3 Reasons to Set Family Goals in the New Year

Image adapted via Flickr/evil erin
Image adapted via Flickr/evil erin

January typically marks a time of new beginnings for families. After enjoying the holiday break, many families start thinking about resolutions. Often, those resolutions tend to be lofty—new exercise plans, diet overhauls, and money saving tend to top the list. But many of those resolutions fade into the background of daily living by the time spring finally makes an appearance.

When we set ourselves up for success, we are more likely to keep moving forward. That’s a life skill that is worth teaching this year.

I’ve always been a fan of manageable goals. I never do set resolutions, but I do talk to my family about setting family goals. When we break things down into manageable parts, it’s easier to stay on task and continue working toward a goal. Sure, it would be nice to run a marathon (if you like that sort of thing), but getting off the couch and increasing physical activity as a family is a great place to start. 

3 Reasons to set family goals:

Image via Flickr/rachel_pics
Image via Flickr/rachel_pics

Built in support:

It’s no big secret that people are more likely to reach their goals when they have other people keeping them motivated, so why not have that source of motivation come from your own home? 

When families work together, they are able to keep each other on task.  If, for example, one of your goals is to use kind words when solving problems, visual reminders around the house and verbal reminders from other family members will help make that goal manageable.

Image via Flickr/mike baird
Image via Flickr/mike baird

Family bonding:

Life is busy. Even when kids are little, lots of activities and frequent play dates can make it difficult to fit in family time. Working together toward a common goal automatically builds family time into your weekly schedule.

My kids love to ride bikes while I run around the neighborhood. It’s an added bonus when my husband can join us. We all have fun together while getting some exercise, and we often stop at the park to reward ourselves. 

Whether it’s exercise, cooking more, or learning a new hobby, family goals can be a great way to increase family bonding.  

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Image via Flickr/Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Image via Flickr/Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Better overall health:

If you choose family goals that improve healthy choices (and, yes, kindness counts), you will find that your family experiences better overall health. I often encourage families to set three goals to begin the New Year: one for emotional health, one for physical health, and one that puts healthy foods on your plate.

It’s important to start small when setting goals with kids.  Something as simple as “Give one compliment a day” inspires kids to rely on positive thinking.  “Try one new vegetable each week” is a great way to introduce healthy foods without overwhelming them. 

Celebrate as each small goal is met and reconvene to set new ones. When we set ourselves up for success, we are more likely to keep moving forward. That’s a life skill that is worth teaching this year.  

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What are your family goals for the upcoming year? 

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3 Reasons to Set Family Goals in the New Year

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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1 comment

  1. I couldn’t agree more w/ this


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