Make your New Year’s resolution a family affair

Nearly half of all Americans “usually” make New Year’s resolutions, according to research conducted by the University of Scranton, but the vast majority fail to achieve their goals.

Why? Their resolutions may be too vague (to lose weight), too ambitious (to lose 50 pounds by spring break) or too scattershot (to lose weight, exercise more, spend less, finish that degree”.)

So what can you do this year to increase your odds of success? Why not involve the entire family in choosing one or two well-defined, healthy and achievable objectives?

“Sit down with your family and make a list of goals for the coming year,” suggests Dr. Aleah Gibson, a family physician with St. Elizabeth Physicians’ Aurora Primary Care office. “Hold a vote and make it fun!   I think the key to success is having support along the way.  Becoming more healthy does not always have to be about losing weight or exercising more, though those are great goals.  Make resolutions to spend more time together as a family.  Put away the electronics.  Play board games or read to each other.  Start a family YMCA membership and take karate classes.  Have fun!”

 

Here are some suggestions:

Start the day right. Too often busy schedules mean we dash out the door without breakfast and forego family dinners. Resolve to spend a little family time together and improve your family’s nutrition by eating a healthy breakfast together every morning. Include plenty of fruit and whole grains in the meal and try adding a little healthy protein – all natural peanut butter or a poached egg – to help stave off hunger pangs until lunch.

Get going. Resolve to take short after-dinner walks as a family or – if a daily commitment is too much – institute “weekend adventure” days for hiking, sledding, skating, etc.

Read aloud or just together. Americans tend to spend too much time parked on the couch in front of glowing screens. Why not plan a 30 minute family “read in”? Depending on the age of your children you can take turns reading aloud or simply spend time together in the same room reading independently in companionable silence.

Volunteer as a family. Volunteering is good for your community,  good for your health, and a great way to spend time together as a family.-Weekly chore time. Tired of constantly fussing at your kids to pick up their rooms? Lift a page from Mary Poppins and add a “spoonful of sugar.” Designate an hour a week to “family chore time.” Assign every one a task, turn on the music, have some fun and get the job done.

Involve the kids in healthy meal preparation.  They’ll learn about nutrition and healthy food choices and they’ll develop an important life skill.

“Celebrating the new year is about celebrating new beginnings,” says Gibson.  “Take the opportunity to bring focus back to family and create healthy living opportunities.”

You can also check out this infographic with tips for keeping your resolutions this year.