Do you set goals for yourself and your family each year only to abandon them after a short time? Don’t give up. You’ve got options. 

Here are two simple techniques for choosing and following through on those resolutions that will have the greatest impact on your family’s health and happiness. 

  1. Take advantage of a fresh start. You will be more likely to follow through with resolutions when you use a “temporal landmark” which is a personal or socially recognized fresh start. You can use a Monday, birthday, or any other personal temporal landmark, but New Year’s Day is one of the most powerful because so many people recognize it as an opportunity to start fresh. 
  • Use this special day to start a conversation with your family so that you can set goals and support each other. 
  • Instead of trying to shape your child’s resolution to something that fits your agenda, ask each child what they would like to change about themselves or make happen in the new year. 
  • Enjoy this opportunity to learn more about how they see themselves, what they value, and the nature of their dreams.
  1. Pick goals that emphasize effort and progress. Don’t miss this opportunity to model an important life skill for your child. When we set a goal that has a measurable outcome such as “go to the gym every day”, we set ourselves up for failure. When success is measured by effort and progress it helps build the habit of noticing and celebrating our successes and gives us permission to begin again. An effort and progress goal might be, “I will do my best to eat healthier and move my body more than last year” or “Work on having more conversations and less arguments this year with my family.”

A thought experiment for 2022If you believe that there is something to be learned from every experience, especially the challenging ones, you may be “pronoid”. Pronoia is a word for the opposite of paranoia. Pronoia is a state of mind that you can try as a way of changing the way you think about and experience difficulties. While a paranoid person believes that people/the universe are conspiring to harm them, a pronoid person believes that people/the universe are conspiring to give them the experiences they need to grow into the best version of themselves. It’s a fun thought experiment! Next time it seems like your child is doing everything they can to upset you, take a deep breath, smile, and thank them for going out of their way to teach you patience and perseverance.  

  • Was this useful?