If you’re like many parents, you’ve made some resolutions recently. I think that’s a great idea.
But have you any made any resolutions related to your family?
I’m a big fan of goals.
Michael Hyatt outlines a number of compelling reasons you should actually write down your resolutions. The most persuasive for me is that you are 42% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down.
I was reminded of that this past week. When cleaning out a my office, I came across a list of written goals from 4 years ago. There were over a dozen. I was both surprised and grateful to see I achieved 80% of them, and am on track to complete them all within the next two years (some were BIG goals).
Interestingly enough, one of my goals was marriage related: to try to develop a few new shared interests with my wife now that our kids were getting older. That year, we bought snow shoes and started snow shoeing together. I don’t like snow-shoeing, but I like her, and we have lots of great memories.
A year later, she bought a road bike, and now we ride together. She kind of likes it, and I love cycling.
I’m so glad we wrote that goal down.
You will have some resolutions that are specific and personal to you—which is great. But there are some goals that every parent could benefit from accomplishing.
In fact, here are 5 goals that not only can every parent make, but that, with even a tiny bit of effort, every parent can keep.
You don’t have to make all 5, but my guess is if you pick even 2, you’ll have a much better year.
1 – Start each day with God
I think one of the reasons parents end up skipping time with God is we make it into a big seminary-type thing where we have to have thirty undistracted minutes and six versions of the Bible handy to make it pay.
Some mornings starting with God might mean praying, “Today, God, I’m going to need some strength” as you jump out of bed to see if your emerging toddler has once again escaped his crib.
See what you did there?
You started the day with God.
Even if it wasn’t a full on You Version Bible study.
Most days, you’ll even be able to catch 5 minutes, if you try.
2 – Date your spouse
If you’re married, it’s so important to prioritize your marriage even over your parenting.
A healthy marriage produces a healthier home.
Dating your spouse can of course be a full on night out, but the sitters aren’t always free and you don’t always have the funds for a crazy night out.
Guess what we’ve done over the years? Put the kids to bed and then sat down for our dinner after…with real grown up conversation and candles and all that. It cost zero extra dollars (except for the candles maybe), and it beat watching TV.
3 – Make the conversation more than transactional
A surprising amount of household conversation is what I call ‘transactional’, as in . . .
“Did you make your bed?”
“When are you home from school?”
“Hey, don’t paint your brother’s hair green again!”
“Is your homework done?”
“Didn’t you already watch your hour of TV?”
Each day, try to get past the who/what/where/when of family life and have a real conversation. Even if all you get is grunts from your teenager, he’ll know you tried.
4 – Eat more meals together
Whenever I try to get together with Dave, one of my good friends, and I ask him about when’s a good time, he always says “I eat three times a day. Pick one.”
Dave’s so right.
We all eat three time a day, but many families have drifted away from eating together.
Reclaim some meal times together. You’ll not only enjoy your meals more, you’ll enjoy each other.
5 – Get some sleep
So this might not work if you have three kids under three, but try to get more sleep. Even thirty minutes more each night. Or an hour.
The real reason we don’t sleep enough is not our kids—it’s us.
And personally, I know nothing good happens when I’m tired. I get cranky. I make mistakes. I drag myself through the day. I get irritated more easily. . .All recipes for domestic disaster.
Go to bed those few minutes early whenever you can.
When you wake up rested, you won’t just feel better–your kids and spouse will thank you. You’re at your most kind when you’re the most rested.