…and helping your kids find theirs.

If you’re like me and find yourself on social media…or watching tv…or reading…or in any way receiving information at this time of year, you may have noticed the same thing I have, which is something that I find quite irritating…

To me, it seems like everyone with a platform is telling me how I should (and should not) start off my year. (Seems they each have a corresponding program I can buy to get myself there, too — but that’s a different point.)

Do You Feel Overwhelmed, Too?

It can be tricky to navigate all the messages we receive at this time of year. If you have children in your life, those messages probably include lots of ideas about how to parent “better” and more “effectively” in the new year.

Our kids are receiving “New year, new you!” messages as well – by seeing the behavior we’re modeling, taking in what their peers are doing, and through their own media consumption.

Finding YOUR Way

First of all, before we talk about how we might change, grow, or take on new heights this year, it’s a good idea to get grounded somewhere. I like the 4 Crucial Cs* for this:

Connect – You belong.

Capable – You are just right, as you are today.

Count – You matter. You are deeply needed.

Courage – Mistakes don’t define you. You are resilient.

Rudolf Dreikurs said, “We cannot build on weaknesses, only strengths.” With this wisdom in mind, I feel released from the pressure to change or fix myself in the new year.

Now, how to plan and create in 2024? I made up my own 5 step guide to cut through the noise and embrace the new year in a way that works for me.

The Scenario: You’ve paused in your scrolling because something caught your eye, or a commercial grabbed your attention, or a new program or idea came your way. Before you sign up for that new gym, whip out the journal prompts, or create your goals via whatever method is being recommended, try this…

  1. Receive the Message. What is this person or business recommending? I bet something about what they’re saying, or how they’re saying it, had you pause and consider what they’re offering. You never know what thing (or part of something, even!) might resonate with you.
  2. Tune In to Yourself. What is your gut reaction to what this person or business is telling you to think, do, or participate in? How do you feel–can you name that feeling? What does your mind say back (and is your response in agreement or retort)?
  3. Pick a Method, Any Method. If the method/program/idea pulled you toward it, like a magnet gently pulling you to north, that’s probably a good one to try. If it felt more like a shove in the back, it may not be the one for you!
  4. Try It. Best case, it works for you! Or, you may find you drop the new routine after a week, or the vision board never quite comes together. That’s ok, circle back to Step 3 and find a different one. It’s only the beginning of January. It’s not too late! And, there’s no requirement to get it just right the first time.
  5. Will You Share Your Goals, Progress, and Methods with Other People? Whatever you do share with others, it should also be a true reflection of you. If you decide to share your resolutions, goals, or new routines, be yourself because you’ll probably inspire them! ….And, this is also a gentle reminder to let other people (especially the children in your life) go on their own journey.

…now for helping your kids find their way into the new year

Honestly, the advice is the same. By doing what’s right for us and what resonates with us, we are modeling higher-level skills like these, skills that also require the confidence to trust oneself. If you start with you, you can then guide your kids to navigate their own ideas about how to start a new year off well.

Some simple questions you might ask your kids to get started:

  • What are your ideas for this new year?
  • Have you heard of New Year’s resolutions? What do you think of them? Does anyone you know make them? What have you heard people do in addition to making resolutions?
  • What would make 2024 a magical/fun/inspiring/etc. year for you?

It’s incredibly encouraging to be invited and helped to find one’s own way, especially in a world that constantly tells us what we should do/think/believe! What better practice in trusting oneself… and making solid choices that move us toward learning…than in the loving encouragement of one’s most trusted adults, who will be learning right beside them?

Happy New Year!


*A Reference Note on The 4 Crucial Cs

Alfred Adler identified the four core needs: belong, improve, significance, encouragement. Ansbacher, H. L., & Ansbacher, R. R. 1956. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, Basic Books. New York. 

Betty Lou Bettner and Amy Lew translated Adler’s core needs into the Crucial Cs: Connect, Capable, Count, Courage. Bettner, B.L. & Lew, A. 1989. Raising Kids Who Can. Connexions Press. MA.