Guest Author - Beverly Patchell
Setting New Year's resolutions is a time-honored tradition for many families. It is a perfect time to help the adolescent in your family learn about goal-setting and how to measure success. It will also help you to have a "partner" in successful accomplishment of your own resolutions. Studies show that most people's resolutions last about six weeks, at the most. By then the holidays have faded and we are back in the grind of school and work and everyday life. What seemed so achievable during our time off or with family, now seems like a pipe dream or wishful thinking. If you have a buddy reminder system, however, the resolution can stay on track for months and maybe even the whole year.
A few days before January 1 is the best time to start talking about resolutions. Ask them to be your partner to help you meet the goals you set and by the way, you will do the same for them. Being accountable to someone else and having to report progress helps emphasize the importance of the goals and their meaning to you. Pick no more than two goals to keep track of and make them achievable. Losing weight can be one, and in fact, it is the number one resolution of everyone. A better approach is to measure changes in eating or exercise. Your goal might be to eat at least two fresh vegetables and fruits each day. You can probably remember that and it is quantifiable; you have to shop for it and you can put it in your calendar. Another approach to exercise is to send your buddy a mild exercise to do everyday for a week. So once a week you find something, a stretch or suggestion for a number of steps to count or to take stairs so many times that week. The next week they pick the exercise for you both to do.
While diet and exercise are the most popular resolutions, you can leave these alone and make it something less strenuous, such as make a resolution to bring beauty into your life. You can find a picture or video, write a short sentence or paragraph on why you think it is beautiful and send it to your buddy, post it on your mirror, make it your screensaver, etc. Your adolescent buddy can have a totally different resolution and they can creatively think of ways to share what they are doing with it to keep you informed.
As you can see, this will keep you in touch throughout the year and keep the resolution in the forefront of your mind. So start thinking and find an adolescent to partner with. You will both be better for it by the end of then new year!