Ah, we have embarked on the first full week of January. Any mom knows that the first Monday, the first day back to your regular schedule, is the real start to our year. It’s time to roll out those personal and family resolutions.
When our family sat down this New Year’s Day to look at last year and plan for this one, my kids realized that along with the goals we nailed, some of the plans we’d made had fallen along the way. Both of them stared at me with a look on their face that said, “So, what now?” They needed guidance on how to process the successes and failures.
Last year, I discussed something I feel strongly about, setting goals rather than making resolutions with your kids, in Family Resolutions: 4 Questions to Guide Your Goals. This year, having shifted my perspective through the Let Them See You articles, I thought about their expressions during our conversation from the other side. Do my kids see me setting, working towards, and achieving goals? Do they see how I manage when I don’t achieve them?
I started brainstorming how to model pursuing goals to my children and came up with 3 important parts to the process.
Lay It All Out There … Sort of
I’m sure you don’t need ideas for your goals! Whether fully fleshed out bullet pointed resolutions or vague desires for our future, we all have goals. Like I mentioned in Questions to Guide Your Goals, they should be specific, tangible, and measurable. Make sure one or two of them deal with areas of your life where the kids can participate. I might want to lose 20 lbs. but I don’t really want to introduce my tween daughter to the idea of watching weight on a scale every day. I’d like for my husband and me to stay on a budget but my children won’t be logging into my bank statements every day. Instead, I could set goals of cutting out junk food or planning meals for less than a certain amount every week. My kids can eat with me and come to the grocery store without delving into the nitty-gritty of my life.
Show and Tell
Make your work visible to everyone. Use a chart, calendar, or marble jar in a family area to mark your progress. Refer to your goal as you face a decision, like saying no to the cake at a birthday party because you set a goal to not eat sugar. Show them when you plan ahead. Perhaps you take some cocoa covered almonds to the party since you know you won’t be able to have the cake. And there’s always the nuclear option, ask your kids to keep you accountable. They love to “remind” parents !
Talk to Yourself
Allow your kids to tune into your self-talk when you succeed, and maybe more importantly, when you fail, whether day by day or over the course of a month. They will benefit from hearing you say, “Bummer, I didn’t do it. That’s okay. I’ll try again tomorrow. How could I help myself do better next time?”
Overall, any time you open a window into your own challenges, your children can learn from what they see. The beautiful part of goals, versus resolutions, is that they are a work in progress. You can always start fresh the next day!
Have a lovely 2015!