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New Year's Resolutions

January 06, 2008

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It is time for a fresh start in 2008. This means you get to wipe the slate clean and create new goals for the new year. Sit down with your family and make a list of things you want to accomplish in the new year. Check that list each week and hold each other accountable. Put down things that are realistic as well as those things that may seem far off. Is it to get in shape, to travel more, to start volunteering, or to spend more quality time as a family? The articles below should help get you in the goal setting mood.


~the ParentClick Team 

Here's to a Great 2008 Here's to a Great 2008
~by Jenna McCarthy

I love January. A new year, a fresh start, a clean, uncluttered calendar brimming with possibilities. The blinking multicolored lights are back in the attic, the formerly lush tree has been hauled away and Sherlock Holmes couldn't find a candy cane in my pantry if he tried. But this year, as 1/1 came and went, I made a shocking discovery:

I suck at New Years resolutions.

Historically speaking, you'd think I would have come to this realization a long time ago. But every single year, I swear that it's going to be different.

High on promise and possibility (and two-and-a-half months of obscene indulgence), I pledge ridiculous things to the universe and myself as I ring in the new year:

  • I will exercise every single day. Quit swearing. Switch to decaf. Stop yelling at my kids. Get organized. Drink less. Volunteer more. Clean out the garage. Put seventeen dishwasher-size boxes of photos into albums. Spend less. Save more. Floss. Learn Spanish, perform diligent monthly breast self-exams and (what the hell?) train for a marathon.

Now, it makes sense that tradition would have us make grand (and frankly impossible) promises on the first day of the New Year. After all, when it feels like there's an axe imbedded in your skull and you can't button even your "fat" pants, it's pretty easy to swear off Champagne and Oreos.


Alas, studies-conducted by me, year after year-show that the promise of January 1st loses its appeal by approximately January 3rd. After that, all you're left with is an annoying list of utterly dashed hopes (and puffy, sore gums if you've been even the slightest bit diligent with your flossing). This is why I have decided that in 2008, my number-one resolution is to lower my expectations. I'll still set goals; they'll just be slightly less ambitious than say, personally eradicating world hunger.

The experts say the key to successful goal-setting lies in going public with your aspirations. So in the spirit of rebirth, reality and full-disclosure, here is my list of relatively painless, possibly-even-doable tasks I won't kick myself for not accomplishing in 2008:

  • Throw out drawer full of socks that have no mates
  • Buy new Tupperware (With lids! That fit!)
  • Replace crusty tube of mascara
  • Find a cheap brand of wine that is palatable
  • (Finally) redeem massage gift certificate from 2005
  • Replace vacuum cleaner filter
  • Stop buying clothing I don't like or need "because it's on sale"
  • Toss the arsenal of soap slivers and almost-empty toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles littering my bathroom
  • Accept the fact that my husband will never, ever stop leaving crumbs in the sink (notice I didn't admit to nagging him about this)
  • Donate collection of very gently watched workout videos to library
  • Bathe the dog
  • Stop stockpiling products promising firmer, younger-looking skin and thicker, shinier hair (or at least stop waiting for them to work)

I am relying on all of my friends to keep me accountable. And if any of you want to come over for a dog-washing party, I have plenty of shampoo.

Jenna McCarthy is the author of the upcoming book, The Parent Trip: From High Heels and Parties to Highchairs and Potties . When she's not sharpening pencils, she can be reached at

Go Green Go Green

Have you 'gone green' or thought about 'going green'?  While the concept can seem overwhelming for already busy families, there are quick and easy things you can do to make a difference.  Some of the greatest threats to future resources come from things we throw away everyday.  Here are a few ways you can start off the New Year on a greener path: 

  • Recycle glass bottles.  By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours!
  • Recycle aluminum cans.  You can run a TV for six hours on the amount of electricity that is saved by recycling one aluminum can!
  •  Buy and use reusable shopping bags.  Stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods sell reusable bags and there are also great websites like where you can purchase reusable bags (and lots of other cool environmentally-friendly items!).   The polyethylene plastic bags from the grocery store take up to 1,000 years to dissolve and when they do, they leave behind dangerous toxins that experts say kill millions of animals every year! 
Armed with this information, make a commitment to our future by adding one way to 'go green' to your Resolution list! 


Get Organized & Simplify Get Organized & Simplify

Start 2008 by finding a calendar/schedule system that works for you and your family. Some do better with paper and others love doing it on their computers and PDA's. The trick is to put EVERYTHING on your calendar including the days you want to exercise or play.


Get a subscription to Real Simple Magazine to keep you motivated. They have so many great ideas and suggestions to keep you organized throughout the year. Click on  


Take advantage of some of the great organizing tools available... Wrist Reminders allow you to write down your "don't forget" and wrap it around your wrist. The visible personalized reminder helps you to remember. These are great for adults & kids. Parents can put them on wrists to remind their child about after school commitments and doctors appointments. Teachers can use on field trips as a color coding system! $2 for a pack of 30... Shop Office Depot


Organize your photos from 2007 so you don't get behind in the new year. Spend a rainy day and if you have them printed... get a photo box and put them in order so when you are ready to scrapbook, you can easily access them. If you do digital scrapbooking... load all of your photos onto a site like Shutterfly where you can create online albums and then print photos or create beautiful digital scrapbooks.

Family New Year's Resolutions Family New Year's Resolutions
  • Plan a family trip.
  • Work on a family project together.
  • Eat dinner together one day or more a week and turn off TV.
  • Have a regular date night with your spouse.
  • Create an e-mail list to keep in touch with extended family and friends regularly. Kids can help email notes.
  • Connect with other families. Reach out to a neighborhood family that you don't know well and commit to getting to know them better.
  • Give to others through community service and volunteerism.
    --Resolutions for Kids--
  • I will clean up my toys.
  • I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
    Kids, 5- to 12-years-old
  • I will drink milk and water, and limit soda and fruit drinks.
  • I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors. 
  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity that I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. 
  • I'll be nice to other kids. I'll be friendly to kids who need friends - like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
    Kids, 13-years-old and up
  • I will take care of my body with physical activity & nutrition.
  • I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only 1-2 hours each day on these activities.
  • I will help out in my community - through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people.
  • I will wipe negative "self talk" (i.e. "I can't do it" or "I'm so dumb") out of my vocabulary.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk with an adult about my choices.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.

Modified from the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1/07

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