New Year's resolutions are hard to keep. In fact, something around 90% of people fail every year! But one way that you can increase your odds of victory is to get other people involved. Your kids, for example. While it can be tedious (not to mention lonely!) trying to meet your goals for fitness, health, and self-improvement alone, getting your family on board to participate alongside you -- and to cheerlead, too -- can make the difference between succeeding and giving up by the end of January.
Here are a few ideas for family-style resolutions for the coming year.
Fitness: Our YMCA membership has been good to us -- with child watch available during weekdays and Saturday mornings, both my husband and I can fit in a workout (at least during those oh-so-rare times of the year when no one in the family is sick). Keeping it simpler, you can add a daily stroll, come rain or shine or buckets of snow, to your routine. Even little ones can keep up with for a gentle trot around the block.
If your kids are older and running-inclined, a good family goal could also include race training. Maybe Mom or Dad would like to train for Crazylegs, and the rest of the family can work up to the two-mile walk event also featured on race day. Lots of other races in the area offer kids' runs or shorter "fun runs," too: Syttende Mai in Stoughton, for example, or the Edgerton Lions Club's Dash for Diabetes.
Cooking: Challenge yourself to learn a new kitchen skill this year, and your kids will find their culinary footing, too. Tackle learning to bake bread from scratch, or finally figure out that perfect pie crust. Or, if healthy eating is what you're looking for, enlist the kids' help to pick out recipes. Can they put together a meal with fruits and vegetables with every color in the rainbow? A New Year's challenge for a more nutritious diet doesn't have to (and really shouldn't) mean a sad condemnation to celery and raisins at every meal.
Gardening: It sounds a little strange to start thinking in January about what to plant come spring, but pawing through seed catalogs is a great snow-day activity. Let the kids plan out some space in a garden bed, or just in your windowsill planter, for their favorite veggies or herbs. Plus, they can learn about responsibility, by reminding you the plants need to be weeded and watered after you've forgotten. Again. (Or does that just happen at my house?)
Service: What do your kids care about? And what about you? You can sign up with your older teens to help out at a local food pantry, or enlist middle-grade kids along with the rest of the family for ecological restoration projects at the Arboretum.
Citizenship: Sit down with your kids to write that letter to your congressperson or senator that you've been meaning to write. What's on your mind? What's on theirs? It's easy to treat kids like politics are out of their realm of understanding, but that's not fair to them -- or to politics.
Start 'em early, and make them feel like they're part of something and that they have a voice that's worth hearing, before they're teenagers and it becomes cooler not to care about anything. And use it as your own opportunity to overcome your own cynicism, too. Change starts small. With one little resolution, for example.