Setting family goals and intentions after the New Year

Rebecca Stanisic

Now that we’re past the flurry of people posting about their January New Year’s resolutions (maybe some of them were realistic and easy to follow and some of them less so), it’s a good time to sit back and think about how we can start off a fresh year with intention, particularly when it comes to screen use.  

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I tend to make goals or intentions but really, they have the same thought behind them: As the year begins, I look ahead with hopes and plans. Things I want to focus on. They don’t have to be monumental changes, but it’s nice to think about a few intentional goals.  

A few examples of this include trying more new recipes (I love to cook and bake, but don’t love to do it when I’m overly busy or underprepared so new recipes entice me to plan better and try more). I want to move my body more, read more (reading is always on my list!) and reduce my time on social media (unless it’s for work – and even then, I want to restrict some of the time).  

Family looking at cellphone

Families can make goals and intentions, too. These may be activities you want to do together, travel plans, experiences, how you spend your time, updates to the house or organizing certain rooms and yes, a new year – whether you started in January or waited until now – is a great time to chat about screen time. You can even pledge to participate in Screen Free Week in May as a family! A New Year’s Resolution family chat is a great way to have interesting and thoughtful conversations as a family as the year begins, and as it unfolds. 

When setting these intentions as a family, or when encouraging your kids to do them, you can get creative and do a cut-out vision board style plan or encourage younger kids to make drawings. You can even make a visual list to put on the fridge.  

That list may be something like “Go to the new Museum exhibit. Make the recipe that Grandma always makes. Play a new board game.” As you can see, simple is best and perfection isn’t the goal.  

Time together, or encouraging the kids to explore something new, is the goal.  

The experts at MediaSmarts suggest that families could consider something as simple as setting a goal to be more reflective and mindful when it comes to using screens or digital devices. Maybe it’s downloading an app that helps track how long you’re using certain social media platforms, or maybe it’s deciding that everyone will try to put their devices away an hour before bedtime.  

There’s no right or wrong way to set these intentions. They are meant to be reflective and they can be a great way to have interesting conversations as a family. Whatever the goal or plan is, be kind to yourself and don’t give up if you don’t succeed right away. 

Although we haven’t made our plans or had our formal chat with our goals yet, there is no rule that says if you don’t choose a goal or set a plan on January 1st all is lost. I still think it’s a worthwhile activity. Then, as the year comes to an end, you can look back at your goals and discuss them. 

Will you set intentions as a family this year? 

Related resources: