New Year Memory Bank
Along with the first of the year comes the annual onslaught of New Year’s resolutions – pledges to ourselves to be more organized, read to our children more often, spend more time outside, and eat more healthy food. In theory, the resolutions are meant to help us change ourselves for the better and become more satisfied with our lives. However, resolutions can also be challenging, especially for families. Often, we set our sights on doing more, more, more – which is challenging and may not always be realistic.
Instead of requiring ourselves to change the way that we live every time the calendar changes, perhaps we can make a conscious effort to shift our focus and perspective instead. This year, don’t resolve to make changes – choose only one thing to have more of. As a family, challenge yourselves to enjoy more. Rather than resolving to take a family walk twice a week and becoming frustrated when you aren’t able to, resolve to enjoy and savor the family walks that you do get to take, no matter how often they are. Instead of putting lots of effort on creating changes, spend more time enjoying the things that you wish that you could do more often…
As a family, create a list of things that you enjoy doing together or individually. In order to help kids come up with their own ideas, it can be useful to pair this with a “Peaks and Valleys” type of discussion, where you each share your most favorite and least favorite times from the past year. Be sure to focus on the themes that arise in your discussion of good times, since these will be the things that you add to your focus list for the new year! The things on your list can be small or large – anything from hugs goodbye to school vacations to beautiful sunsets to delicious family meals. If you want to focus on savoring the type of moments that you’ve remembered, then put ’em on the list!
Finally, in order to allow yourselves to remember all of the moments you’ve decided to enjoy when New Year’s comes around again, create a New Year Memory Bank. All you’ll need is a small wrapped box and a prominent place in your house to keep it. You can create a simple design on your box as pictured here, or you can break out the paint and stickers and make uniquely decorated box. Supplies you’ll need include wrapping paper (we used a brown paper bag), tape, scissors, boxcutter (for deposit slit/adult supervision) and markers/paint/crayons.
Whenever a great moment happens, write it down on a piece of paper, fold it up, and deposit it into the bank. When the year ends, unwrap the box and read the memories that your family deposited. Reading through the memories will help you to remember all of the wonderful, fun, and meaningful things that you did throughout the year and the shared moments you’ve had with friends and family, while reminding you that you’ve done exactly what you resolved to do – enjoy the good moments more. And, by banking your memories, it’s likely that you and your kids will make a point all year to stop and appreciate the rich moments and happenings that occur throughout the year.
[Photo credits: (c) Sienna Wildfield]
Happy New Year!