We are halfway through January and (with all the spikes in COVID cases) and the holiday hullabaloo behind us, perhaps you have forgotten about New Year’s Resolutions. It can be easy to get lost in the fast-paced world of life and then feel like you are already behind.
Not to worry. I have compiled some of my top 15 favorite resolutions I have done (and some I continue to do) to help inspire you and your family to live a more animated life. Many of these are simple, measurable goals that won’t leave you feeling guilty at the end of the month (or next year).
1. Read a new book each month: This is a great one to do alone or with your spouse or friend. It is also a measurable goal and easy to do. Find new books that interest you and read them. I like to read with my hubby before bed. This is a great way to be intimate with each out and have a date night for free. Or, I have also enjoyed book clubs. Clubs are a great way to meet new friends and get out of the house.
2. Do something creative each month: This is a fun one. I have found using a subscription service to be helpful. Monthly getting a box of something new and creative to do brings a little more joy to the mailbox and the house. I then use what was created to decorate my house. Cratejoy has a ton of subscriptions for all ages.
3. Discover one new place each month: We all get into the habit of eating at the same places, going to the same places, and doing the same things. This is great for those of us who like routine. But, life is not routine (as much as I wish kit were sometimes). It is good for us to shake things up. So go out and explore your neighborhood or the world for that matter. Try something new and make some new memories.
4. Sleep better: This is one I try to do all the time. Sleep helps us function better during the day, have better relationships, think better, and so much more. Sleep is also what a lot of kids and teenagers struggle with. For some great steps on how to help with this, check out this blog on 10 Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep.
5. Exercise more: I know, this sounds like every other resolution you have heard. And you would be right. But, let’s face it, we all work in front of screens, socialize in front of screens, get entertained in front of screens. Our bodies were not designed to just sit. Our bodies thrive on movement. We get endorphins, are happier, and look nicer in that swimsuit (summer is just around the corner) or jeans. But this doesn’t have to be a do-or-die goal. Make it simple. Just plan to incorporate a walk after work with dogs, or a run in the morning with your son, or just get on YouTube and enjoy a quick 25–60-minute workout. Make it a social thing and do it with a friend.
6. Eat better: I love food. I also like a healthy family. Gut health affects brain health. Gut health effects are particularly strong for those with neuro and sensory needs. We have learned how to incorporate healthy (on a budget) and enjoy really good food. The more colorful our plate the yummier our food tastes. Many of our daily recipes we use for entertaining as well and hear only “oo’s” and “awes.” Need help getting started? Check out these simple recipes.
7. Do something new each month: Sometimes I feel like I get in a rut. The best way to get me out of a rut is to try something new. Sometimes this is a new experience altogether (new food, new museum, etc.), but it can be as low-key or extreme as you wish. I know someone who used this resolution to give him the guts to go sky diving and another who used it to travel the world. Just recently, I did this by helping replace our stove range. It can be simple and little or something you need to get done on a budget or something big and grand. Enjoy.
8. Monthly family night: Life gets busy fast. With sports teams, music lessons, study sessions, games, and friends, it can seem like your child is a roommate (who doesn’t help with the bills) the older they get. Take the family back. We like a daily mealtime together. But once a day over dinner (sometimes breakfast) is not enough. We like a monthly family night when we play games, watch movies with popcorn, or roast marshmallows by the fire. This is especially great when hubby is on swing shifts or 14-hour day shifts. We can plan a time together and not feel like it is crammed into the schedule.
9. Self-care: This is a hard one for me. My older sister has been encouraging me to do this for years. As a mom, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Truth be told, I haven’t even had a haircut since 2019! It is just easier to ensure my family has what they need and want first. But self-care doesn’t have to be hard or cumbersome. Have a glass of wine with friends on a Friday night. I like working out with friends (making friends and getting healthier). I love going to farmer’s markets and enjoying the sites and smells. Sometimes there is nothing better than snuggling under a blanket and reading. The important thing is that you take the time to plan for it. Because if you do not plan for it, you never will get it.
10. Serve someone else: The season of giving is winding down. But it doesn’t have to end. No matter the season, serving someone else is so good for all involved. Sometimes we just need to get out of our heads and focusing on the negative. The best way to do this is to serve someone else. This might mean teaching Sunday School at your church or volunteering with the babies. Or, it might mean sitting with your elderly neighbor an hour a week and reading to them or learning about their incredible life! Fear has taken hold the last two years, our elders have survived wars, sickness, and so much more. Learn and grow from their strength. Or volunteer at the local elementary school teaching how to read or simply cutting out and printing worksheets for the overworked teacher.
11. 365 days of gratitude: This one is so important to me. It was a resolution I had years ago and practice I continue. Gratitude is so important because it changes our perspective and often calms us down (preventing us from doing something stupid). Being thankful in all circumstances is a great way to not only change your world but the whole world. If we all just found one thing daily to be grateful for, imagine the difference in attitudes we would have.
12. Monthly Date Night: I love date night! I covet date night! Having a date night is hard with a special needs kid. It is hard for military families who always move. It is hard for families with multiple kids who just have so much going on. Date night does not have to be a big deal. It is there to build and strengthen a relationship with someone you already love. Here are 12 great date night ideas we use and still keep in budget.
13. Service Project/Awareness monthly: There is so much pain in the world and so few people know about it, much less do anything about it. Take 12 months and learn about different issues (local and global). At the end of the year, pick one that you became passionate about and get involved. Serve. Do a campaign of awareness. Donate. Just do something about it. Be the change in the world.
14. Take a Class: I know, most adults hate school. That is because we were forced to go to school growing up learning about things we don’t like. Our kids currently hate it for the same reason. But learning doesn’t have to be torture. Take a class with your kids (or just yourself) and learn something new. Always want to learn a new language? Do it. Duolingo is a free way to start and see if you like it. Want to learn a new hobby? Take a class at Hobby Lobby or Lowes. Want to be able to make your car repairs? Take a class at the local community college. Be open to learning more things. Learning new things is fun and healthy – and can help prevent diseases like dementia.
15. Start letter writing: Screen fatigue is a real thing. It is happening more and more often in this post COVID world. Everything is on a screen. Zoom and Google Chat have taken over our lives. We like to take a step back, put out real paper and pen and compose a nice greeting or letter to a family member or friend. This is a great way to keep in touch over a distance and have a keepsake for the kids when they are older. Try just writing to one person. Or write to someone different monthly. It is so wonderful to see what comes back in the mail. Enjoy.
Whatever you pick for your resolution, I hope it helps bring joy and unity to your household. May you be covered in Peace, Love, and Joy this year. May the road rise to meet you and the wind be ever at your back.