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Tackling New Year’s resolutions family style


by Shannon Serpette

I make resolutions before I’ve ripped off the December page in my calendar every single year. I don’t just make one or two hastily thought out resolutions – each one is a subhead with its own mini resolutions attached.

Sometimes I’ve had success, and other times, I didn’t meet a single goal. I’ve been like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football – always landing flat on my keister and wondering where I went wrong.

But there was one common theme all my resolutions shared – they were all about me. They were all my goals, my hopes for the future, my vision of what my life should be like. This year, I’m changing the way I create my resolutions and I’m looking for ways to drag my entire family into my madness.

I’m hoping that having shared family goals will increase the excitement and the accountability it takes to be successful with my resolutions. It’ll be easier to lose those stubborn extra 15 pounds I’ve been trying to take off if I have my children giving me accusing glances every time my mouth starts to turn into a black hole when it’s near a bag of chips.

Having my children involved will make me less likely to make my resolution all about weight. While my husband and I could both stand to lose a few pounds, my kids don’t have that problem, at least not yet. So instead, our resolution should be about being healthier, not necessarily skinnier, which is really what my resolution should have been all along.

With obesity still a real problem in today’s world, this resolution will benefit my kids too. It will hopefully set them on a healthier path full of good habits they’ll carry into adulthood.

If you’re on the fence about creating family resolutions, there’s some great reasons you may want to consider adopting this idea.

  • You’ll have built-in cheerleaders who care about seeing you succeed. Not to take anything away from online support groups or once-a-week weight loss meetings, but having someone you see for hours every single day offers much more accountability than someone you see occasionally.
  • You want to look like a hero, not a zero, to your kids. Although I somehow still muster up the fortitude to discipline my kids, I love those days where they think I’m like a rock star for doing something amazing. I can’t think of anything more motivating than seeing their smiles of approval.
  • You get to hear what’s important to them. Constant communication is necessary in a family, and it’s crucial that children feel they are being heard and respected. This will give them a much-needed win in that department. If you improve the lines of communication now while your children are younger, it will carry over to their difficult teenage years when they may desperately need to be able to talk to you about some weighty subjects.
  • You have a real chance to improve their lives with your resolutions. One of your goals could be life altering for them. It could lead them to their future career, or it could simply make their childhood better. I’d settle for either one.
  • You’ll be teaching them about teamwork and discipline. We live in an instant-gratification world. If we want a greasy burger, we can have it in minutes without even having to exit our car. We can reach anyone in any part of the world in seconds. Many of our alleged conversations with people don’t involve us actually speaking – they’re often done online and that can lead to an isolated existence. I’d rather have my kids feel like they are part of a larger unit, a cog in the wheel.

Before we ring in 2017, I’m going to sit my family down and see what they think is worthy for our resolutions list. It might not be the same as mine – in fact, theirs might not even be on my radar. But here are some of the resolutions I’ll be suggesting, as well as ways my family might be able to make them stick.

  • Try something new: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less willing to risk the ridicule that may accompany any new endeavor. When you’re just learning something, you’re going to look foolish at times. Who says that’s a bad thing? In the past few years, I’ve tried embracing change and learning new things, and it has been a blast so far.
  • Be healthier: This one is going to encompass getting more activity and eating better. On any given day, at least one of us is feeling lazy, tired or unmotivated. That can lead to ordering pizza instead of cooking and watching television instead of exercising. I’m going to look for ways for exercise to sound less intimidating for my family. Exercise doesn’t have to be a 3-mile run in 100-degree weather. It could be a friendly, fun Frisbee session.
  • Have family dinner at least once a week: This one is my secret shame. If we do this once or twice a month, we’re feeling pretty smug in my household. I’ve read many articles where experts say eating dinner at the table is so important, and I believe them. But making time is hard, and when your daughter has turned the dining room table into her official crafting station, it makes it even harder. At least all the glitter on the table will make it feel like a fancy occasion.
  • Be more social: My kids love to see their friends outside of school, and I don’t always make that a priority. I usually have their friends over once or twice a month, but there’s room for improvement. When it comes to carving out time for my own friends, my track record is even worse. Although I’ll throw an occasional party or trivia night, my adult time has become increasingly scarce. I don’t want my kids to think friends stop being important as you get older, and I don’t want to deprive myself of the inside jokes and hearty laughs only my friends can give me.


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Shannon Serpette

Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She spends her days writing, hanging out with her kids and husband, and squeezing in her favorite hobby, metal detecting, whenever she can. Serpette can be reached at

About the author

Shannon Serpette

Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She spends her days writing, hanging out with her kids and husband, and squeezing in her favorite hobby, metal detecting, whenever she can. Serpette can be reached at

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