How To Make Those Family New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Practical goals to set for yourself and your family, plus expert tips to seeing them through.

By Sasha Gonzales        28 December 2023

A new year is something to look forward to because it holds so much hope and promise. It is also a good time to reflect on the year that has passed – to reminisce about all the things you were grateful for and go over what you could have done better, as well as decide on new goals you’d like to set for yourself. 

This time of the year is also perfect for making resolutions with your family. Perhaps there are a few things you’d like to accomplish together, such as getting fit or being more physically active, saving money for something specific (like a family holiday) or spending quality time with one another. By setting collective goals and working towards them together, you’ll have a better chance of seeing them through. 

We asked June Wee-Grant, a coach and the founder of Modern Life & Leadership Coaching, for her tips to making resolutions with your family that are realistic enough to keep. 

Photo: Judit Peter from Pexels

Q: Making New Year’s resolutions is something many of us do, but why is it important to first take stock of the year that’s passed?

June: Reflecting on the past year allows us to, first, review what we learnt so that we know what to continue doing, stop doing, and start doing, in order to keep moving forward towards our goals. 

Second, it allows us to reflect on how we’ve grown in the past year, celebrate our accomplishments, forgive our shortcomings, and make peace as we close the chapter before starting a new one. 

Assessing the previous year helps you to understand if what you want in the next 12 months is the same or different from the past 12 months. You have evolved, and perhaps your goals have, too.

Q: Can you share some tips to make resolutions easier to achieve and more realistic?

June: How about doing something else other than resolutions? I recommend setting just one intention, using one word or phrase. For example, one of my previous years’ intentions was “abundance”. It guided everything I did, since it was my intention to have a mindset of abundance and to live a year of abundance. In turn, I ended up making decisions based on that intention. I set that word as the wallpaper of my phone screen, to remind me of my intention for the year. 

One word or phrase is easier to accomplish than a list of resolutions that usually involve tasks that are hard to accomplish over the long term. 

Intentions are a little easier to keep than resolutions because of their broad nature. Plus, they are equally, if not more, powerful, because they’re single-minded and relatively easy to focus on if the intention is one that you feel strongly about and believe will bring a lot of value to you and your family. 

To make intentions or resolutions easier to keep, more achievable and realistic, do the following:

– Break each one down into small steps that allow you to work your way up. If it’s too big a goal, it could feel daunting, and you may feel like giving up before long because of that.

– Be realistic when setting it; be honest with yourself and set yourself up for success.

– Remember that achievability is tied to how badly you want the results. Any goal that you truly desire is achievable – as the saying goes, it’s mind over matter. But, if you do not fully believe in it or want it, you’ll never achieve it no matter how “easy” or “realistic” it is. 

Q: What are some good resolutions one can make to improve their life in 2024?

June: I suggest intentions such as: Abundance, Health, Ease, and Peace – for self and others, and in all aspects of life: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually. 

Photo: Miriam Alonso from Pexels

Q: Can you suggest some resolutions or intentions that people can make with their family?

June: I suggest setting an Intention first, and then breaking it down into different areas of life, followed by a list of actionable steps. 

For example, if you set a collective “Health” intention, you can break it down into components such as: 

– Personal health: Make daily exercise a part of our lifestyle, take vitamins, etc.

– Professional health: Stop checking emails after 6pm and on weekends, protect boundaries, hire a coach to work on professional goals, etc.

– Mental and emotional health: Find ways to de-stress, share our troubles with one another, avoid overthinking, etc. 

– Spiritual health: Meditate, practise mindfulness, express gratitude, etc.

– Physical health: Get regular health screenings, get sufficient quality sleep, eat more wholesome foods, etc.

– Intellectual health: Read more, take up a course or attend a workshop we can all participate in, discuss important issues with one another, etc.

Using the above examples, you have one word to guide you and your family and different areas of life where it can be applied, plus a whole list of actions you can take so it gives you lots of options to keep trying. It feels more limitless than a few resolutions that “lock” you in. Variety is the spice of life, and it keeps things fresh and fun. 

Q: How can we tell we’re on track to reach our goal or if we need to tweak some parts of the resolution?

June: Measure your progress by rating your level of satisfaction at the beginning of the year with regard to your intuition, and check in with yourself regularly, every month or quarter. If your level of satisfaction increases, reflect on what happened and why. Similarly, if it decreases, reflect and learn as well. Then iterate as necessary, and move into the next month or quarter. Repeat until the end of the year. 

Photo: Monstera Production from Pexels

Q: How do we deal with setbacks along the way?

June: Practise empathy, kindness and compassion towards yourself and your situation. Learn from what happened and focus on doing better as you move forward. Refrain from beating yourself up. It does not change the result. Instead, focus your energy on creating new momentum and continuing with what you set out to do. 

Accept that there are things beyond your control. Reframe the situation. If, for example, you set a savings goal but broke it because you had to dip into your savings when you had a financial emergency, express gratitude that you had savings to begin with to handle the emergency. And then get back on the horse and save more money, or why not create more money instead of only saving it? Try to look at things from as many different perspectives as possible. Open your mind, and be okay with setbacks. They are a natural part of life, and may be a redirection that could take you some place better. Stay positive. 

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Main photo: Pixabay from Pexels