We hope that your New Year is off to a wonderful start. We look forward to our new or continued work together this year!
~ Michele Cole and the Moving Forward Team

January is, oftentimes, the month of diligently tending to your New Years Resolutions. Studies show that the most common resolutions among American adults revolve around weight loss, money, and spending more time with family. They are also some of the resolutions that are most often broken by the time February or March rolls around. Much of the time, these ambitious resolutions are made by young parents trying to keep up with their kids, attempting to find that balance between success in the workplace and success in the home. Regardless of the reason, the expectations are often lofty; they are unrealistic and set us up to fail. The hype over these resolutions, and then the subsequent self-deprecation, is unhealthy, not only for us, but for our children. Think about it. When we beat ourselves up for a perceived “wrong doing”, what do our kids hear, and what do they think?

Mommy is upset that she isn’t losing weight. I thought Mommy was perfect, but I guess you have to be skinny to be perfect.

Dad said he was going to spend more time at home but he’s not. Does he not love me enough?

Mom and Dad said they’re not saving enough money. Do we have to move? Am I costing them too much?

When you think about it, unrealistic, unfounded resolutions can send our kids messages that the status quo is not good enough, even though it very well might be. Don’t get me wrong; New Year’s Resolutions are not bad in and of themselves. However, when we use them to try to “fix” something, and then beat ourselves up when we are not able to sustain these changes, it can have very negative implications for everyone involved.
Perhaps it would be more beneficial to go into the New Year with family goals that do not focus on what is wrong, but rather what could be made better. For example, a family could commit to exploring a healthier lifestyle. This could include trying new foods, experimenting with different sports, going on family hikes and bike rides, and talking to our children about self-confidence and body acceptable. Alternatively, a family could discuss what “family time” means, and establish a set time when everyone does something together. This could also be an opportunity to discuss flexibility and what it means if a designated “family night” has to be rescheduled or cancelled. The theme here is to include our children in our resolutions. Set realistic goals that you can achieve, and that they will understand. Let’s try to make this the year that you set sustainable goals from which the entire family can benefit!