2012 is almost here, and that means New Year’s resolutions are due. If you’re like many people, you know the drill: You make resolutions, you do well with them the first few weeks, you do less well with them after the first month, and you give up on them after a few months. But for all of you families out there, I have an approach that may help you have greater success with your 2012 resolutions.
Of course most of us have the best of intentions in following through on our resolutions, but it’s hard to make such big changes on our own. In this vein, as a husband and parent, I’ve learned that people can do a much better job of sticking to their resolutions if they do them together as a family. If your spouse or children are also keeping track of how well you’re making progress toward a resolution, you not only disappoint yourself when you begin to reach short of a resolution, you disappoint them, too. And the same goes for them when you’re a part of keeping track of their progress. Think of the old saying: There’s safety in numbers.
In particular, I’ve seen two ways that making resolutions as a family can help individual family members better reach their goals. First, simply making a commitment to hold each other accountable for resolutions creates an added incentive not to disappoint a family member with a lapse in will. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds and you have a young daughter who is helping you with this, would you really eat that big after-dinner snack at home as easily as you would if no one but you were keeping tabs on your progress?
A second way that tackling resolutions together as a family can help family members better reach their goals is that, by going through this process, you can show your children the importance of sticking with something and seeing things through to the end. The bigger lesson here about reaching New Year’s resolutions is that, more than achieving just a single goal, it shows your children that they can succeed in making big changes and accomplishing worthy goals if they put their minds to it. If your son has a goal to improve his grade in math, and if you keep checking in on him to push him to help him ultimately achieve this, this can serve as a tremendous motivator for his confidence at a formative age.
For these two reasons, I highly recommend you see this time of making resolutions as one that is not in isolation. Making resolutions should be something that does not just occur at the turn of a new year, but at many times throughout the year, when you see things that you can change about yourself and change with your family members.
While New Year’s resolutions are something that are oftentimes something that we get sidetracked from after a short time, they don’t have to be. If you can turn to a family member and to hold you accountable, you are and will be kept on a path to completion, and success. I hope you give it a try.