Monday, December 20, 2010

New Year Resolution

It's that time again! The start of a new year is soon upon us. Out with the old. In with the new.

Some people will make new year's resolutions. Lose weight. Start exercising. Call my mother every week. Keep my desk clean.

Others refuse to make resolutions because they don't like the guilt when they don't stick with it.

I like to think of the new year as a time to think in terms of successes. I like to look back at the year and ask myself what I did well. Then when I think about the coming year, rather than making a resolution based on NO success, I can make a decision to build on past successes. I've already gotten the momentum going, so let's keep going.

If you are determined to make a new year's resolution, then here are a few suggestions:

1) Make a reasonable resolution. Don't promise yourself that you will do the impossible or improbable.
2) Try having an accountability partner that can help you monitor your progress.
3) Choose a goal that has good motivation behind it. Guilt is not a good motivator, by the way!
4) If your resolution is one that you have tried and failed before, take time to examine why you didn't succeed. If you can eliminate or deal with the obstacles you may have better success!

Happy new year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making Holiday Memories

One way to avoid holiday stress is to focus on what is important.

The presents, the tinsel, the baking and decorations are all nice. Sometimes we pay a heavy price for those things, in the form of stress and family conflict. If that is true, then it might be that you want to dial it back a bit (see this post from October 11).

When you or your family remembers holidays past, do you want the picture to be joy and contentment and love? Then keep that in the forefront of all that you do. As adults, we rarely remember the gifts we got, but we are sure to remember the family dynamics and the wonderful memories.

Here are a few ideas that are meaningful in our family. It may be different for yours, so create your own list.
  • Decorate the tree together as a family. String popcorn and make homemade ornaments.
  • Go out in the town you live in and look at Christmas lights.
  • Volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. Do it as a family.
  • Go Christmas caroling as a family or organize a caroling party with other families. Go caroling, and then come back to your house for hot chocolate.
  • Adopt a family who is less fortunate. Buy presents and provide their Christmas dinner. Include your children in this venture!
  • Do advent activities. Here is a very fun and easy one that will help even the smallest children understand the meaning of Christmas. It is called "The Advent Event" and I highly recommend it!
  • Take your family to musical events in your town, things such as Christmas pageants, musicals, Handel's Messiah, etc.
  • Consider starting a "Christmas Scrapbook" where you all write and enter pictures of your holiday activities. Each year, you can look at Christmases past and add to it.
The list of ideas is endless, really, but those kinds of things will make memories for your family for years to come. Toys break. Clothes wear out. Electronics become obsolete. But memories you will have forever!