by Anita DiGregory
2018: Renewing, Reflecting, Resolving
It’s January, the start of a brand new year, full of exciting possibilities and new adventures. The beginning of 2018 promises a clean slate, a fresh start. Logically, it seems like the perfect time to reflect, make some changes, and set some new goals.
As it turns out, making New Year’s resolutions is not a new idea. In fact, people have been doing it for more than 4,000 years. The ancient Babylonians and the Romans made promises to their gods to amend their ways in the new year. The knights of the Middle Ages took vows to recommit themselves to their Code of Chivalry. Throughout history, people of different faiths used this time to reflect, repent, and make resolutions.
Most recently a New Year’s resolution statistics research study conducted by Statistic Brain Research Institute (January 1, 2017) found that approximately 41 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. Although this time of the year lends itself to personal reflection, it is also the perfect time for family members to work together to discuss and set important resolutions.
According to child psychotherapist and parenting educator Katie Hurley, LCSW, “Teaching kids to establish and work toward goals has many benefits.” These include establishing a sense of responsibility; mastering time management; and gaining self-confidence, resilience, and perseverance. The author of The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World, Hurley advises parents to assist their children in setting and attaining goals, rather than choosing goals for them or pushing them too hard.
Although Statistic Brain found that only 9.2 percent of those studied felt they had successfully achieved their resolution, working together as a family actually may help with accountability and overall success. It also has the added benefits of facilitating family time and increasing family communication. However, it is important for parents to model positive behavior by demonstrating their own commitment to working hard to reach their set goals.
While Hurley recommends setting realistic goals, she also suggests the resolutions should be just out of reach. She adds that by working to reach these goals, children are enabled, “to push themselves to meet a new challenge.” She also suggests helping them set a specific goal, rather than a general one. Additional research shows that setting resolutions tied to personal core values makes us more likely to achieve our goals. Therefore, our resolutions should reflect these key personal values. For example, a person who believes faith is vital will work harder to attain the resolution of spending more time in daily prayer. Additionally, choosing one specific resolution is more doable than trying to focus on several different goals.
Once a specific resolution is set, it should then be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps. This process of setting these attainable checkpoints along the way increases self-confidence and assists in the overall successful achievement of the goal. Once these smaller steps are established, a plan can be constructed and written down. Parents and children alike will benefit from planning and writing out the goal and the smaller checkpoints along the way. Journaling can be a helpful tool along this journey. Developing a concrete plan increases the likelihood of success. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, “people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t.”
Families who work together on personal and group resolutions will undoubtedly see many benefits. According to Hurley, “When families make goal-setting a family effort, they learn to support each other. This fosters a family environment based on cooperation instead of one grounded in competition. It also reinforces the fact that although all people are individuals with their own unique interests, we can all work together and provide support and help when needed.”
Whatever your resolution, try to: reflect on and encourage each other in times of disappointment, celebrate successes together, spend less time on social media and technology and more time together, don’t compare your life to those represented in other’s Facebook or Instagram posts, eat and pray together, smile more, hug tighter, say “I love you” more often because this year will be gone in the blink of an eye, and remember that this parenting thing is crazy hard so don’t be too hard on yourself. Do what you can and put it in God’s hands. You got this, Momma! Have a wonderful and blessed 2018.