Most of us spend the last few days of every year planning to receive the oncoming year with a grand celebration. We indulge in festivities to keep our spirits high and step into the new year with a feeling of hope and positivity. We plan to add to our happiness quotient by realising our aspirations and making our dreams come true.
In a nutshell, we desire, intend and resolve to make the best use of the next 365 days to improve our lives.
While we do this on the eve of every New Year, let’s resolve to do things a little differently this time. Alongside our personal New Year resolutions, let’s create some space to fit in a few things to do together as a family.
To help you with the task, we have created a New Year resolution list for your family. Here it is.
1. Take decisions as a family: We tend to take decisions unilaterally, rarely considering the perspectives of other family members. This causes a lot of heartburn and resentment among family members.
- What to give up: Give up the habit of taking decisions unilaterally. In a family, it is the responsibility of every member to ensure that decisions taken makes others feel at ease and comfortable.
- What to adopt: Get together with your spouse and children, and resolve to take decisions as a unit. While you put your ideas on the table, ask everyone else to do the same as well. Then, together, select the best option. Along with making the decision-making process more open, it will also decrease dissatisfaction levels.
- Takeaway for children: It teaches your children the crucial life skill of decision-making by carefully weighing the options and taking into account the views of others.
2. Argue less, talk more: Everyone has an opinion on almost everything. In a family, putting forth views during a conversation can often turn into an argument and give rise to conflicts.
- What to give up: Consciously avoid falling into the trap of being critical of those asking questions or constantly raising doubts about what a family member may say. This can lead to disagreements and altercations.
- What to adopt: Decide on being patient during conversations, and pay heed to the tone and choice of words. Listen carefully to what others have to say. Give reasons that make you disagree with the opinion of others or make you believe that what you say is more sensible.
- Takeaway for children: This will teach your children how to express their views in a reasonable manner and show respect towards those of others.
3. Manage stress: With a busy lifestyle and a host of responsibilities to handle, every family member, including children, experiences a lot of stress.
- What to give up: While every issue on our plate may seem important, there are some that do not need immediate attention. Keep aside such chores and responsibilities to declutter the daily schedule.
- What to adopt: Sit together and make a list of everything that seems like a priority. Strike out those from the list that all of you decide can be done without, adjust remaining priorities, and brainstorm on how you can help each other. This will reduce the burden and give all of you some downtime, thus decreasing stress levels.
- Takeaway for children: Practising this with your children can help them learn how to plan their schedule and lead stress-free lives.
4. Detox your home: Hankering after development, mankind is forcing nature to withdraw its steps and replacing everything natural with chemicals. This has increased pollution levels and put our health at risk.
- What to give up: Resolve to not purchase products that contain harmful chemicals and dyes. For example, disinfectants, synthetic air fresheners, and processed food.
- What to adopt: Replace chemical cleaning products with natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, use fresh flowers or herbs for a pleasant fragrance, buy organic food products and use water-based paints for walls and furniture.
- Takeaway for children: Going natural from an early age will help your children learn how to use the numerous gifts of nature to lead a healthy life, and strive to protect and care for the environment.
5. Make yourself accountable: Setting goals is the easiest of tasks; but, working towards achieving them is difficult. After some time, most of us stop paying any attention to our goals.
- What to give up: Stop trying to fit a goal you’ve set as a family into the existing schedule of family members. This way, not all of you will be able to spare the time and put in the effort needed to achieve it, and everyone will have their own excuses to justify their lapses.
- What to adopt: While setting a goal, draw up a schedule which reflects what each member of the family needs to do to achieve it, the amount of time the family should invest in it every day, and at what time of the day the family intends to engage in the task.
- Takeaway for children: This will help your children learn to be responsible for their behaviour and actions.
Epton et al published a study titled, ‘Unique effects of setting goals on behavior change: Systematic review and meta-analysis,’ in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (2017). The findings of their study suggest that, "Optimally goals should be: (a) difficult but achievable (b) set publicly (c) set face to face (d) set as a group goal and (e) set without drawing attention to goal commitment." So, while you take inspiration from this article and set resolutions together as a family, also try to adhere to the takeaways from Epton et al’s study.
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