Setting New Years Goals with Your Family

Alas, another year has been written in the books and so we say farewell to 2021. The year has been a rollercoaster ride with all that the pandemic has brought, with lockdowns, isolation and quarantine, ever-changing restrictions, and the fight for mental health. Learning to live day to day, and deal with change as it rapidly came, many Canadians have learned to appreciate the value of the time they could enjoy with their families, the simple act of a hug, and doing the things that make them happy. Children too have had a hard year, and have been left to socialize with friends online, receive schooling lessons online, and put their sports and activities on hold. Rather than becoming complacent and discouraged, it’s important to find other ways to fill their buckets. And so, as we set new hopes and dreams for the coming year, it’s also important to set new goals to motivate us and look forward to the future. This will help us find joy at the moment, feel motivated when we see and feel small improvements or success, and fight feelings of depression and disappointment as things continue to change around us.

Goals are more easily reached when we have someone else working alongside us and someone to hold us accountable. Family goals are a great way to build closer relationships and encourage each other to become the best version of ourselves. Some great goals and ideas to set for the family include how to spend more quality time together, build relationships, make new memories, and stay healthy.

Schedule Quality Time

It’s easy to feel the pressures and demands of the world on us with our jobs, house cleaning, and the non-stop alerts and messages from our handheld devices, and so when we are feeling exhausted or burnt out, it’s easy to put our feet up and tell the family “we will do it another day”. If you are finding yourself in this scenario more often than not, one of the best ways to change it is to schedule “family time”. When things are written down it’s harder to change or cancel them. Have your children lead with ideas and inspiration that will have them excited. Simple things like “family night” with board games, a family hike, family skates or sledding, or a picnic in the park will bring your family closer with laughter and fun. But be sure to turn off all screens so that everyone in the family feels prioritized!

Build Relationships

If you are feeling distanced or that relationships have dwindled among family and friends, schedule time in the week to reach out. This could involve a phone call, a zoom call, or a
walk with a friend. Make a list of the important people in your life you would like to reconnect with and make the relationship a priority this year!

Alternate one-on-one time with children. This makes them feel special, encourages them to open up, and makes it easier for them to share their emotions and feelings. Keep the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable, such as lunch at their favourite restaurant, or grabbing an ice cream cone and sitting on a park bench. Plan this time at least once a month. Learn everyone’s love language. Some prefer quality time, others prefer hugs or gifts, or some just prefer an act of kindness or someone doing something nice for them. Everyone has their own way of feeling and showing love.

Make New Memories

Memories are one of life’s greatest gifts to us and are best when shared. New places and experiences make the strongest memories, so pick a new place to visit as a family, whether
near or further away. Do fun things together that involves laughter. Laughter is happiness. When we are happy our minds and body crave more of it, which in turn will create more opportunities and memories!

Staying Healthy

Physical and mental health are both important parts of self-care, and growing up with an active lifestyle and healthy choices will make it easier for children to continue these habits as they turn into adults. Have family members each write down a list of things that they enjoy doing that makes them feel good or happy, and have a goal of doing them throughout the week, with bigger activities once a week or month. If physical activity isn’t your thing, start slowly by adding in daily 20 minute walks around the neighbourhood, family swims on the weekend, or a dance party in the living room! Of course, when the weather warms up, hiking, biking, sports, and other outdoor activities offer an assortment of options and ways to change it up. Keep it fun so everyone stays motivated!

Families who accomplish goals together, grow together. Be sure that children have a voice in the goal planning process. An idea or goal that may seem irrelevant or unimportant to an adult may be life-changing to them.

Cheers to the start of a fresh new year!

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