New Year's Resolutions for Kids and Families

December 29,2010
Erin Dower( )

We all know the trouble with New Year's resolutions. They seem like these great goals that will magically be attainable because we just switched to a new calendar, and then -- poof! -- the reality of our hectic lives sets in and our motivation goes out the window a few days, weeks, or (if you're really good) months into the new year.

So how about a new approach this year? Make your hubby and kids your resolution buddies and set New Year's resolutions for your family to work on together. Working on resolutions solo puts all the pressure on you, but you barely have time to do anything for you, so maybe packaging your goal in a more fun and family-friendly way will help you stick with it in 2011. (At least that's what I'm hoping!)

Here are some tips on the two biggies in the world of resolutions, diet and exercise:

  • "Exercise" rather than Exercise. What's the difference? Well, Exercise (with a big, scary capital "E" and no quote marks) is hardcore -- the $60/month-gym-membership, buy-a-new-workout-wardrobe-thinking-it-will-motivate-you, must-workout-five-days-a-week-and-be-a-size-4 type of resolution that just clashes with your busy-mom lifestyle and costs you money and high hopes. "Exercise," on the other hand, is a committment to do any kind of fun physical activity that's good for you and your kids at least a few days a week. For example, "I Spy" walks in your neighborhood for 20-30 minutes after dinner, snowman building races (see who can build a snowperson as tall as them the fastest!), and indoor dance parties to a mix of your family's favorite fast and slow songs. Sure beats the dreaded treadmill!
  • "Dieting" -- again, a more digestable form of eating well than hardcore Dieting. Rather than opting for the latest eat-this-tiny-meal-from-a-cardboard-box fad diet (which will leave you craving a giant cookie after lunch), make your own healthy eating plan for your family, with a goal as simple as eating more vegetables (even if you have to sneak them in) and less carbs and fat (this Meal Planner tool can help). Cooking with kids and packing fun lunches together (for kids and parents) can encourage your family to try and stick with new, healthier foods and will probably make you more conscious of what you're feeding them, too. Even if your kids are skinny-minnie, seeing their parents consistently eat pretty healthy meals rather than constantly see-saw dieting will positively shape their relationship with food down the road.

See -- you're already more optimistic, huh? Stay positive, be realistic, have fun, and you can do it!

Happy New Year!