Even if you’re not a fan of “resolutions” per se, I think we’re all looking for ways to make sure the upcoming year is our best ever. To that end, I decided to call upon some of my expert friends to help point us in the right direction…and boy, did they ever rise to the challenge! I was blown away by their thoughtful, life-enhancing ideas, and I’m sure you will be too. (Click on the experts’ names to check out their websites for more great info!)
The Relationship Expert: Cynthia Loyst
Want to know the secret of how to make your relationship better in 2018?
Make time to work on yourself as an individual.
Whether this means you commit to learning a new skill, obtaining some personal coaching/therapy or simply carving out more “me-time” – the more you add to your own personal happy bucket, the more strength you will have to draw upon when it comes to working on your relationship.
So often people come to relationships with this idea that they need the other person to “complete them” and look to their partner for validation and self-worth. Not only is this false but it’s also dangerous. The best relationships are born from two whole people who are willing to work on their own shortcomings and also continually look to themselves first for pleasure and happiness.
I’d love to see people resolve to live with less… and with better quality. I know it’s hard for consumers to resist the urge to buy inexpensive mass-produced items, but I feel that it promotes the disposable world we live in. I cherish the special, handmade pieces that have been crafted by artisans with passion and purpose. They tell a story, they have soul, and they make your home a unique, personal statement, not a mass-produced carbon copy of every other house in the neighbourhood. If you are thinking about redecorating, my first piece of advice is to empty the room, edit and declutter. Before you re-introduce anything into the room ask yourself if you love it or need it? If you don’t, why have it? This is a very distilled and simplified lesson from William Morris, founder of the Arts & Crafts Movement who said “have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I live by this guiding principle!
The Parenting Expert: Alyson Schafer
It has become increasingly clear in the research that our society in general and our families specifically are suffering from chronic stress related ailments. Childhood depression, anxiety, ADHD, obesity and other diagnoses can be directly traced back to the roots of chronic unabated stress response. For 2018, I would invite families to call this the year of taking stress seriously and doing all they can to reduce it. How?? Mindfulness mediation is a great start and if that is all you can manage through great apps like Calm, 10 & Happier, Mindspace etc., then great.Reduce the biological stress load by making a commitment to eating better. More fats and less sugars. Less packaged foods and more organic greens and grass fed grass finished meats. Reduce stress by decreasing your extracurriculars and slowing down the pace of family life.Reduce stress by improving your relationship health within the marriage and with your children. We are so distracted by multitasking and digital competition for our attention that we aren’t engaging as deeply in the family.Take a breath and make an intention to off load stress each and every day. Bit by bit. Step by step. One habit at a time..
The Tech Expert: Amber MacArthur
As we head into 2018, it’s a good time to take your tech security seriously. Whether you use a manager to create stronger passwords (e.g. such as Dashlane) or download quality software to protect your computer and IoT devices (e.g. Bitdefender), it’s never been easier to protect yourself.
The Style Expert: Lisa McLatchie
As women, we can be really hard on ourselves when it comes to our bodies and our perceived “flaws” – myself included.
But instead of obsessing about what we don’t like about our body and trying to “fix” it by wearing clothes that minimize or disguise, let’s make a mindset shift in 2018.
Instead, let’s focus our energy on the area(s) of our bodies we DO like and then show it off.
If it’s your great legs, wear a shorter skirt.
If it’s your shaped waist, wear a wrap dress.
If it’s your bust, wear a fitted top.
If it’s your sexy collarbone, wear a scoop neck top.
If it’s your curvy hips, wear some skinny pants.
Let’s focus on the positive, amplify our assets, and be grateful for the good stuff.
The Money Expert: Melissa Leong
To be happier with the money that you have, spend on time savers.
Research shows that people who value time over money are happier
people. Think of it this way: if you lose a dollar, you can earn it
again. If you lose a minute, it’s gone forever. So spend money on the
things that will give you the gift of time. In the ultimate purchase
of time, I walked away from a $65,000 full-time salary to buy 2,610
more hours a year with my kid (assuming I would’ve worked eight hours
and commuted for two hours, five days a week). It has taken sacrifice
and planning; but I don’t believe that I will ever regret the decision
and I resolve for 2018 to continuing putting my money, time and effort
into things that are inline with my values.
The Etiquette Expert: Lisa Orr
RESOLUTION: SET THE TABLE & EAT TOGETHER, EVERY DAYAt our house as you can imagine dining rituals are really important but as the kids are getting older and everyone is getting busier sometimes it can be hard to find time to sit down all together for a meal. So the one resolution I would have for every family, including my own, is to set the table at least once a day and share a meal together. Cloth napkins, proper plates and cutlery and absolutely no tech at the table. The key is to make it feel special. The one challenge many families run into with this is that evenings are often hectic with team practices and after school activities so it can be hard to find a time that works for everyone. An alternative if dinner is too complicated, is to get up a little earlier and try it at breakfast or worst case sit down for a cup of tea together just before bed. No matter what time of day it is, a daily meal together is a ritual that is worth working hard to preserve because as much as it allows you to practice traditional dining etiquette it also lets you work on those softer skills like how to make conversation, and perhaps most important it’s a time you can rely on to connect as a family.
The Food Experts: Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh (Sweet Potato Chronicles)
To make life easier, we encourage parents to embrace meal planning. We know, we know, it seems like we’re giving you more work to do! But honestly, nothing saves you more time, money and stress than taking a few minutes every week to map out the meals you’ll be making. And get everyone involved – this should not fall on one person’s (usually Mom!) shoulders. If everyone suggests a couple of dinners and lunches they want to see on the meal plan you’ll be on your way to happier meal times.
The Education Expert: Kate Winn
While leery of calling myself an expert, I do have a goal for families based on my many years of teaching: model a love of reading for your child. Carve out time as often as possible to read for pleasure: books, newspapers, magazines (I love the Texture app, where I read more than 20 magazines a month); whatever you enjoy. Make sure your child sees you reading, and even better, invite them to cuddle up next to you with their own reading material. Even as your child becomes an independent reader, spend time sharing a book together. You can take turns reading aloud, or you can read a more challenging book to your child. I know some families who have their own “book clubs”; reading the books on their own time and then getting together to discuss them afterwards (this may give you the chance to revisit children’s classics or explore themes and issues from some of the fantastic young adult titles out there). Anything you can do to make your child see that reading is valuable, and even better, enjoyable, is a huge investment into their education and future.