The start of the year is full of many things: hope, new beginnings, and goals for the future. While many times we create goals based on what we want for ourselves, as parents it’s important that we stop and think about one important thing: the message that our goals are sending to our children.
Goal setting is at the very foundation of wellness—without something to work toward, it’s impossible to know whether you’re making progress or which direction to focus your energy. But as parents, we can’t forget that just about every decision we make about our own health and wellness is going to be modeled in some way by our children.
Children watch us for cues and behaviors in all aspects of life, including health and wellness. How we speak about and act regarding nutrition, physical activity, and stress management informs how our children will view themselves and their own wellbeing later on in life. So if we are regularly setting goals based on weight loss—focusing our attention on the size of our bodies rather than what our bodies can do—that is where our children will focus their attention, too. And they will learn that the size of their body is the most important thing about them.
So what can we focus on instead?
Consider goals that have nothing to do with the way you look—a promotion at work, a certain number of books to read in a year, five minutes of meditation daily. If you must make goals pertaining to your body, try to frame them in a way that puts the focus on function, not numbers like clothing size or weight.
Consider making a goal to lift a certain amount of weight, finish your first 5k, or take a walk three evenings per week. Even better if you can find a way to make at least one of your goals family oriented to get everyone moving together—a family walk every Sunday to wind down from the weekend, perhaps?
Whatever you choose, as you set and evaluate your goals for the upcoming year, make sure to take a moment and consider what kind of message you want to send to your children about priorities, self care, and wellbeing.
Happy New Year from the Peace at Home Parenting team!
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