Thinking Outside the New Year’s Resolution Box

By now, most new year celebrations have ended (except for the upcoming Lunar New Year festivities!), and you’ve probably gotten back into the routine of your everyday life. However, it’s never too late to take a look at the year ahead and get intentional about how you want it to go. Did you set New Year’s Resolutions, or are you the type who cringes at the idea? If you’re in the latter group, we’d love to help by offering a fresh perspective. Or if you’re in the former category, our ideas could be fun to incorporate alongside your established resolutions. 

One more recent trend that’s an alternative to setting resolutions is to write out a list of all that you’re excited for in the upcoming year, to get yourself into a positive frame of mind for the year ahead. For example, is this the year that you plan to become debt-free? Or maybe you’re celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary, or finally taking that long-anticipated vacation. Write it all out, and keep the list in a visible place to keep those exciting events in mind as you move further into the year. This can also be a great family activity, by having all your family members make their own lists, then take some time to share them with each other – family mealtime would be the perfect opportunity! You could also come up with a family list, for things that you’re looking forward to as a family. 

If the list idea is still too much for your taste, here’s an even simpler approach: pick one word to focus on for 2020. One word to represent what you want for yourself this year, what you want this year to feel like, or be like. Here are some ideas for inspiration: energy, positivity, flow, restoration, love. Again, once you’ve written it down, put it somewhere that you’ll see frequently, to remind yourself. And just like the list idea, you can do this individually or as a family! Help your kids pick their own words, and also pick one that works for the family as a whole, then share them around the dinner table, and discuss what the words mean to you, and how you intend to embody them throughout the year. You could also do this as a monthly exercise if you want to establish an ongoing activity for your family.  

Lastly, here’s an idea that’s more active, and one that will carry on throughout the year. As a family, set an intention to do something special together once a month, and create a plan for which activities you’ll do each month. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Something simple, such as learning and playing a new board game together.
  • Or more complicated: go on a day trip to a nearby town that you haven’t been to before, or maybe one that you all love.
  • See a play together, like a local community theatre production or a traveling stage show that’s in town.
  • Have a movie marathon at home! Vote on which movies to include, or have every family member pick a favorite. 
  • For warmer weather months, plan a hike, or a short camping trip. 

Although January is the time that we tend to discuss it the most, when it comes to being intentional about how we spend our time and how we connect as a family, any time is the “right” time! We hope these resolution alternatives inspire you and yours to talk about the year ahead and make 2020 your best year yet.