There is no stronger unit than family.
With a foundation built on love, families have a unique way of lifting one another up. That’s why when it comes to forming good habits, family members can see tremendous results when they work together.
Whether it’s meeting individual goals or simply spending more quality time together, families can offer a unique support system to create positive and long-lasting habits.
Of course, things like this do not happen overnight. They start with small steps that over time form a habit. While the New Year has become associated with resolutions and starting from scratch, there’s never a bad time to incorporate new behaviors for the better.
Self-improvement does not need to be a solitary quest. Families should work together to incorporate new habits that better the entire family as well as each individual member. Here are five tips to help get started.
1. Put Down the Phone
The average American adult spends 11 hours per day looking at a screen of some kind, while kids spend about 7 hours per day. Families should dedicate time each week for activities without a screen. Play a board game, go bowling, build the Millennium Falcon out of Legos, or drive to see the World’s Largest Lava Lamp. Let imagination replace the screen and find activities that everyone will enjoy to help make lasting memories.
2. Eat Dinner Together as Much as Possible
Forty-six percent of families said in a recent survey by The Six O’Clock Scramble that eating dinner together can be hard. That makes sense. Timmy has Boy Scouts, Sarah has dance, Dad wants to go to CrossFit, and Mom just wants to read a book. It is easy to grab something out of the freezer (or the Taco Bell drive-thru), but these habits can have adverse long-term effects.
Eating meals together is proven to build better family relationships, help children do better in school, and improve overall eating habits. Instead of scheduling dinner around activities, schedule the activities around dinner.
3. Do Something Physical
Little kids spend a lot of time in a car seat or in front of the television. That can set an early tone for a sedentary lifestyle that can have negative effects later on. Exercising together helps families bond, improve communication and teach good habits.
That does not mean the whole family needs a trip to the gym together. Exercise can be done anywhere.
- Find a trail to hike together
- Play tag in the backyard
- Train for a 5K at the local high school track
- Go camping, or
- Try a new physical activity together, like canoeing or an obstacle course.
Parents should also involve their kids in their exercise. Ever done a pushup with a Kindergartener on your back? It’s not easy.
4. Set Individual Goals
So far our list has focused on things to do as a family unit. Individual family members should also set goals for themselves and voice these goals to other family members for support. Mom wants to start a small business? Ask her where she needs help, motivate her to take the first steps, and celebrate her successes along the way.
Kids should set goals, too, for things that are important to them. Creating goals that are achievable shows the value of dedication and focus, along with a sense of accomplishment. It may be something like studying extra in a difficult subject or shooting three-pointers like Steph Curry. Let each family member pick a goal and do a team check-in on progress.
5. Try Something New Together
Do you know how to kayak? Can you make a pizza from scratch? Families should make a point to try new things together. Let each family member pick something they’ve never done before and make a family activity out of it. Take lessons in a foreign language, learn to play an instrument, or even shoot a short movie and post it to YouTube.
Change is never easy. For many families, routines are based on what makes the most sense in the moment, but they don’t always stop to think about the larger picture. Families that create new habits together, along with taking time to support each other’s individual goals, can lean on one another to make meaningful change that helps everyone live a better life. Take the time to try some of these this new year.