Parenting Matters: Plan ahead for a great New Year

  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

I know the next holiday is not New Year’s. But you do need to plan ahead to make your New Year all you want it to be.

It is easy to make resolutions for the New Year but it is even easier to forget them or simply ignore them. Some people will simply not make resolutions for the New Year, and that is equally sad.

This is a chance to plan ahead — a time to think about what you would really like to change about your life and make every effort to change. It is a time to look over what you are doing every day and think if that is what you really want to be doing.

Now is the time to give some serious thoughts about what you can accomplish and what you cannot. Resolutions take effort and you need to think about them for a period of time to make sure the ones you intend to make are doable.

It is easy to resolve to lose weight, but it is not easy to do it. Set your goal up so you can achieve it. Maybe you say to yourself that you will make your goal to cut your weight by one pound each week. That is achievable. It is also a way to make your resolution realistic.

If your resolution is to eat healthier that is a tough one to measure. If you decide instead to have at least one vegetable with dinner each night at least five times each week, that is once again more achievable.

Maybe you want to make a resolution about getting your yard in order. Again, be specific. You can resolve to work for one hour each day on the weekend to make the yard better. You can resolve to trim the trees you have been talking about trimming for multiple years.

Another way would be to resolve to work with your child for one hour each day to get the yard cleaned up and to teach your child how to complete the work that needs to be done. This is getting two tasks done at once.

Parenting goals

Resolving to be a better parent will not work. You once again have no way to measure that. Be specific. What one thing do you need to do that would improve your parenting skills. You could resolve not to get angry about homework or your child not doing his chores.

You could resolve to tell your child or your children that you love them more frequently (be specific about the frequency). You could resolve to read a book about parenting and assess how you are doing.

If you resolve to have a romantic evening with your partner, that is great. Before you make a resolution like that, think how you can accomplish it. Will a dinner by candle light make it as a romantic dinner? Do you have to go to a restaurant for it to be a romantic evening? Will you have a romantic evening if you bring your partner a gift or even just a card from you telling your partner something special? These kinds of specifics makes resolutions workable.

So why make New Year’s Resolutions? We all need to examine our lives and assess the things that are not working as well as they should be. When you focus on the quality of your life from time to time you can decide how you can make things better.

You can also decide which things are working as well as you can expect so they don’t need to be made better. So think ahead on making this a great New Year.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. To reach current First Teacher Executive Director Nicole Brewer, email nicole@firstteacher.org or call 360-681-2250.

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