Color your 2017 Resolutions with Music

Resolutions, smesolutions… as a parent, we just keep wanting to do the best we can with our children… every day of the year.  And we try our best every day, even if every day is not our best, even if every day is not their best.  Can our best get better? … yep.  Can we get past our bad days and just strive for increasing good moments ?… yep.   Does everyone need a New Years Resolution?… Nope.   How is the first of the year any different than any other day?  Well… It only matters if a choice is made to truly see and seize, the opportunity for a fresh start.

The beginning of a new year matters when a choice is made to ponder over the last year with a microscope looking for all of the wonderful, beautiful things that happened with your family during the last year.  What can you celebrate?  What have you learned?    Consider every aspect of an experience, especially if not so beautiful, as it trains the brain to solve problems and seek out the best from every situation.

The beginning of a new year matters when a choice is made to focus on specific uniquely personal creative goals, for yourself, for each family member individually, and for your family as a whole.   Goals like “Be a better parent.”  ”Be more patient.”  ”Reduce Stress”  and “Lose weight”   Subconciously, these vague goals tend to make us feel that we are not good enough.   No matter how good we are, we often already feel “not good enough”.  Ugh.   … or that our children are not good enough.  What a harsh way to approach a new year… or any time.  How can we direct our approach to a focus we can be excited about?

Are you ready to see what this focus and vision process looks like with YOUR FAMILY ?

This process works best if you make some time for yourself… after the kids are asleep.  Put on some instrumental music that helps your mind to flow…  is it classical?  is it Jazz?  is it Lindsey Sterling?  Or a sweeping soundtrack that helps you feel empowered?  Research shows that music with words or music that sparks connections to vivid memories will  be distracting and disrupt the flow, so choose carefully.   Repeatedly, studies show that instrumental music, in a style we like, but not familiar allows both sides of our brain to stay activated, keeping our distractible nature at bay, and allowing us to focus more fully with both our creative AND analytical strategies.

Recognize how GOOD each of you already are, and what was achieved last year.

Gather some colored pencils and large pieces of blank paper for each family member, starting with YOURSELF.  What we are together is different that what we are individually.  Use lots of colors as you jot down the wonderful aspects of each person, the interests that inspire them, new skills achieved during 2016.    Make a HUGE LIST of POSITIVES…..  MORE THAN 25 things you can celebrate for each, 25 things you have learned for each.

Celebrations can include anything from rolling over to the first time you heard them singing to themselves to the pride you saw on their face when they were able to accomplish something that was a challenge for them.  Progress can be incremental, such as if a child has slept all night 70% of the time, or gone to the potty 30% of the time.  (numbers are subjective, make your best guess).

Things you learned could include:  recognize a child’s intense interest in bugs or cooking; learning your child’s exact allergies and/or what helps stabalize their health; gaining an understanding of HOW your child learns something new;  a greater awareness of the importance of creating a stable routine that suits both the adults and the children; identifying what you can do for yourself that replenishes you.  Sometimes craziness and chaos are our best teachers, if what we learn helps us move forward more effectively.

Sit back and really LOOK at what marvelous people you are.  Not one person here needs to “be fixed”.   Each person here has a desire to THRIVE, to find their own unique path that allows them to feel uniquely purposeful, to let their own light shine.   Each person may also have obstacles in their path to thrive, but these are considered mainly to create the training and/or supports needed to overcome those challenges on the way to personal greatness.

 Focus on what is IMPORTANT for 2017 !

Grab more blank papers !   In the center of each page, write 2017 and a person’s name, as well as one for the family.  This time, START WITH YOU !  Around the page, write one word for each aspect that is important in your life.  Of course you will include CHILD(ren).   I advise NOT to list each child separately on your own page (explained later), although you might include SCHOOL LIFE, to identify your involvement in the school process.   Being a parent is not ALL that you are, even though it may seem overwhelmingly so in certain moments.  Make sure to include things that make you… YOU,  things that nuture who you are, what you believe in, and how you feel… Mind, Body, Heart, and Soul.  These MUST be taken care of well… so you can take care of others well.

Circle each thing that is important to you, and draw a line back to the center 2017.  This is your world.  This is where you want to focus in the new year. You will do this for each family member, after your own has a grand start.  If your child is old enough to grasp the idea, get them IN on the conversation.  Find out what is important to them from their perspective.

When we can fully identify the important things for each member of the family, and be able to see the grand scheme before us, we can find ways to reach for those important things in a more effective way.

NOW, What can we do to THRIVE in 2017 ?  What do we want to ACHIEVE?

Now it is time to look at creating specific… DO-ABLE achivements for all of these important things.  Choose goals that you can get excited about?   Let’s look at some examples, to jump start your creative thinking.

Creating enthusiasm for Physical Activity

Walking for your health may be enjoyable, but what if you make it a goal to walk through 20 different local trails in nature parks around Lakeland or Polk County.  Scenery motivates !  If I lived on the beach, I would walk EVERY DAY !    I wonder how many “steps” are counted / calories are burned just by enjoying music activities with your child… in a Kindermusik class, or in your living room?  Which phone app or device do you have that can show the “steps” you are already doing as a parent?  Although that number may surprise you, especially if you have a toddler, how can you get excited about creating enthusiasm to meet your goals.   Here’s a fun one that doesn’t cost a thing, and you don’t even have to get out of comfy clothes…. turn up the tunes and get down and boogie with your child three times a day.  How’s that for specific, fun, and DO-able?

Reduce Stress

Meditating to reduce stress may be a good idea… but is that going to be a realistic part of your schedule?  Your child needs to learn to relax and de-stress as well.   Maybe your goal is to find 5 activities that help both you and your child find the calm within you.  Try out lots of new techniques, such as laying on your back shining a flashlight on the ceiling, and “conducting” along with some calming instrumental music.  I’ll be sharing lots of ideas in our Kindermusik programs, and on my Music Connections Facebook Page,  just right for each age.  Teaching these relaxation skills to a child when they are young will be one of the best gifts you can give th

em for their WHOLE LIFE, and can be a lifesaver for you.

Learn effective Parenting skills

When we gave birth to a child, we embarked on a life long learning experience.  The moments when I am able to actually USE new strategies I have learned and believe in… and watch it work, in the moment, or over time with my child, are some of my proudest personal achievements.  I’m a big fan of Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline, as well as the blogger from Moments A Day.  Choose the way that YOU like to learn:  read a book, watch a video, listen to an audio book or podcast (one of my favorites), participate in online parenting webinars, follow positive parenting sites on social media, or just talk with other parents, there is a wealth of information available that can educate and inspire you to new parenting heights.  Of course, my experience has taught me that there are countless ways that music can help with the parenting process, adding music to daily routines to help us accomplish so many of our goals, and make more enjoyable in the process, and I love to share these with families through Kindermusik and our community.   Through your process of learning, your achievable goal may be to choose ONE Skill per week to learn about and practice.  Trying to do too many things at once would be overwhelming.


What can you set out to do that will make life easier?  What can you use to make progress in a variety of areas?   In the previous examples, some of the potential goals covered benefits for more than one person, like dancing with your child.   Life is complicated…. let’s do what we can to make it a little easier.

Since research shows active engagement in music activates the whole brain and promotes development in all areas of our lives, perhaps being a part of a community of parents, all striving to help their children and their families THRIVE through music, may make it easier to reach so many of your family’s goals through this one process.   Attending weekly Kindermusik classes may already be a part of your achievable goals that help you focus on the path to what is important.  Or maybe you’d like to learn more, or try a class.  Connect with me, and let’s talk about what is important to you and your family, and see if this is a process that will help you make true progress toward your beautiful vision for your family

May this process of focusing on the positive in each person, focusing on what is important, and choosing achievable goals help you make the year 2017 the best year ever.  Where will you be in 10 years if you really do this and follow through every year?  Even if your follow through isn’t 100% perfect, remember to celebrate your increments of progress toward what is important to you.

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