Authored by Chris Bereshnyi, Crisis Counselor and Carol Hendrycks, Communications Manager
For adults, making a resolution for your self should focus on self-discipline and is critical in making change, focused and deliberate. For some people it inspires hope for a better year; for others, it may be a dreaded expectation, something they feel that they have to do. For a family, though, it can be a fun activity, something that brings them closer, and improves their individual lives. Something to keep in mind when deciding on a resolution, which also applies to therapy, is to set goals that are realistic and measurable. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t challenge yourself and don’t want to set yourself up for failure. A resolution can be as simple as having family members tell each other “I love you” every morning, or something more complex, such as setting aside a time every week (or more than once a week) for a family activity. Having everyone take turns picking the activity or theme of the activity is a good way to involve all the family members and keep them invested in the resolution. Likely challenges that may arise when making resolutions for the whole family to work on together is getting everyone to agree to the same resolution, or just general apathy about making them at all. This where keeping the resolution(s) simple will provide the greatest chance for success. Even if the goals aren’t met entirely, some change or improvement is better than nothing. Some other ideas for families and youth resolutions are: Spend more time around the dinner table, get kids to activities on time, have more patience, saying kinder words with a consequence of losing a digital device for the rest of the day, only let youth have age appropriate apps, teaching a youth to drive, no electronics at the dinner table or at bedtime, watch less television, remember to be fun and laugh more with your kids, playing together as a family, add more joy and less stress to daily chores, replace a negative thought with the positive thought, take care of yourself (parent) so you are a better parent to your kids.
If you did make a resolution and you fall off the plan retool the resolution so you can be successful but don’t beat yourself up when something new you may be trying for the first time doesn’t work. Give yourself room to win or fail and create a productive dialog with your family about resolutions. Be persistent. If you fall off get right back up and begin again. Make an effort, find a motivation to continue. Go public so there’s outside accountability to stay on task. Create a means for self- inspection by having swear jar, put stickers on mirrors and keep the resolution visible in front of you. Remember, you have made the resolution, no one else. If you are trying to mentor someone else or be an example to your kids then the pressure is on you to follow through or to explain options or why it didn’t work for you. Making resolutions can be a great teaching tool if you approach it mindfully and with fun perspective. Good luck in 2016 with your year of resolutions!
For more parenting tips and for anyone needing counseling with youth please contact Salt Lake County Youth Services for services, programs and classes that can youth and their families. Call 385-468-4500 for an appointment.