The New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start and to set intentions for the future. As parents, the desire to reset, to have a new beginning, is strong. We want to improve ourselves, so that we can we can improve our relationship with our kids and with our partners.
Traditionally, people make resolutions in the hopes that they’ll shed old habits and replace them with better ones. However, 80% of resolutions don’t come to fruition. Most people end up feeling disappointed in themselves for not reaching their (often unrealistic) goals.
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, try making New Year’s reflections.
Having a reflective practice allows for deep-level learning. When you share this practice with your partner, you can celebrate your wins together and explore the things you may want to do differently down the road. Reflecting allows you to think critically about yourself and your personal experience, which means that you’re able to learn from your real-life-lessons and make improved choices moving forwards.
Start your year with this simple 4-step New Year’s Guide, designed especially for your couple. You’ll feel uplifted and connected as your start 2019 - truly a gift for the whole family.
Before You Begin
Set aside an hour, once the kids are asleep, where you and your partner will be uninterrupted.
These exercises are designed for you to do together.
Set the mood by dimming the lights and playing music that makes you feel inspired, but doesn’t pull your focus.
No TV, phones, or screens during this time, please.
Have your 4-Step New Year’s Guide printed and a writing tool ready to go.
Step 1: Reflect on 2018
Take turns asking each other the following:
What do you feel proud of this year? Be specific.
For example: (these are not mine - just ideas!)
I got my kids to school on time, most days.
I made healthy meals for the whole family.
I went to bed by 10pm, most nights.
I had monthly date nights with my love.
I left the dishes, so that I could play with my kids.
Now it’s your turn! Write down 20 things in your New Year’s Guide.
Step 2: “And…?”
When you have completed Step 1 and have written it all down, ask each other:
I got my kids to school on time, most days...AND I loved our conversations en route.
I started having smoothies once a week...AND it made my body feel energized.
You can add brand new things to your list, or add on to things that are already there.
Keep exploring until you squeeze out another page (or more!) of amazing-ness. This is where the best stuff comes out, so don’t skip this step!
Having the support of another person is especially powerful during this step. Give each other encouragement and enthusiasm!
Step 3: One Small Step
Now that you feel confident and can see how much you have accomplished this year, I hope you feel AMAZING!
From this place of confidence and positivity, I want you to think of one small change that can make a big difference in your life.
I want to have more date nights with my partner.
This is too big, so instead you could write down the first baby step towards this goal:
I will find a babysitter that my child(ren) feel safe and comfortable with.
I will text my friends/FB community to ask if they can recommend any babysitters.
That was two options, so hopefully you get the idea….small steps, towards a larger goal!
Write it down in your guide to make it real.
Step 4: Gratefulness Love Note
Spend three minutes crafting gratefulness love notes for each other. Find 1-3 thoughtful sentences to express your feelings. Be specific and kind with your words. This small note will have a huge impact.
(There is a theme here...small actions equal big impact!)
Once completed, read them aloud to each other. Neurological research shows that expressing appreciation out loud increases the positive effects of any gratefulness practice.
Take in the words and know that you are deeply loved.
As a reminder of your beautiful start to 2019, put the notes on your fridge, or take a snapshot and make them your phone wallpaper. You can even collect these notes and reflect on them every year as part of your New Year’s ritual.
Note: Steps 1 & 2 are inspired by an exercise learned from Denise Duffield-Thomas. They’ve been changed into my own language, but I like to give credit, where credit is due!
Replacing your New Year’s resolutions with a reflective and gratefulness practice will have lasting, meaningful effects on you and your partner. You’ll have a deeper understanding of yourself and as a result, make improved choices as you move forwards together. Your gratefulness for each other will be heightened, which benefits your relationship with each other as well as with your kids. The 4-Step New Year’s Guide is a meaningful and impactful way to start anew. Make it an annual tradition - one that you can do from the comfort of home!
I hope that making space for this New Year’s practice will leave you feeling uplifted, valued, and loved.
Don’t forget to toast with your favourite beverage, whether it’s kombucha, hot chocolate, or champagne!
With love and best wishes for the New Year,
P.S. - Grab your 4-Step New Year’s Guide and start a meaningful annual tradition for your couple. This beautiful practice can be done with your kids, too!