family.
I resolve to make getting healthy a family effort. I can’t say this is a new resolution, or even a failed resolution. But it is definitely one I can improve on. In this new year I’d love to discover more lunch and dinner ideas that focus less on starchy foods and more on vegetables and protein. I plan on taking running back up, but this time inviting my kids in on the training sessions so we can get healthy together. I resolve to include the kids more in meal making so they can learn how to cook healthy meals for themselves. And I resolve that lunches or dinners out will be more of a special occasion rather than a matter of convenience.
I resolve to give more praise than commands. It’s easy to bark orders at the kids. Did you wash the dishes? Your room can use a little sprucing up. Could you please put your dirty clothes in the hamper? Stop sitting on your brother. Giving a honey-do list to the kids is easy to remember to do because all that stuff is staring me in the face. But it’s harder to remember to regularly tell the kids what a great job they are doing, how much their efforts help me out, how proud I am of their work at school, or even noticing their efforts for looking presentable for school. This year I plan on taking more care to acknowledge the things they are doing great.
I resolve to focus more on growing my child into an adult than falling back on lazy parenting. This is my guilty downfall. I allow my son to play too many video games. I am lax with my daughter when it comes to enforcing rules or consequences. I clean up after all of them to avoid struggling with them to get it done. I threaten to toss all their errant socks in the living room only to quietly wash them and put them back in their drawers. What are they learning? How to expect someone else to do their bidding. This year I plan on cutting off the unlimited amounts of mindless screen time, enforcing the rules I set, and instilling awareness for ways they can help out so that one day they’ll be a mindful roommate, spouse, and/or employee.
And I plan on being easy on myself if I fail. No parent is perfect. We all have our off days. But each minute of the day presents a moment when you can start over. No one needs a new year to create new goals. You just need a new decision.
Have you made any resolutions, family or personal? I’d love to hear about them! Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year from my family to yours!