10 New Year's Resolutions For the Whole Family

Dad and daughter in the kitchen.

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When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, we all know the stereotype: although set with the best of intentions, these January goals often fizzle out by springtime. Looking for a way to boost the chances of actually sticking with positive change? Try making it a group effort!

Involving the entire family can provide the accountability and strength in numbers you need to see new year’s resolutions through. Plus, setting (and pursuing) goals with your spouse, partner, kids, and/or extended family members may develop deeper relationships with these loved ones. This year, consider any of these 10 whole-family resolutions.

Practice Gratitude

Especially in difficult times, remembering to count our blessings can have some profound benefits. One study found that people who wrote a few sentences per week about things they were grateful for felt better about their lives after 10 weeks than people who journaled about things that bothered them.

Gratitude might even be good for your physical health. People of all ages with more grateful dispositions report fewer health problems (such as headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, and sleep disturbances) than those with a less grateful outlook.

A gratitude practice can take many forms, both individually and as a family. Perhaps it’s something as simple as going around the table at dinnertime to say one thing everyone is thankful for, or beginning a meal with prayer of thanks, if your family has a religious faith.

To take the concept even further, try keeping a family gratitude journal in an easily accessible place in your home. Encourage everyone to write what they’re thankful for regularly. This way, you’ll not only enjoy the benefits of gratitude; you’ll create a keepsake for years to come.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

When planning resolutions, it’s best to choose those that are measurable and realistic. Instead of a blanket statement like “We’ll eat better this year,” consider narrowing your focus to one food group, such as fruits and vegetables. In your family meal planning and grocery shopping, be intentional about purchasing more produce for meals and snacks.

Once you’ve stocked your fridge with these healthy foods, you’ll be more likely to consume them. Make a family practice of eating a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack, topping sandwiches with lettuce or sprouts at lunch, or adding spinach to a breakfast egg scramble.

Serve Others

You’re probably familiar with the fact that serving others boosts your own sense of well-being. Volunteering as a family spreads these positive vibes to the whole clan—and, when done with kids, teaches them the importance of helping others.

Make a commitment this year to find ways to serve as a family, perhaps once a month (or more!). If you have young children, this may be a challenge, but do a little digging to find projects even little ones can participate in. Toddlers and preschoolers might create arts and crafts that bring a smile to an older or ill person.

Older kids can take on more responsibility, cleaning a neighbor’s yard, packing food boxes at a food pantry, or babysitting for a single parent.

Cook Together

The family that cooks together stays healthy together! Home cooking is associated with better diet quality and lower levels of body fat. When you involve the whole family, you’ll reap more than just health benefits. Getting kids comfortable in the kitchen can promote independence and creativity, and even improve spatial reasoning and math skills.

If making meals with young kids seems overwhelming, designate one easy meal a week where little ones can help out. Or, if your large family is simply too many cooks in the kitchen, divide into smaller groups who rotate with meal prep on certain days.

Spend More Time Outdoors

The COVID-19 pandemic reconnected many families with the great outdoors as people sought out safe and healthy ways to escape the house. That trend should continue, as the whole family will enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of getting off of screens and into a natural environment. Family hikes, picnics, or simply playing at a park can go a long way toward refreshing your collective spirit.

Read Together

In a world of shiny, enticing screens, it can take some convincing to get kids to sit down and read. But once you find a story that reels them in, they may not want to stop!

This year, consider reading together regularly. For families with younger kids, this might look like pulling out a few picture books before bedtime. For older kids, work your way up to a chapter a night; you can tackle an entire series this way. By spending quality time reading, you’ll build positive associations for your child with this educational pastime (and you’ll likely enjoy the stories yourself).

Practice Kindness

Who couldn’t use a little more kindness? Consider making a family resolution to perform more acts of kindness—both for each other and in the world at large. Kids can spread the love by making a sibling’s bed, writing a note of encouragement to a friend or grandparent, or sharing a toy. As for the grown-ups in the home, tackle a chore you know your spouse dreads, plan a date night, or spring for an unsolicited foot massage.

For inspiration, write up a list of kindnesses and keep it somewhere visible, like tacked on the refrigerator. Don’t be surprised if the effects of kindness at home trickle outward to your workplace, school, and community.

Exercise as a Family

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercising with just one other person makes us more motivated, more adventurous, and more consistent. Who knows how much greater the effects are when you work out as an entire family?

Set aside Saturday mornings for a family walk or bike ride. Or host Friday evening dance parties with favorite songs (be sure to let kids pick some of the tunes). 

Complain Less

There’s a time and place for constructive complaining. Done right, speaking up about problems helps us blow off steam and enact positive change. But in the context of family life, endless complaints can send our entire household into a negative cycle of pessimism.

Although you might especially like to see your child cut the complaining, it’s a resolution the whole family can benefit from—parents included. Just as you’d be thrilled to stop hearing grumbling from kids about their chores or what’s for dinner, your family members might enjoy a reprieve from your own grown-up gripes.

Consider a family resolution to complain less and praise more. This doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to voice frustrations about real concerns. Rather, it’s an encouragement for the whole family to think before speaking. Set a good example for your kids by modeling a positive attitude, pointing out the good in every day.

Get Better Sleep

Want better health for your whole family this year? Try starting with better sleep. This often-overlooked area of wellness contributes to physical and mental well-being—yet many American kids and adults are chronically sleep-deficient.

To get the whole family on a healthier track with sleep, be mindful about bedtime routines. Certain sleep rituals like reading, snuggling, or listening to relaxing music can be done all together. Practice healthy sleep hygiene as a family by turning off screens and devices at least an hour before turning in for the night and keeping consistent bedtimes. You may be surprised at the cascade of benefits that result from a good night’s rest.

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4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Hill PL, Allemand M, Roberts BW. Examining the pathways between gratitude and self-rated physical health across adulthood. Pers Individ Diff. 2013;54(1):92-96. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.011

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  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 3 reasons to work out with a friend. Updated August 4, 2019.