May the New Year be filled with wellness, joyfulness, inspiration, and opportunity! The new year offers adults an opportunity for new beginnings in much the same way that September does for children returning to a new school year.
It is interesting just how many people would like to see some change in their family’s lives for the New Year, yet at the same time, are unwilling to make the effort to develop a plan for change. Change can be uncomfortable, and perhaps that is why best intentions get derailed very early in the New Year.
New Year’s Resolutions would be far more successful if expressed as ‘intentions’. Intentions can only be realized if an individual has a clear idea of where they want to be headed, or what the change would be in terms of new behaviour patterns or routines.
The following are some helpful strategies for initiating change within your family routines for improved expectations:
1) Begin with Gratitude. Together as a family, create a list of the areas in your lives that you are grateful for. You might begin with listing the names of your immediate and extended family, your health, your work, your family pet, and the food on your table for just a few ideas to get started with. Such a list can often put a lot of things into perspective.
2) Continue with ‘a Pause’ to reflect. With your children, make a list of some of the things that went well this past year, and a second list of things you would like to see handled differently.
3) Select one item from the family’s list where everyone would like to see improvement. Together, do some brainstorming on how to achieve this end goal. Perhaps begin with the outcome you wish to see and work backwards.
4) Post this outcome with the strategies for change at several locations around your home, and include the benefits that will come with everyone’s support of this plan for a fresh start to new routines.
5) Choose one or two more items to discuss along the above lines. As adults, and as your childrens’ role models, please remember that in order to see change in your family and with your children, you have to also become the change and lead by example.
6) Be open to your children’s suggestions of the things they would like to see changed as well. Understanding things from their perspective is very important, and makes the exercise all that more worthwhile, as it empowers your children to become more active participants within your family’s decisions, and therefore, more supportive in ensuring that desired outcomes are realized.
Researchers say that it takes a month to establish a new behaviour or habit into one’s routines. Therefore, at the end of each day, and each week, it is important to review the 2014 Intentions that you have collectively put into place, and to celebrate the individual efforts, and the resulting successes by all in moving forward. In this way, we are teaching and training our children that it is possible to create change, and to become a part of a solution rather than a part of the problem.
To realize change, everyone needs to be proactive in doing things differently, to achieve the desired results. Be sure to let go of past memories of how things were, and concentrate on how things are improving. Become excited about the ‘baby steps’ in moving forward to your desired outcome.
The year 2014 is indeed going to be a journey! Remember to smile, to laugh, and be generous in sharing your hugs with others in this New Year. Let go of the past, look to the future, create and find solutions to generate increased joy and happiness along the way.
Best Wishes for 2014, and may it be a wonderful year for you and for your family!
Linda Sweet M.S. Ed.
Founder and Director, Glenburnie School
Pre-School to Grade 8
Providing a progressive and innovative private school education