Making Doable New Year’s Resolutions

For many folks, the beginning of a new year is the time for setting new goals and making new commitments, whether is exercising more, losing weight, saving money or changing something they don’t like.  However, come February 1st many of these New Year’s resolutions are forgotten.

This year, make your New Year’s resolutions a family oriented activity and make them count!

Call for a family meeting and together reflect about last year’s goods and bads, what worked and what didn’t and how to make 2017 a better year for everyone.  Goal setting and self-discipline are great skills to model to your children.  Be the first one to set some goals and allow your children their turn to set their own. Make simple yet empowering resolutions for achievable goals, like drinking more water, eating new veggies and listening more.  Parents who listen well will not only help their kids become more confident speakers, but better listeners, too.

Make it a priority to acknowledge your kids when you see them doing something good, and not just notice when you see them doing something bad.  Just don’t forget to follow through and be consistent with consequences when they break a rule.

Another resolution you can model is cutting down screen time.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), between the use of  cell phones, TVs, video games and laptops, children and teens spend an average of seven hours each day staring at screens.   By demonstrating a reduced digital life, you’ll show your children the positive side of spending time away from technology.  Better yet, designate one day a week as an "unplugged" day and spend this time together.  Plan for an activity the whole family can enjoy like hiking or picnicking, or start a “Book Club” where you agree to read any book your child chooses. This will lead to lots of great conversations, improve their reading comprehension and boost your child’s love for reading.

Having family dinners together is another resolution you can implement. Studies show kids who have family meals at least five times a week are less likely to report high levels of stress and are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.  Today’s lifestyle can sometimes be overwhelming and overscheduled, so remember to make time to recharge yourself.  Parents are the first to neglect themselves, but having “me-time” will make you happier and will give you more energy when caring for your kids. Enrolling in an Active Parenting class or another type of parenting workshop is a great way to meet and connect with other parents and reinforce your parenting skills.  For a location near you, visit http://drugfreeazkids.org/calendar

 Now you are set, so make these totally doable changes today and keep them up all year long!