When the new year rolls around, you probably sit down and write a list of health- and wellness-related goals you want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (It’s OK if you don’t want to call them resolutions; we get it!) Maybe that’s working out more often, eating healthier meals, curbing your sugar cravings, or finding time for self-care.
But making those big changes can be lonely on your own! Wellness goals are easier to accomplish when you have people you love rooting you on, and they’re even more fun to achieve when you do it together. This year, make wellness a family affair and get everyone in your household — grandparents, siblings, kids, partners, even pets! — involved. It may just become a game-changer, not to mention another way to bond with the people you love best.
Turn it into a challenge.
There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to get you going. Have each family member set the same wellness-related goal — maybe running a mile, eating one new, healthy food per week, drinking more water, or hitting your step goal — and see who can accomplish it first. For younger kids, make a sticker chart and reward them after each milestone or color in a certain section every time they check off a goal.
Let the kids choose their own goals.
Your children probably won’t be as excited to participate if you’re the one calling the shots, so ask them to choose one to three health-related goals that sound fun, exciting, and achievable to them, not to you. Remember not to pressure them into things they’re not comfortable with, but rather to encourage them to make healthy choices but still be a kid too. Your children will learn the value of setting a goal, sticking to it, and celebrating when it’s accomplished, not to mention the importance of healthy daily habits.
Get everyone involved in mealtime.
Even if your little ones scoff at their veggies at dinner, you can entice them to try new foods this year. Each week, sit down and plan a healthy and delicious menu together with input from every family member, and don’t be afraid to sneak in a night of takeout or special dessert at the end of the week. If your children are older, ask them to help you prep dinner a few nights a week; they’ll be excited to eat something they helped prepare. Encourage younger kids to try just one new healthy food a week and bring in the sticker chart as motivation if needed.
It’s OK if you need a little treat to motivate you to cross the finish line! It’s totally normal, and it’s especially enticing for kids. If you’re working toward a certain goal as a family and check it off the list, go out for a special dinner, take a weekend trip, or have a family movie night to celebrate your achievement.
Don’t forget about your pets!
You know who else wants to have a little fun this year? Your dog! Pets can be excellent companions on a wellness journey, especially dogs who need to be walked on a regular basis. Make walking and playing with the dog a special chore for your kids or consider switching from walks to runs if your dog has a lot of energy to burn. You may just find you’re looking forward to that midday outing more than they are.