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Good to Go: How to set realistic family resolutions

Monday - 12/30/2013, 2:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON - The start of a brand new year is a time to look forward and think about setting goals and expectations. And for parents, having more patience, spending more time with children and slowing down busy lives to enjoy the small moments top the lists of New Year's resolutions.

Local parent coach and licensed therapist Kerrie LaRosa helps many parents with their goals every year. And while she says these goals are all admirable, LaRosa says the problem with resolutions, in general, is that "we set lofty, vague goals that are difficult to achieve and maintain."

So, how can parents turn New Year's resolutions into an everyday reality?

"Set small, manageable goals and celebrate each small step towards the goal," LaRosa says. "Once you have achieved those smaller goals, feel free to reach higher and push yourself to do more."

LaRosa offers some examples of smaller goals and tips to aim for this year:

  • In order to be a more patient parent, focus on specific ways to achieve that. Take lots of deep breaths and take time for yourself -- even if it is five minutes a day.

  • If you want to spend more time with your children, set a small goal of leaving a few minutes early from work, one day each week.

  • If your goal is to be more present, focus on spending at least 10 minutes of play time with your child each day, without distractions or electronics.

"The key is to start small, make it manageable, be realistic and be kind to yourself," LaRosa says. "Celebrating the small successes will fuel your motivation to keep trying."

Editor's Note: WTOP's Katie Howard is a mom on the go. With two children under age 5, she's always looking for ways to provide her family fast and healthy snacks, meals and activities. Katie shares her go-to food and family fitness tips on her blog "Good to Go."

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