Leftovers are gone, weight-gain is on, favorite presents used and worn. No more holiday cookies to bake, just New Year’s Resolutions to make—and later not forsake!

Here is a brief, fun and innovative list of Resolutions that not only involves the whole family but can also change how you relate to each other.

1. Take more responsibility for yourself in the family. Every family member can offer a New Year’s Resolution for another person in the family!

For example, a daughter can make the resolution for her older brother that he won’t eat up all her favorite snacks. Or, a wife can say her husband must resolve to put his laundry in the basket and not on the closet floor. If the person accepts the resolution, then that person gets to make a resolution for the family member who made it. Perhaps the husband, for instance, says he’ll be more careful about his laundry if his wife promises to watch a favorite television show with him.

2. Build in family-rewards for keeping the resolutions. Decide on a family reward if everyone cooperates. Some families agree to go on a vacation. Others decide to get a pet, redo a room or buy a family item such as a television, DVD player or computer. Determine how many stars or points each person must have by a specific time in order for the whole family to redeem the reward. Keep a chart of stars or points for each member’s successes.

3. Build cooperation by mutually helping other family members with their resolutions. Helping each other with these promises promotes teamwork, openness and caring amongst all family members. If you offer help, you must agree to receive help from someone in return.

4. Maintain the Golden Rule through kindness and not criticism. Pay attention to the tone and words you use with other family members. Be sure you are speaking and acting toward others as you would like others to speak and act toward you.

5. Apologize so you can sustain an atmosphere of mutual respect. When families value and support saying “I’m sorry,” they teach everyone that apologies are more valued than being right. We learn from mistakes not from being defensive or insensitive.

6. Plan specific ways to spend quality time with each family member so that you can teach your family that there is enough room in everyone’s heart to love all. Sibling squabbles often stem from lack of quality time with each parent or caregiver. Spouses and partners can also feel disconnected from each other when work and family needs override their intimate time. Think about what each family member needs from you—and what you need from each family member. Some families do something as simple as go for walks together or watch a favorite television show and talk about it. Other families pair up with someone whom they haven’t spent very much time with. For example, if Dad is always going to soccer games, make sure Mom goes to some too. Spouses and partners should make a resolution to establish private time together at least once a week.

7. Promise to focus on solutions instead of who-did-or-said-what. When a problem arises, recruit the necessary family members to get solution-oriented instead of wasting time reviewing whose version is right.

8. Prioritize so that you can be in charge of your time at home. Observe how you are spending your time, especially at work. Are you chatting, e-mailing, surfing the Internet too much? Use your time wisely so that you don’t have to bring your work home.

9. Plan a community-giving activity. Choose a charity or charitable event where everyone in the family participates. You might go through the cabinets and pack up all your unwanted food items to give to the local food bank, for example. Integrating community responsibility builds empathy and social responsibility.

10. Include laughter, learning and silly times. Do something fun, silly and out of the ordinary or something where another member can feel the family support when he or she tries something new. Teach Dad how to snow ski. Bring little sister to the bowling alley. Rent funny movies or go to the children’s museum and local weekend events. Get everyone to paint each other’s faces!

Happy New Year!

Author's Bio: 

Dr.LeslieBeth Wish, EdD, MSS, MA Nationally noted Psychologist and Social Worker, Lic. as Clinical Social Worker, SW 7132 FL; 3941 MA; 2850 MD. www.lovevictory.com Be a part of the Strong Women and Love Research Project. I am a psychologist and social worker, nationally recognized for my work with women's relationship and career issues and my work with soldiers and their families. I invite you to participate in my research by taking the survey, which you can find on my website, www.lovevictory.com. Click on the upper right Research Box to learn more. I will draw at random the names of three women who will win a free one-hour counseling phone session with me and a copy of the book when it is released.

You can also follow the love adventures of my cartoon character Almost Smart Cookie. You can access her adventures through my website. Just click on the link under Cookie’s face. My work as the Clinical Director as the New England Institute of Family Relations, the first Masters and Johnson-based sexual dysfunction clinic in New England, and my research-based book, Incest, Work and Women (with my name as LeslieBeth Berger), earned me national recognition and honor as a pioneer in sexual dysfunction and women's love and career issues. My book uncovered the connection between women's childhood abuse and their career problems.

That research sparked my next ground-breaking project on the relationship problems of today’s strong, capable women, age 20-40+. I am writing this next book, Strong Women and Love to help women get over their mistrust, fears and unhappy, unhealthy dating patterns and learn to date and love smart!
I am a regular feature contributor to major self-help sites such as helpstartshere.org, the award-winning consumer site for the National Association of Social Workers; w2wlink the premier web community for professional women, networkabundance, a multimedia community and selfgrowth, Yahoo and Google's number one self improvement site, where I am the family expert.

My expert advice is frequently quoted in many major newspapers, magazines and websites such as The Washington Post, USA Today, Women's Health, US Weekly, More, VivMag, Better Homes and Gardens, Woman’s Day ,For the Bride. I am a speaker for non-profit, corporate and university organizations. I offer sound, research-based relationship advice that makes sense -- specializing in issues such as smart dating, women's relationship advice, career coaching, families, post-traumatic stress, sexual dysfunction, and leadership training.

My Education University of Massachusetts, Doctorate in Adult Developmental Psychology; Bryn Mawr College, Master in Clinical Social Service; Georgetown University Medical School: The Family Center, three years-post graduate training in marriage and family with the internationally esteemed Dr. Murray Bowen; Ohio University, Masters in English; Carnegie-Mellon University, Bachelor in History and English.

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