Haims: A New Year’s resolution to be kept
A new year is upon us. As it will be, promises will be made, and promises will be broken.
It may come as no shock that most New Year’s resolutions fail. However, I find it a bit shocking that most resolutions fail before the end of January. Perhaps this year we can take a different approach to making resolutions.
Let’s forego the pervasive wish for committing to the gym, eating better, stopping smoking, limiting screen time, and bettering our financial situation. Looking back to previous New Year’s resolutions, how successfully have such wishes worked out?
Let’s espouse more realistic New Year’s resolutions for 2020 — ones that are achievable and not short-lived.
Consider making this year’s resolutions a collaboration amongst friends and family. Perhaps by being supported and held accountable by people we love and trust, people who share our desires, and are invested in the success of our resolutions, we can achieve an auspicious resolution for 2020 — making time for family and friends.
Not so long ago, there was a time when children often came home after school, played with their friends, and had supper with the family. Supper was a time to talk about the events of the day, share thoughts and personal perspectives, and spend quality time with each other.
I’m not talking about a utopian society or a TV show with June and Ward Cleaver. Rather, I’m sharing about a time not so long ago when I was a child and traditional shared activities like family meals were valued — maybe even expected and demanded.
Nowadays, such family time does not happen too often. I don’t think it’s for a lack of trying though. I think “life” is just happening all around us and too often we get caught up in the minutiae. With both parents working, kids playing sports and being shuttled to and fro, and after-school commitments, the time for a sit-down family dinner frequently has fallen by the wayside.
Like so many of my contemporaries here in the valley, we strive to eat dinner together one night a week. I’m embarrassed by this and I imagine my father is rolling over in his grave upset that he didn’t teach me better. However, between my daughter’s dance practice after school, and weekend games, my son’s hockey practices and weekend games in different parts of the state, my work, and my wife’s work … family time has become a rare and valued occasion.
Nevertheless, the one day we dine together has benefits that transcend financial means and vanity wishes. When we are able to dine together, we bond as a family, banter back and forth, and have an opportunity to invoke two essential components of parenting: structure and warmth. It’s not about quantity. It’s about quality.
If we all could make a resolution this year to work on our family time, perhaps we could make profound differences in the well-being of our children, our relationships, and ourselves. Taking time to learn about each other’s thoughts, happiness, and concerns is essential to establishing an understanding and appreciation for each family member. Ultimately, this supports each family member and makes each feel valued.
As the holidays often allow for time off work, many families make time to spend with friends. The opportunity to share stories, listen, laugh, and even tease one another enables us to reconnect, share values/ideas, and solve problems. Further, friendships can help us grow, and teach us about forgiveness and different perspectives we had not considered. Most importantly, solid friendships can lift us up when we are lonely and sad.
What can you commit to and focus on this new year that betters your mental health and sense of well-being? What’s important to you and your loved ones? What New Year’s resolution can you make that strengthens ties and builds better relationships with family and friends?
The gym, finances, and all the other desires for the new year may just come to fruition if you start by nurturing your relationships with family and friends.
Talk to your family and friends about making an achievable plan to share time with each other. As a group sharing a common goal, you may just find you can succeed in fulfilling this New Year’s resolution.
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