January 06, 2012
It's a new year - have you ever wondered how to incorporate resolutions into family life?
Yes, parents are pressed for time, but remember we have strength in numbers. Family is our strength and our motivation. In Franklin Covey’s book titled 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, is a suggestion for creating a family mission statement. This is where each family member helps create a mission statement for the whole family. We add things in that are most important and beneficial for the family as a whole. It gets written up and framed on the fridge or hung in a prominent place. Because each member of the family had input and a say in what the mission statement represents, they all have a stake in it. This mission statement brings the family together to work for a common goal.
The same can be said for New Year’s Resolutions. I have heard more than once that New Year’s Resolutions can be hard to stick to be cause we’re still in the dead of winter with short, cold, rainy days. That makes it difficult to start anew.
However, creating Family Resolutions just might have an extra edge for succeeding. We have that wonderful built-in support system.
Here’s what to do:
Each person gets a piece of paper and something to write with.
Parents give some guidelines to the objective. We’re looking for something that we can work on to improve ourselves individually and as a family. These things might be to wake up 15 minutes earlier so that we’re not running late for the school bus, or that the whole family goes for a walk after dinner or plays a game together if it’s rainy.
Take a few minutes to think about what a personal goal might be for you and what a family goal might be that you would like to see happen for the whole family. Family goals might be something like: dinner together on school nights, a family outing once a weekend or twice a month (maybe just to the park but together).
Everyone come back together and share your thoughts and goals.
Appoint the youngest family member (who can write well enough) to write down each person’s personal goal and the family goals on one page.
The finished work will be prominently displayed for daily viewing.
The important part of this exercise is for parents to not change the children’s goals, unless it’s something unreasonable (like a new video game every week) or if it’s something unhealthy (like doughnuts for 3 meals a day). When the kids have a say in their own goals rather than the parents making one for them, they have ownership in that goal. They will get to feel proud when they meet that goal, and they might learn something about themselves along the way.
This could end up becoming a new family tradition.