4 Fun Goals for a Healthier, Closer Family


Published:

A new year always brings in a whiff of fresh starts, do-overs and the ever-present New Year's resolution. Most of the time, our goals are solo endeavors. ("I'm going to stop smoking," or "I'm going to write a novel.")

Why not change things up this year? For 2012, get the whole family on board and set your sights on goals that will bring your family closer together and keep everyone healthy, too. By setting a few fun goals together this year, you'll ring in 2013 as a stronger family unit.

Ready to set your family goals? Gather everyone together and toss around ideas. "Make sure the goal-setting meeting is kept fun and open," says Sarah DeNome, a licensed therapist and owner of DeNome Alliances, a family counseling center in Holly Springs. "Goals will really stick if everyone feels like they're invested in them. If the parents are just setting goals for everyone, chances are the kids will probably feel like it's just another rule the parents are establishing. It won't be fun for them, and it won't be something they'll want to stick with."

Why set goals as opposed to throwing out a general idea of what you want? "Setting goals keeps you focused, rather than just rushing through daily life, putting off what's important," DeNome says. "A lot of times we get so caught up in things like running to the grocery store after soccer practice that we miss what we're really working for — being close to your family."

So put on some music, pass around the snacks and encourage each person in your family to speak up and contribute. Here are some family-centered ideas to get you started.

1. Escape together

Who's going to say "no" to this goal? It's the "family who plays together, stays together" idea. Plan on one mini-escape or fun adventure every month. This helps you explore different areas, focus on each other and slow down the speeding train of time.

Escaping doesn't have to cost a lot of time or money. Look on the Carolina Parent website for day trip ideas (go to www.carolinaparent.com and click on Travel), or plan a quick overnight camping excursion to Jordan Lake, for example.

You can also take "mini dates" with different family members. "It's important to play as a family, but individual attention is great, too," DeNome says. "Parents can have date night or kids can take turns going out with one parent once a month, for instance." Whatever escape your family picks, you'll come back from your adventure with solid family memories and a closer bond.

2. Learn together

Most of the time, parents are teachers for their kids. But when you shake that up once in a while and your kids see you in a different light, it helps strengthen family unity. That's because when you learn something new as a family, you all start out at the same entry level.

"This is great for kids' self-esteem," DeNome says. "They think, 'I might not be good at this, but look at Mom or Dad starting out. They're not good at it, either.'" Parents show they can learn, make mistakes and recover from them.

Talk about what each family member enjoys, then plan to learn something new in each of those areas. For example, you might take a cooking class together, learn a new family sport, or pick up Web design or programming skills and create a family website or blog.

3. Hang out together

Sure, you're technically together in carpool or when you're all home but in different rooms. But this goal is about really being with each other — focusing on one another. And you know what that means: Turn off those electronics. Everyone. No texts, no "I'm just going to check email really quick," no urgent phone calls from BFFs or "I gotta call the office." Ban electronics once a week for a couple hours of devoted family time and pull out those dusty board games, or just talk over a cup of hot chocolate and plate of gingersnaps.

Let different family members pick the activities, DeNome says. "Rather than the parents saying, 'We're playing this game,' being in charge as always, let a kid decide," she says.

If one child really, really wants to pick a video game? Make a concession on the "no electronics" rule — as long as everyone in the family is engaged and playing together. Establish a Wii Olympics, for example, or let your teen teach you that epic game he's hooked on.

4. Get tough together

You know those traditional New Year's goals? The ones that show up on everyone's list: eating better, exercising more? Why not do it as a family? Just be sure to focus on the positive. Rather than saying, "We're all going to lose weight," say, "We're going to make some new dietary changes together." Think of it as the Jones Family 2.0.

Look through cookbooks or food websites together to come up with healthful food changes everyone will embrace. Then shop and cook together. Kick fried or fast food to the curb. Develop your own family specialty drink, maybe a mix of fruit and veggies blended in a juicer. Initiate a nightly family walk around the neighborhood or a weekly hike at a state or local park.

After your family has decided on a few realistic goals, determine how you'll stay on track. DeNome suggests establishing a check-in as part of your regular routine. "Maybe once a week, everyone just touches base quickly about the goals and talks about how they're coming, or talks about something to do the next day," she says.

Post goals in a visible place (like the refrigerator) and make action items to stay on track. The key is to keep it fun. Everyone will bail quickly if it seems like a burdensome "one more thing" to put on the to-do list.

And don't be afraid to revise. If you learn, come March, no one is on board anymore, find out why. Then decide, as a group, on new family goals. You'll discover next December that, you've reached your "closer family" goal together after all.  n

Kathleen M. Reilly is a Triangle-area freelance writer and mother.

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November 2019

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

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We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE. Registration is required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Dr.
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: FREE. Registration is required.

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: $5/person. $2 for ages 2 and younger

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Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
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Transformative stories through the mists of time adapted from "1001 Arabian Nights" and performed by Emerson's 10th grade class.  Recommended for audiences age 10 and up. For...

Cost: $5-$12

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Emerson Waldorf School
6211 New Jericho Road
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Website »

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It’s the summer before the 1904 World’s Fair and the three Smith sisters are filled with anticipation. But the year brings turmoil as family life interferes with their newfound chances...

Cost: Adults: $15 Seniors: $10 Students and children: $5 Family 4-pack

Where:
William Peace University, Kenan Auditorium
15 E Peace St
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Sponsor: William Peace University
Contact Name: Charles Machalicky
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Celebrate collards at the State Farmers Market.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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Village Market Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Park West Village
Contact Name: Conner
Website »

More information

Talented dance students perform the lavishly staged holiday ballet alongside guest artists from Carolina Ballet. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Fletcher Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Transformative stories through the mists of time adapted from "1001 Arabian Nights" and performed by Emerson's 10th grade class.  Recommended for audiences age 10 and up. For...

Cost: $5-$12

Where:
Emerson Waldorf School
6211 New Jericho Road
Brown Wing
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Website »

More information

It’s the summer before the 1904 World’s Fair and the three Smith sisters are filled with anticipation. But the year brings turmoil as family life interferes with their newfound chances...

Cost: Adults: $15 Seniors: $10 Students and children: $5 Family 4-pack

Where:
William Peace University, Kenan Auditorium
15 E Peace St
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View map »


Sponsor: William Peace University
Contact Name: Charles Machalicky
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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More information

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Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
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More information

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Cost: Free

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Website »

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Cost: Free

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More information

Talented dance students perform the lavishly staged holiday ballet alongside guest artists from Carolina Ballet. Show times are at noon and 5 p.m. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Fletcher Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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More information

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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Talented dance students perform the lavishly staged holiday ballet alongside guest artists from Carolina Ballet. Show times are at noon and 5 p.m. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Fletcher Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Come share the excitement as Park West Village hosts Winter Wonderland in The District. Kids of all ages will enjoy our Magical Winter Lights Paintscaping, featuring colorful holiday lights...

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Park West Village
Contact Name: Conner
Website »

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
Website »

More information

Transformative stories through the mists of time adapted from "1001 Arabian Nights" and performed by Emerson's 10th grade class.  Recommended for audiences age 10 and up. For...

Cost: $5-$12

Where:
Emerson Waldorf School
6211 New Jericho Road
Brown Wing
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Website »

More information

It’s the summer before the 1904 World’s Fair and the three Smith sisters are filled with anticipation. But the year brings turmoil as family life interferes with their newfound chances...

Cost: Adults: $15 Seniors: $10 Students and children: $5 Family 4-pack

Where:
William Peace University, Kenan Auditorium
15 E Peace St
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Sponsor: William Peace University
Contact Name: Charles Machalicky
Website »

More information

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