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New Year, New Us: Family New Year's Resolutions that stick

Penny Alexander

29 December 2017

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4 minutes
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Planning for a New Year and setting a goal as a family can be a really powerful family bonding experience and a great learning opportunity. It’s so easy to make throwaway resolutions and not to stick to them, so I’ve got some inspiration and tips to help you keep a whole family on track.

Penny with her husband and two children outside a tent

6 steps to making family New Year's Resolutions that you can actually keep:

  1. Goals not resolutions

    When we talk about resolutions we often talk about things we shouldn’t do, whereas goals are about positives. Goals are powerful things and experiencing goal setting and achievement as a family is a fantastic life lesson.

  2. Team Work

    It’s much easier to track and achieve one goal as a family, rather than lots of individual resolutions. Why not make this year the one where you work together to achieve one goal? Life coach Becky Goddard Hill explains the benefits:

    “Having a clear joint goal gives you a direction to head in together, this togetherness will be even more valuable than the end result and the trust and admiration you build for each other along the way will have long term positive impact.” Becky Goddard Hill, Clear and Inspired Life Coaching

    Two kids kayaking down a river

  3. Get invested

    First of all think about what would really interest all the family as a goal, or what would make the biggest difference to your lives. You could discuss it as a family or have a chat without the kids to think how best to seed the idea to the kids.

    Kids won’t buy thinly veiled attempts to reduce their screen time, so try to fully involve them in goal setting and pick goals you all genuinely care about attempting. Think about ways to sell achieving a goal to the more reluctant members of the family - what’s in it for them?

    Have a brainstorm and share each members ideas, you could start by writing down on a big piece of paper together what you want to change, what you want more or less of or what do enjoy. A family goal could encompass individual family member’s resolutions or goals too. So doing the park run every week might help with fitness or health goals. Reducing your waste or clutter can help with saving money and stress. Getting outdoors could help with quality time or sibling arguments. Learning a new skill together might help boost confidence and improve communication.

    Penny with her two kids getting ready to abseil

  4. Keep it simple

    You can always add to your goal if you smash it early, but it’s demoralising to not achieve your first milestone.

    SMART targets are simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. These are just examples, and could be varied depending on the age and stage of a family:

    • Our family pledges to cook 1 meal as a team, from scratch, every week in January, 2 in February and 3 in March.
    • Our family goal is to attend 3/4 park runs each month and complete a 5k charity race in June.
    • Our goal is to plan two family days out where no one uses their smartphone, except to take photos, in January.
    • Our goal is to reduce 1/3 of the amount of rubbish in our bin each week in January, half in Feb, 2/3 in March.
    • Our goal is to spend 1 screen free hour all together each evening playing games and reading 3 days a week this year.
    • Our goal is to spend time outside together every day this year.
    • Our goal is to read x number of books each, or spend 30 mins reading every day this year.
    • Our goal is to achieve 12 micro adventures this year.

      A family standing on rocks and pointing out to sea
  5. Write it down

    Write down your goal and some milestones. These could be weekly tick offs towards a monthly target, or space to stick stickers each time you make progress towards a goal. Maybe you need a special calendar or family diary to record what you did towards the goal each day or week? Maybe you need a reminder to set a new goal after a month, or 3 months.

    Display your target and method of tracking it where you can all see it. Why not all sign it too, to add to the commitment.

    A dad and two kids cycling through the forest

  6. Reward yourself

    Rewards really help to keep morale and motivation high! So plan how you will reward yourselves. It’s also worth talking about what you will do if it goes wrong, so you are prepared for moments when it feels too tough to carry on.

    Perhaps a day out, a trip to the bookshop, an extra special family camping trip or day out?


Let us know what your family New Year's Resolutions will be this year, and good luck achieving them! 

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Penny Alexander

29 December 2017

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Penny Alexander is a multi-award winning travel blogger and writer, passionate about UK travel and loves to help families find their perfect escape. Penny is one of our much loved Trusted Explorers, which means all content has been written exclusively for dayoutwiththekids.co.uk in exchange for a contribution to their family piggy bank. All posts are first hand, honest and based on real experiences.

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