As the New Year arrives, it’s natural to think about turning over a new leaf. Bad habits to stop. Good habits to start. Resolutions to keep.
On a personal level, maybe you’d like to lose a few pounds next year, get out of debt, get better organized, or read a book every week. Those are all great goals. But make sure you also have specific resolutions for your fathering.
Maybe you need to look at the long hours at work and start being more intentional about scheduling time with your family. Maybe you need to develop more patience or emotional stability, so you’re a better model for your kids. Does your children’s mother have some needs that remain unmet? How can you be more thoughtful and romantic as a husband?
These aren’t just rhetorical questions. This is about you creating an action plan. How do you start? Thankfully, the New Year holiday provides us with some extra free time—then things will get a lot busier again next week. So spend some of your time this week reflecting with a pen and paper or sitting at your computer. Think about your children and how they’ve grown and changed in the last twelve months. What issues are they dealing with now, and what challenges will each of them face during the next year?
Write down your ideas, and then have a “visioning session” with each of your children. Ask them what they’d like to learn and accomplish in the coming year, and don’t let them say, “I don’t know.” No dream is too big! Discuss these with your child’s mother, and come up with specific ways you can help prepare your kids for those challenges or help them attain their goals and dreams.
Dad, this is a great time to recommit yourself to your family with passion and selflessness. To truly make changes, start with your own plan of action. But be warned—changes are never easy. Putting your plan into action could cause a lot of tension and discomfort; it will influence how you spend your time, your money, and your energy. It may stretch you a bit, but stick with it, because it can also bring great rewards.
ACTION POINTS

  • As you put together a list of ways you’d like to improve as a dad, pick one to focus on at a time, and really work on it. It’s unrealistic to think you can make 5 or 10 changes at once.
  • One ready-made set of New Year’s resolutions is our Championship Fathering Commitment. Find out more.
  • Resolve to get ongoing support and encouragement as a father. Commit to reading each weekly e-mail next year. Or, commit to reading one article from our website each week—the Championship Fathering section is a great place to start.
  • Commit to helping other dads in your neighborhood be more involved. Help start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program at your child’s school.
  • Have you set good fathering resolutions in the past? If so, please share them with us and how they worked for you. We’ll pass them on to other dads.