It's that time again for making New Year's Resolutions. The most common resolutions are about dieting, health and financial planning. But don't forget that parenting resolutions are every bit as important as dieting and money management. Setting the right resolution for your children can make big differences on their behavior, academics, social development, character or even family health.
Resolving to be a better parent can seem like an overwhelming task. While research does find that most people break their resolutions, there are a few simple proven steps that increase your chances for success in 2009. Here is the better approach to take:
1.Identify your "one thing." Start identifying your hot-button parenting issue of last year. Like your child's quick temper; constantly misplacing homework, fear of speaking in front of a group, or test anxiety. Prioritize so you choose ones that are manageable so you have a real chance of being accomplished. Use "Think big, but start small" as your motto.
2.Create a specific plan for change. You are ten times more likely to succeed in your resolution if you develop a specific plan for change and then write it down. In fact, one in five goals fail because the person failed to have a game plan. Also identify any potential challenges so you make the plan fail proof.
3.Announce your resolution. Tell your plan to your family and why it is important. Studies find that women who announce their plans are more successful in keeping resolutions by ten percent. So find a mom to be an ongoing email buddy, ask your sister to be your daily "nag" partner or appoint a kid as your personal goal reminder.
4.Track your progress. Research finds the more feedback you get, the more likely you will succeed. So monitor your efforts on a calendar, blackberry or in a journal. It will also help you note any challenges that come up along the way. You should expect a few setbacks, stalls and stumbles, which are normal.
5.Just do it! Surveys find the top reason people don't achieve their resolutions are due to procrastinating. So don't put off implementing your plan. Starting your plan within 24 hours increases your likelihood of success. Learning new behaviors take a minimum of 21 days to even begin to see change. So hang in there!
Michele Borba's Parenting Resolutions for 2009: