Make 2011 the Year of the Family: New Year's Resolution Style
by Stephanie Partridge
As 2011 rolls into view and the holidays are in full swing, our thoughts turn to making those ever popular new year's resolutions. Traditionally, the theme and intent of these resolutions have been focused more on the individual. They may resolve to work out more, lose weight, manage their time better or any number of other things that need "tightening up" in their life.
This year, however, take a step outside the box. Let's not just make resolutions for ourselves, let's engage our entire family and make resolutions that will help us build a stronger, healthier family. Get the kids in on the venture and work together as a team. One great benefit here is that when we all have one common goal, we can support each other. This will help you stick to our goals.
Family new year's resolutions will also allow you to make decisions as a family, and as each person contributes you may be exposed to ideas you hadn't considered. What's more, just the act of making the resolutions, creating a plan of action for sticking to them and helping each other stick to them helps to bond you as a family.
In our home, the kids and I are already making our family new year's resolutions. We are still in the "draft stages" of our resolutions, but these are a few that we are currently fleshing out. Maybe they will inspire you.
We already exercise – sort of. I walk a lot and I've become what's know around here as one of "those people" who climb the escalators to emerge from the subway as opposed to passively riding. By just doing that, though, I have more stamina, don't get out of breath as quickly and am actually losing weight! But the kids and I have decided that we are going to start exercising as a family.
We have a gym membership and have had it for nearly a year now. For a while we were going every morning at 5 am to work out. Then I broke my ankle (I just love icy sidewalks) and was out of commission for several months. My ankle is healed now and I am back in action so we are all going to get back to the gym and get back in shape!
We eat healthy now, clean, with lots of fresh vegetables, lean meats, fish twice a week and whole grains. But my daughter and I have decided that we are going to start planning out meals for the month. We figure that this will help us continue to eat healthy with less chance of backsliding, but it will also help us budget and shop more efficiently. We are also going to shop more regularly at the roadside produce stand. It is cheaper and the produce is fresher, plus we are supporting our local farmers.
We are all avid readers, but lately life seems to have gotten in the way and we don't pick up books as often as we should. So, each of us has identified genres that interest us and we are researching authors in those areas. We will then hit the bookstores and thrift shops and find books that we like.
This is a huge one in our house! We are all writers. My daughter loves to write amazing stories and essays while my son writes beautiful poetry and songs. We have all decided that while we will write things that we have to write (for school, my work, etc.) we will also write things that we want to write. We all agree that taking time to write things we want to write is important because it helps us keep the joy of writing and it does not become a chore.
We have discussed having a writing prompt each week and maybe doing one story, one poem and one article. I am not sure if we will take that route, but all three of us are pretty enthusiastic about it. It sounds like fun and it will be a great way to improve our skills and stretch our creative muscle.
Volunteer as a Family
This is something that is new to our list. The kids recently volunteered at a shelter with our church youth group and they enjoyed it. We have talked a lot about helping others and the kids and I have always had a passion for helping those who are less fortunate. So we are talking about things that we can do. We'll be exploring this one. I'll let you know how it goes.
Take More Time to do Things Together
We do a lot as a family, but we want to make a resolution to set aside certain times each day to spend together just talking and being together. We are also talking about making a resolution that we will have two family activities a month (at least). This may mean riding into DC to go eat and hang out at the National Mall or go to festivals, or it may mean going to a movie, a museum, or any number of things.
Have Family Bible Study and prayer
This is the biggie. We want to have a regularly family Bible study. We are currently discussing whether to have it once or twice a week or every night. We each read our own Bibles and we each have a prayer life, but we want to have that as a family as well. I picked up a book on devotionals that will take us through the Bible in a year. It looks great and we can't wait to get into it. We also want to start praying together, but that will probably be in the mornings. The kids have each asked me individually to start having family prayer so we are going to start doing that.
We are all very excited and we would love to take you along for the ride! I will update you here on our progress as well. This is going to be fun!
The three of us will be keeping a blog of our adventures making and keeping our family New Year's Resolutions. You can see it at http://itsjustusthree.wordpress.com. We are each going to hold each other accountable, now you can too!
Stephanie Partridge is a freelance writer and photographer as well as a FOIA analyst for a federal agency in Washington, D.C. She is a single mom to Jeffery, 19; Micah Elizabeth, 17 and Benjamin, 15. She is also the author of the ebook, “Diet is a Dirty Word.”
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