New Year’s resolutions can be a step to a better you, but this year, take your goals even further by including your whole family. Together, families can brainstorm, set and keep resolutions in which all of their members can participate.

Setting goals together will put your family on the path to a happy, healthy and productive new year.

Serve as a Family

Through love be servants to one another. —Galatians 5:13

Volunteering together is a bonding experience for families, so find a cause to which your family can commit this year. There are service opportunities for families of every age. Consider your interests and abilities and how you could put those to use for the benefit of others. Suggestions include volunteering at an animal shelter, cleaning up trash in a park, holding a food drive or opening your home to foster children.

Cook More

The financial and health costs of eating out regularly really add up, so set a goal to cook more this year. Some made-from-scratch meals can feed your whole family for the cost of a single combo meal at the local burger joint. Additionally, homemade meals are usually lower in fat and sodium and include more healthy ingredients, such as fruit and vegetables.

If you’re having trouble fitting cooking into your busy schedule, consider time-saving strategies. Before heading out in the morning, toss a few quick ingredients in your slow cooker, so a hot meal is waiting when you return home. On a night when you have extra time, cook a double or triple batch of your dinner, and freeze the extras to pull out at a later date. Also, enlist your kids to help you in the kitchen.

Explore Your Community

There are interesting features in every community, but when you’re a local, it’s hard to think like a tourist. Commit to learning more about your area this year. Make a list of attractions within easy driving distance that you’d like to visit.

Tourism websites can provide ideas, and the Kids Love Travel Guides series of books can be a great resource for family-friendly destinations. To help you stick to this resolution, at the beginning of the year, sit down with your calendar and block off days for family outings. You could even ask other families to join in on your adventures.

Eat Together

Studies have shown that in families that eat their main meal together four or more times a week, children are more likely to do well in school, avoid drugs and alcohol at young ages, maintain a healthy weight and consume fruits and vegetables.

When setting goals, it’s important to pick specific, attainable ones, so select a certain number of nights that you’d plan to eat together each week. Gather at the table for the meal, where you can focus on balanced eating and lively conversation. A scented candle or coordinated place mats can add a special touch to the meal.

Grow Closer to God

We will not hide them from their children, telling the generation to come the praises of Yahweh … Psalms 78:4

If you aren’t holding family devotions, this can be the year you start. Intentional time spent teaching your children the truths of the faith will pay off for years to come. Read through a devotional book at mealtimes, memorize verses together, read Bible passages to your kids at bedtime or hold weekly family worship nights. These times will help your kids learn to study and apply God’s Word.

Get Fit

Exercise can be a family affair. If you commit to participating together, you can hold one another accountable for sticking to it. Plus, family fitness is a fun way to spend time together, as well as maintain your health. 

There are many family-friendly fitness options to choose from. Try playing soccer, swimming, riding bikes or skating. Regular trips to the playground can also be good exercise, as long as everyone gets involved in the play.

Setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions will help your family use this year well, for spiritual growth, healthy choices, stronger relationships and service to others. May this be your best year yet!

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