The New Year is ripe for new beginnings, and as the saying goes, change starts at home. Families planning goals together is a great way to kick start healthy household habits. Working as a team creates accountability and provides encouragement as everyone pursues their own resolutions and shared family fitness goals.
Here are a few healthy choices families can make together in the New Year. And, to check out some bonus tips, be sure to view and download our infographic at the bottom of this post.
1. Hold Regular Family Meetings
Start by scheduling regular family meetings that focus on fitness and household goals. Whether they are weekly or monthly, consistent meetings offer valuable time to plan fun activities and solve any issues to keep everyone on track. Meetings have also shown to improve kids’ sense of right and wrong, as well as their drive to make healthier choices. By communicating regularly, families also tend to make more effective decisions together. Start by addressing one or two problems that affect the whole family at each meeting. Rotate through who leads the proceedings and take notes to make everyone feel validated and a part of the team.
2. Create a Family Fitness Program
Parents lead by example, and parents who move regularly inspire kids to do the same. Making annual family resolutions to exercise together is a wonderful way to bond over fitness as a new tradition. Plus, positive fitness routines offer a range of benefits for everyone, including reducing heart disease, relieving stress, and improving academic and work performance. Try making goals like doing jumping jacks, push-ups or other moves during television commercials. Your family could also try something more original like making an exercise video, playing a game of dodgeball, or throwing a homegrown dance party after dinner. As a baseline, consider trying to move as a family 20 to 30 minutes a day, as recommended.
3. Eat Dinner Together
The constant demands of the modern world can make sharing a meal together, particularly without any distractions, seem like a difficult task. However, planning family dinners together is a great way to improve your family’s connection and communication. Flowing conversations help small children practice their verbal and social skills. Kids who share regular meals with their folks are less likely to be depressed and use drugs, and they are more likely to experience success in school and have healthier eating habits.
When planning family meals together, make sure to fairly divide tasks like cooking, serving and cleaning across the whole family evenly. Dinner should be a safe place—there should be no taboo topics and everyone should come prepared to both share and actively listen. Enjoying a meal together is about bonding. Confrontation or potentially embarrassing topics may be best saved for other occasions.
Choosing which family resolutions to pursue for the year is just the start. Getting in shape, improving communication, and eating together don’t have to be burdens—they can be rewarding.
It’s important to start these traditions early to create lifelong habits for both children and adults. Encourage the whole family to develop a plan for making healthy choices together, making sure all opinions are respected and heard. Call a family meeting, and brainstorm activities you’d like to do together. Then, use a calendar or chart to monitor your progress. Sticking with your goals will improve your family’s mental and physical health, and help support your relationships with each other.
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Did you know your primary care practitioner (PCP) can help support your New Year’s resolutions? Whether you’re pursing a personal goal or working together with family and friends, talking with your PCP will provide additional encouragement and an ally. Contact us to schedule an appointment and get the new year started out right.