I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. The changing of a calendar has never inspired me to assess my personal goals and aspirations. (I save that for the time around my birthday when I look back over the past year and take stock of my existence.) For me, New Year’s Day is just one day in the celebration of Christmas on the way to Epiphany (January 6th). It has always amazed me that so many people use that date as a jumping-off point for making changes in their lives.
…and we do such a poor job at it! By February, most people have given up on their resolutions all together or are scaling back. I’m not saying to set the bar low and go for an easy win, but perhaps it is time to create resolutions that we can live with and that will create actual good in the world.
Here are my top three:
- In 2020, read 12 books for no other reason than enjoyment. You might learn something, and heaven forbid it should be an outlet for relaxation!
- Stop with the rampant screen time. This is for you but especially for any children in your presence. Every shred of evidence points to screen time being a negative thing for kids under 2 years of age, and yet we still allow infants to commandeer our phones and play games or watch videos on them. Kids of all ages are sucked into video games, phones, and other technology in a way that tends to be unhealthy. In 2020, let’s all try to grow a backbone and tell them “no”.
For children under 2, substitute unstructured play and human interaction for screen time. The opportunity to think creatively, problem solve and develop reasoning and motor skills is more valuable for the developing brain than passive media intake.
-HealthyChildren.org (American Academy of Pediatrics)
In case you aren’t sold on the benefits of unstructured play for kids, go to the Mayo Clinic’s website and see for yourself. In fact, too much screen time is linked to obesity, irregular sleep patterns, violence, behavior problems, and poor social skills. Make 2020 the year to begin curbing this trend.
- Go outside. Yes, it is winter, but there is so much to do outside. I visited the Ozarks a few days before Christmas, and the girls and I took a walk through the woods with my mother. We found interesting rocks, water, fungi, birds, and as a bonus, Grandma fell into the creek and got wet feet because she hadn’t worn her rubber boots like we had. They burned off some energy, Grandma took nice pictures of them, and I got to point out quartz and a lone pine tree in the hardwood forest around where I grew up. It was also fodder for a scavenger hunt that I assigned the 8-year old. I knew what she might find in the woods around the farm, and before the excitement of a house full of people and smells of good food drove her to hyperactivity and everyone else to insanity, I sent her outside to find a crawdad hole, a black feather, a spot where 3 spider webs can be seen at once, a fence charger, five acorns, etc. (When she found four items on the list with relative ease, I did modify the other items and added a few too.)
I’m not the most imaginative person, but if we’re just going to abandon our resolutions in a few weeks anyway, why not pick some that will at least bring us some joy in the meantime.