The phrase Happy New Year holds such weight, especially in light of the past year. It carries hope and anticipation of better things to come. For some the year 2020 holds pain, loss, grief, disappointment. And for others it has been a breakthrough year. No matter who you are or what your experience has been this past year, we have all had to pivot and make adjustments. In some ways it seems as though some things will never be the same.
I love fresh starts, new days, and the beginning of something new and exciting. So, naturally, resolutions have always been a part of my life. Yet, like most people, I found that they are hard to stick to and that a resolution made is usually a resolution broken.
A few years back my husband and I started a new year’s tradition with our kids that was extremely helpful way for our family to process and reflect on the past year while looking forward with hope. We go somewhere peaceful and quiet. The time is always accompanied by something delicious; I have to lure my boys with good food and drink. My family brings something to write with and we start with five minutes of silence. We quiet our souls and allow the Lord to still our hearts, then we begin to reflect on the past year. Once we’ve had a few minutes of silence we break up our time into three 20-minute movements. We write down, name and put into words the highs and the lows of the previous year. First, we write down three “low points” of the year. We then take turns sharing out loud our three different low points. I am amazed at what comes up. Events that may have seemed minor, or easy to get over are things that my kids say have impacted and affected them. The next 20-minute movement is time to remember and name three “high points”. Sharing the high points is one of my favorites because we almost always have different high points. The memories of each other’s “high points” are such sweet reminders of the good times the year has carried. We usually look at one another amazed and say, “Oh yea, I forgot that one.”
The last 20-minute movement is “Looking Forward with Hope”. It is not a time to make strong resolves, but to ask ourselves in what ways can we grow and improve. What are our personal and family goals for the next year? We are hopeful and look forward to spiritual, physical and financial health to getting better grades, reading more, working harder. This is a very sweet time with my kids. It has allowed them space to reflect, process and look ahead. There have been years where this process has been emotionally healing for our family. It becomes a space where we can cry, laugh and process the past year. It is a space to be hopeful and to dream as a family. I hope you try this tradition with your family and that it will be a blessing to you.
- You do not have to do this New Year’s day it can be any day at the beginning of the year.
- Have grace for yourself and for your family. Especially if this is the first time trying it with your family. Some family members might not be as into it as others. It’s ok.
- This is not a time to scold or have the “I told you so” moments. Allow your kids space to process their feelings on the past year and just be there for them. Also give yourself space and grace as you process and work through your own feelings.
- You can modify the time if you have older or little ones. You can simplify the process.
- If you are not ready to try this with your family, you can try it by yourself. Which will still be beneficial to your family.
- Save what you wrote for next year. It is awesome to see where you’ve been and where you are heading.
2 thoughts on “New Year Resolutions and Family Traditions”
Oh my gosh, Renee – I love this!!!
Thank you Janet! This reflection practice has been very beneficial to our family.