No resolutions for me this year.

As the bell struck 12 a.m. December 31, the world did not suddenly change like so many had hoped. I found myself tired, a little too satisfied from the evening’s snacks and not feeling incredibly motivated for resolutions.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a resolute person is “admirably purposeful, determined and unwavering.”  I suspect failure to maintain the character trait of “unwavering” is what most often results in the failure of admirable resolutions.

I gave up resolutions a long time ago. I wavered, usually within the first seven days, and then I just quit, marking it down as another loss on the New Year’s game of ridiculous antics.  

But, my family and I do have a discussion and planning session at the beginning of every year, identifying what we would like to achieve in the next 12 months. Some examples: Use less paper products, continue to make good grades, take at least five classes in college, potty train the baby, play with Legos® more than video games, no fighting at the table and so on.  

We’re clear, however, not to call our endeavors “resolutions” because we understand old habits are hard to break and take time. We need wiggle room, and so at the six month mark, we come back together to assess our progress. Good or bad, we can check off or realign. It’s simple, really.  

Why is it important to set both personal and family goals?

Goals give purpose and promote progress instead of stagnation. I believe we should be striving to be better in some way every day.

Goals don’t have to be difficult. Make them attainable.  The completion of easy goals might not bring the same satisfaction of more difficult goals, but start small.

We set family goals as a way of reminding ourselves that family is a partnership. Each child gets to present a goal they would like the family to achieve. Spending more time together, playing more games together and taking more camping trips are always high on the list, but occasionally someone will suggest “be nicer to each other” or “be positive instead of negative.”  

Letting everyone have a voice in family improvement gives each person ownership of the goals and also the chance to celebrate when we succeed.  

I challenge you as we begin 2021 to make your own personal and family goals. As you accomplish your endeavors, you will notice a change in your demeanor. You will be a happier and more focused person with a family that can endure trials with a smile because everyone is in it together!  

Let’s make 2021 the year we wanted 2020 to be and have a clear vision of a brighter future for everyone!

• Stephanie Bell is Executive Director of Pierce County Family Connection.