Christmas is over and the next thing on the social calendar is New Year – and with it those dratted New Year Resolutions.
Whether you resolutely refuse to make them or start every year with good intentions, that magical change of number in the date from one year to the next means people look forwards to the year ahead.
That might mean booking the summer holiday, getting fitter or improving what you eat, planning to tick something off your bucket list or simply deciding to be kinder to yourself. While you’re in a positive mind-set it’s a great time to get family support.
Everyone knows that going it alone is much tougher than working together. If you can either aim to achieve something jointly or get your family to provide support to keep you on track, you’ll have a much higher chance of success.
After the Christmas blow-out most people get to the 1st January full of plans to improve their diet, cut back on carbs, ban the booze (at least for January) or embark on the latest celebrity diet. Needless to say, these strategies can be tough when you’re doing it alone.
Instead why don’t you have a family discussion about what everyone likes, what’s healthy and what’s really more of an occasional treat and then agree on a healthier eating plan for the whole family. This means the kids feel involved and are more likely to work with you than against you.
It also means that everyone is working towards a common goal and when one is having a bad day, the others provide encouragement.
Families are fitter
Obviously you can’t take a 4 year old for a 10K run, but there are plenty of things that you can do as a family that are good for your fitness.
- A weekend walk is a great place to start if your family doesn’t do much activity.
- Going to watch the kids play a team sport like football, netball, rugby or softball provides opportunities for Mum, Dad and other brothers and sisters to walk up and down the side-lines.
- A regular swim date every week is an opportunity to challenge your kids for the number of lengths they can swim and see what you can do too!
- Trampolining is fun for everyone and you don’t have to do complex somersaults to enjoy it, start gently and learn together.
- Getting a dog and having a walk rota ensures everyone gets to go out in the fresh air at least once a day. However, if the kids want a dog, they must also take responsibility for looking after it.
The holiday of a lifetime
What makes a great holiday – get all the family involved in deciding whether they want sea and sand or adventure and culture. Would they rather ski or snowboard than swim and sunbathe?
The more input the family have, the more fun planning the holiday will be – and the more they’ll enjoy it when they get there.
A year of achievement
Whether your bucket list includes learning to ride a horse or walking up Machu Pichu, running the London Marathon or getting a new qualification, there’s going to be some learning to do.
Of course good intentions are easy, but it’s making it happen that really counts. If you just have one big challenge, say losing 6 kilos in 6 months, it can seem a huge task and motivation can flag if progress is slow to start with.
So break the big goal down into smaller milestones and start slow. It could be losing half kilo in the 1st 4 weeks, then losing 2 kilos in the next 6 weeks and so on.
Write these milestones down and tick them off as you go, so you get an early sense of achievement. That way the motivation to keep going will be stronger as you will feel great about achieving goals.
It’s surprising how good kids can be at helping keep things on track too. They’re good at both noticing lapses; “I thought you weren’t going to eat more than two potatoes, Dad,” or “Mum you haven’t walked the dog yet” and providing motivation “I’ve eaten three pieces of fruit and two vegetables today – and it’s only lunchtime!” If they can do it, so can you!
Whatever you chose to do, make a plan, write it down, put it somewhere all the family can see it, like on the fridge door and mark off progress towards the goal in easy steps.
It’s amazing how much harder it is to avoid things if all the family has goals everyone can see. No-one wants to be the one who doesn’t do it!
So what are YOU planning to learn about in the year ahead?
What can you do to help the others in the family to achieve their learning goals?