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Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s hard to avoid the pressure of New Year’s resolutions: It’s why gym memberships tend to go up at the start of the year (though maybe not in Covid times!). Getting fit, eating healthier, managing our finances better, whatever it is—there’s a lot of emphasis on taking advantage of a calendar change to “fix” oneself. What if we took a different approach this year?

We’ve all been through a lot in the last year. So instead of putting more pressure on ourselves to set and achieve ambitious self-improvement goals, let’s celebrate the new year by working together to heal and grow as a family.


Enter New Year’s resolutions, the Kinda Guide way. What does that mean, you ask? We think of this as an opportunity to work together as a family to make our lives a little bit better this year than last—with small steps, a low bar, and a sizable helping of good humor. If that appeals to you, here are some questions to get you started:


What’s one thing we love to do together as a family, but we’d like to do it more regularly? Think things like… playing board games, watching movies, going to the park to play basketball, eating dinner together, taking a road trip, baking cookies. We’re talking about the small things that give your family joy. Let’s get those things on the calendar!


What’s one thing we’ve been good at as a family in 2020 that we would like to keep doing in 2021? Maybe this year you spent more time outside (because indoor playdates were a bust). Maybe you cooked more meals together, or made a fun weekend tradition, or kept in better touch with distant family or friends thanks to Zoom dates. Something must’ve gone well. Even if it feels small, name a family win.


What’s one thing we’re not so good at as a family that we would like to change? Maybe you’re staying up late and everyone’s cranky and rushed in the mornings. Or the house is cluttered and no one can find what they’re looking for. Or you do more looking at screens than at each other. (Surely we can’t be the only people facing these, ahem, challenges.)


Once you’ve come up with something from one (or all!) of these categories that the entire family agrees on, figure out how you’re going to follow through in the new year. Want to do more of a favorite activity? Consider making a calendar and displaying it somewhere prominent where everyone can see. Want to keep up something that’s going well? Maybe add a small monthly celebration as a reward. Got something to change? Figure out what the alternative looks like (like putting phones and tablets in a desk drawer at mealtimes, for example), assign each person a role in making it happen, and establish a reward for following through. (Are you sensing a theme? We like rewards.)


If these questions don’t spark any interest, toss ‘em and try something else. Maybe your family would prefer a one-time project, like a big clean-out of closets and toy bins so you can make a donation to Goodwill or a local family shelter, or a challenging hike or long bike ride together.


Whatever you choose to focus on, keep in mind the Kinda Guide Golden Rules: Work together, be kind to yourselves, and keep it real, because getting through the day is hard enough.

“We think of this as an opportunity to work together as a family to make our lives a little bit better this year than last—with small steps, a low bar, and a sizable helping of good humor.”

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