8 New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Family

Family resolutions have brought us closer together as a blended family of 7 and models goal setting for our children.

Jennifer Mellon January 01, 2018

The new year is a time for reflection, new beginnings, a fresh start, and lots of resolutions. My husband and I take time to reflect on all we want for us as a couple, our family, and business each December leading up to the new year. We set individual resolutions, ones we hold each other accountable to and ones we share with our children. Family resolutions have brought us closer together as a blended family of 7 and models goal setting for our children. Introducing this practice as a family is an awesome way to start 2018.  Here are some ideas for resolutions to get you started!

Give back.
1. Give back.

We implemented Days of Service with our team at Trustify when we founded the company. We found it an easy way to bond with our staff and give back to the local community where our company resides.

We have started incorporating charity activities with which our children and our staff’s children can participate. There are so many local charities that are in need of extra hands this time of year. Find a charity you can support every month or maybe a few times a year as an individual or as a family. There are “fun runs” in which every member of your family can participate for local charities (even those who don’t run!), food pantries that have opportunities for families to organize and stock shelves, as well as many other opportunities. Do some research, ask around, and think about ways your family can work together to do good in your local community.

You can make a resolution to give to a certain number of charities this year with your time, talent, or treasure - or plan actual days with your family ahead throughout the year.

Cut back on screen time.
2. Cut back on screen time.

We made a decision when my husband and I got married to limit screen time for our new family. We decided to do away with cable and keep electronics at a minimum for us and our children in the home. Our kids quickly adjusted and spend most of their time doing crafts, making up plays and dances, completing Lego sets, riding bikes, baking, and playing outside.

Our new resolution for 2018, is to limit our screen time at home. No phones in the bedroom and limiting our hours online once we wrap up our work each day (yes, some days it may be many hours more than others!) is a good resolution every family can institute for themselves.

Manage each day.
3. Manage each day.

Building on limiting screen time, it is just as crucial to compartmentalize the use of your time as a family. If you block off a limited number of hours for screen time for your kids (and you!), learn to be present in the hours left available. My husband and I worked hard in 2017 to make a clear delineation of how each of our hours were spent. We have many parents on our team and we believe they have invested in our company because we have allowed them to invest in their families. We try to model this as best as we can as startup founders. We leave by 6:00 pm so we can be home for dinner with our kids, pick them up and bring them to their practices after school, and spend quality time talking with them and reading as a family before bed. We are fully unplugged during this time and present with our kids. Once they are in bed, we are usually back online getting work done, but we have found taking those two or three hours to spend time together fully present with each other has made us a closer family. Our kids have opened up to us more, look forward to books we will read, and help us plan our menus for the week. By compartmentalizing and planning each day, we are more focused on producing high quality work and also high quality time with our family. This practice is also critical to model for your kids, as they get older and more activities and obligations get put on their plate.

Be present.
4. Be present.

Giving back, reducing screen time, and managing your time all lead to being naturally more present. However, it is something you need to be deliberate about practicing. It is easy to fill those hours with more things to do, distractions, or time numbing yourself on your phone or social media. Being present in every aspect of your life is a practice. When you are at work or school, find ways to practice being more focused, productive, and creative. This may mean having a ritual for the start of your work or school day. It may means ensuring that all details of your home life are covered and accounted for so that you can be all in when at the office. It may also mean managing your days to include more time for yoga, prayer, meditation or reading to stay present. Practice making 2018 the year you stay more in the day, hour, or minute you are in and less in worrying about the next hour, day, week, or month to come. This is a wonderful topic to discuss with your children and working as a family to practice it openly.

Make more time for your spiritual life.
5. Make more time for your spiritual life.

My husband and I have both made our number one resolution in 2018 to get deeper in our relationship with God. We have made weekly worship at church and family prayer consistent, but we want to deeper our own personal prayer and Bible study practice in the coming year. I love that we have made this a joint resolution and will build time in our schedules for more one on one time with God in the Word and also by serving more in our church and finding a small group to attend. This takes practice. If you and your family already have a community of faith, maybe this is your year to deepen it. Maybe you are still searching and 2018 will be the year to take more steps in that journey. This year may be the year you decide on a spiritual home for your family to worship and make it a consistent practice to model for your children. Maybe you can take baby steps by reading your religious texts or praying more as a family. If your spiritual life is deep, maybe this year you can work with your children to help them get closer to God through daily devotionals, weekly worship, or teaching them how to pray.

Plan an adventure.
6. Plan an adventure.

My husband’s vows to me included that I would never be bored and that he would give me a lifetime of adventures. He has held to those vows and we are working to bring more adventures to our family life in 2018. This may mean a surprise Saturday visit to a local museum, a local hike, or a grand international vacation. Maybe it means exploring your own backyard or neighborhood or reading awesome books about all of the adventures you would like to have as a family. Whatever it is, find ways to be more adventurous in 2018 as a family!

Get healthy.
7. Get healthy.

Getting healthier in the new year is about as cliche as you can get, but it is a wonderful and important resolution for every family! We have always been an active, clean-eating family, but can do more. Wherever you are in the journey of health, find ways you can realistically make a healthier plan for you and your family in the new year. This does not necessarily mean dieting! It can mean taking a weekly bike ride as a family, eating a meat-free Monday once a month, or incorporating a fresh vegetable with every meal! Find what works for your family and model health habits for your kids. My husband and I love working out together, but it can be hard with a business and five kids. Instead, we plan to make our scheduled date nights a workout and dinner! That way we know we have a few nights a month where we hold that hour to staying fit!

Read more books.
9. Read more books.

There are numerous studies showing the importance of reading out loud to children from birth and the greater outcomes to their IQ, future health and how well they do academically by doing so! Modeling a love for reading is just as important. For years, researchers believed that the level of education a child reached was directly correlated to the education level of the parents. However, new research shows that
having books in the home is just as important as a parent’s education level. If your budget does not allow for many books to be bought, get a library card! Modeling a love for reading by reading a book every day will show your children how much fun it is to get into a good book. Have lots of books in the house for kids to choose from. Create a library in the home for everyone to use and set time aside every day for reading! Practice some of your earlier resolutions of managing time, being present, and limiting screen time, and fill those hours with books!

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Jennifer Mellon

Jennifer Mellon has worked in the child welfare field for more than a decade, serving in varying capacities as the Executive Director and Chief Development Officer of Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) and the Corporate Communications Program Manager for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Jennifer has served on the Board of the Campagna Center, which provides critical educational services to children and families in the DC Metro Area and on the Development Committee for the National Council for Adoption. She is the mom of three children and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

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