Try This Twist on New Year’s Resolutions
Time: 20 minutes
Materials: pen and paper
Focus: promote family communication
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions which, let’s face it, most people don’t keep or even bother with anymore, try having the family make predictions for each other.
Of course, you can just have a conversation after a few glasses of Grandma’s eggnog. But we’ve found the most fun way to develop this tradition is to let each member of the family write down their predictions for everyone else and then keep them secret till next Christmas or New Year’s Eve. (The eggnog is still an option in that case.)
As an outside observer, you might have noticed interests or behaviors that your children may not have even noticed about themselves yet. Writing a prediction about how that interest or behavior may develop over the year may result in a wonderful surprise to your kids about what you’re paying attention to in their lives.
Seeing what other people write about you is also a marvelous way to find out what kind of energy you’ve been putting out into the world.
Maybe you have a wish for your children or yourself. It doesn’t need to be a New Year’s resolution, just something you’d like to see happen. Putting it on paper can be a wonderful mindfulness exercise and a practice in intentional parenting.
The fun part is actually reading everyone’s predictions next year. Who was shockingly accurate? What predictions were wildly wrong? What kinds of things were people thinking about you this time last year?
Putting your attention toward good things you want to see happen for the family rather than things you need to “fix” about yourself (as resolutions tend to go) can be a surprisingly pleasing and satisfying way to wrap up the year and look forward to a bright future ahead.
How to Start
- Give each member of the family a slip of paper. You can choose to have them write their names on the paper or let the predictions be anonymous.
- Have each person write out a few sentences about what they predict will happen for each member of the family over the coming year. Help young ones who can’t write yet put their predictions together. Even if they can’t write them all down, five- and six-year-olds are certainly capable of thinking about the future.
- Fold up the papers and keep them in a special jar or baggie. Keeping that container with your holiday decorations is an easy way to remember to pull them out next year and have a good laugh.
- Repeat the tradition again next year. For fun, try saving the old papers and mark what came true and what was a total bust.
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Somer is the Chief Content Officer at Raising Families living in Southern California with her husband and five-year-old son. She spent 10 years in the architecture field as a designer and medical planner and now applies her love of integrative thinking and big-picture planning to her family and career. Read full bio >>