Ah, yes. New Year’s resolutions. That time when we celebrate with friends, family, and sometimes total strangers and resolve to do better and be more in the coming new year; resolving to fix perceived wrongs or shortcomings in the name of self-improvement and general wellness and well-being. Despite our best intentions, however, we often come up short. According to Forbes back in 2013, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. And, according to Business Insider, 80% of resolutions fail by February. I would guess that those two figures don’t exactly leave you brimming with confidence and high hopes for the coming New Year. Don’t worry, I too was bummed out after reading those numbers.

At this point, you must be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but how does this relate to my pet at all?” Ok, I hear you. Calm down, I’m getting there. Allow me a moment to build some suspense.

 

Consider a classic New Year’s resolution like hitting the gym and improving your overall health. I would wager that most people who follow through on those resolutions had a partner or friend there alongside them every step of the way. This fosters a system of accountability, a structure of support and encouragement that can help you follow through on your goals. Here’s a thought: what if our partner – or, rather, our “resolution buddy” – was our pet? I am sure you’ve seen those yearly lists of pet-centric New Year’s resolutions, and I am certainly the last person to discourage such ideas; in fact, I am all for them. But what I am suggesting is something that speaks to the very nature of the relationships we have with our pets. Our furry companions can be our best friends, our family, the ever-dependable and ever-present partners in life. So, instead of making resolutions for your pet this year, why not pivot on that resolution and make it about you and your pet? Create that system of accountability and strengthen the bonds between pet and human.

 

The examples are numerous and can start with the simplest of resolutions. If you want to be more nutrition-conscious in the New Year, make a resolution to not only track and measure your pet’s food, but your own eating habits, as well. Hold yourself and your pet accountable about what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. It’s an easy way to share the challenges of a new nutritional journey. If health and wellness are on your mind for the New Year, schedule visits to the doctor’s office and the vet’s office for a check up! You can even take the opportunity to begin medical logs for you and your pet.

 

Perhaps your resolution for 2018 is to get outdoors and be more active. How can you share those adventures with your pet and create that system of accountability? Make an effort to plan play dates with other pets, carve out some time in your weekly schedule for one-on-one play time, or go for more car rides together as you head off on new adventures. Or maybe it’s time to dedicate a little more energy to responsibility and general “adulting.” If you want to start a new savings account, start one for your pet. You never know when a pet rainy day fund could help with an unforeseen illness or medical emergency. If you have resolved to declutter, take some time to throw out those old chew toys or clean up your pet’s living space.

 

Whatever your resolution may be for the coming New Year, there is always a way to include your pet. Besides creating that important buddy-system for accountability, making resolutions with both you and your pet in mind delves into the very heart of the special bond between a human and their furry companion. Our pets occupy such an important space in our lives. So, why not include them in your New Year’s resolution? After all, each New Year is an opportunity to start fresh, to begin anew, and work hard towards a goal that will, hopefully, improve your life and bring a little joy to your world. That sounds to me like something your pet might get behind, too.

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