New Year’s Resolutions

  • New Year’s Resolutions
    By CWK Network Producer

    “I think we should just relax, relate, release.”
    – Shana, 13 years old

    For generations, people have been making New Year’s resolutions on the first day of the year, and studies show that close to 80 percent of those well-intended folks give up by Valentine’s Day. Children also make resolutions and some have a few suggestions for their mom and dad.

    “I try to get along with my brothers and be a happy little family and to like, eat healthy,” says 13-year-old Abbey. “Stop eating the cocoa puffs and the kool-aid, you know, just do that. And it never works.”

    The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they almost never work.

    “I had the basic, typical diet, lose weight, dieting thing, but that never stuck,” says Jessye, 15.

    “The longest one I ever had was probably a month,” says William, 16, who has what may be the most common and most commonly unsuccessful resolution, “Start working out more. I wrestle, so I actually really need to start doing it.”

    Angelique, 13, has the same resolution year after year, with little success. “I’ve got one older sister and two younger sisters and we do not get along at all,” she says. “So every year I always try to get nice to them and just be kinder, but it never ends up working out.”

    We all start the year with such good intentions. But there is a long downhill road paved with good intentions. Even so, most people feel they should at least make an effort.

    “I think I should kind of stop beating on my brother,” says 13-year-old Miller.

    Fifteen-year-old Brad’s resolution is the same every year: get better grades.

    Joanna, 13, has a simple, but likely very difficult resolution. “I would like to change my attitude.”

    Shana, 13, says, “I think females should have one that’s universal: do not expect a lot from men.”

    Parents who cannot think of a New Year’s resolution should just ask their kids. “My mom should have one to not buy shoes except for me,” adds Shana.

    Brad thinks his parents should, give him an allowance.

    William thinks his parents’ resolution should be “not to yell at me as much as they do. That would be for both of them.”

    Abbey thinks her parents would do well to “just chill out a little bit!”

    And for all of us in the New Year, “I think we should just relax, relate, release,” says Shana.

    Resolve to Keep Your Resolutions
    By CWK Network, Inc.

    If you or your child plan to make New Year’s resolutions this year be sure you are both ready for the challenge. The Montana Dietetic Association offers the following tips to maximize your success:

    • Get started today.
    • Waiting for next Monday, next week or any time in the future delays the time you will start to feel better about yourself.

    • Do it for yourself.
    • Trying to change for someone else usually ends in no change at all. The strongest reasons are ones important to you, not to a parent, spouse, child or friend.

    • Make health a priority.
    • No time to eat right or be active? Everyone has time; it is a question of how you spend it. Move health up on your priority list, and you will have more energy for everything else, too.

    • Set realistic goals.
    • Getting a model-perfect body isn’t realistic for most of people, despite what the ads say. Or trying to learn how to speak a foreign language fluently in three days is next to impossible. Set yourself up for success with achievable goals, and you’ll stick with the program longer.

    • Make small changes.
    • Small changes work better than giant leaps and, over time, they make a big difference. Break behaviors down into smaller “bites” and work on them one at a time.

    • Expect to be successful.
    • Plan for success rather than failure. Positive self-talk and an enthusiastic approach are often self-fulfilling prophecies. Reviewing past failures is a recipe for disaster.

    • Allow for imperfection.
    • No one is exactly on target all of the time. In fact, you should expect to falter every now and then. If you give in to temptation, do not use this as an excuse to abandon the whole program. Learn from your mistake and move on.

    • Ask for support.
    • Supportive people can help you stick with your plan. You can take a class, join a group or just hook up with a good friend (or family member) who also wants to make a change.

    • Consult an expert.
    • The right “coach” can make all the difference in your attitude and progress. Ask a friend or tutor for help with learning geometry, or consult a certified trainer or coach for fitness help.

    • Track your progress.
    • Research shows that tracking changes is a real motivator. Pick a convenient place to write down how you’re doing, like notes on a calendar or in your computer scheduler.

    • Celebrate every success.
    • Rewards and positive feedback work for kids and adults, too! Choose several ways to give yourself pats on the back, like saving for a massage or spending time with a friend.

    New Year’s is a perfect time for you to help your child practice goal-setting and decision-making skills by making and keeping a resolution. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following list of goals to help your child lead a healthier, safer life:

    • I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink.
    • I will take care of my body and seek my highs through sports, fitness and nutrition instead of through drugs and alcohol.
    • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car.
    • I will choose nonviolent television shows and video games, and I will only spend one to two hours each day – AT THE MOST – on these activities.
    • I will never give out personal information, such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number, in an Internet chat room or on an Internet bulletin board. Also, I will never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parents’ permission.
    • I will be nice to other kids. It is easier and more fun than being mean, and I will feel better about myself.
    • I will wipe negative “self-talk,” such as “I can’t do it” or “I’m so dumb,” out of my vocabulary.
    • Whenever I am feeling angry or stressed out, I will take a break and look for constructive ways to feel better, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking out my problem with a parent or friend.

    As a parent, you can also take this opportunity to set your own goals. The AAP suggests keeping the following resolutions in mind so that you and your family can enjoy long, healthy and happy lives:

    • Prevent violence by setting good examples.
    • Hitting, slapping and spanking teach your child that it is acceptable to hit other people to solve problems. Non-physical forms of discipline work better in the long run. Remember that words can hurt, too.

    • Provide your child with a tobacco-free environment.
    • Indoor air pollution from tobacco increases ear infections, chest infections and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If you smoke, consider quitting. Remember, the most important predictor of whether your child will grow up to be a smoker is whether or not you smoke. Make your home a smoke-free zone.

    • Help your child understand tobacco, alcohol and the media.
    • Help your child understand the difference between the misleading messages in advertising and the truth about the dangers of using alcohol and tobacco products. Talk about ads with your child. Help him or her understand the real messages being conveyed. Make sure the television shows and movies your child watches do not glamorize the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

    • Pay attention to nutrition.
    • Nutrition makes a big difference in how kids grow, develop and learn. Good nutrition is a matter of balance. Provide foods from several food groups at each meal. Emphasize foods that are less processed, such as whole grain breads and cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables. Review your child’s diet with your pediatrician for suggestions.

    • Become more involved in your child’s school and education.
    • Visit your child’s school. Become active in the parent-teacher organization. Volunteer in the classroom or for special projects. Be available to help with homework. If your child’s education is important to you, it will be important to him or her.

    • Make your child feel loved and important.
    • Kids develop a sense of self-worth early in life. They get it from their parents. Listen to what your child has to say. Assure your child that he or she is loved and safe.

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    For generations, people have been making New Year’s resolutions on the first day of the year, and studies show that close to 80 percent of those well-intended folks give up by Valentine’s Day. Children also make resolutions and some have a few suggestions for their mom and dad.

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