It’s the time when we look back on the year past…and forward to the year ahead. Often we make resolutions, deciding which actions we will take to make the next year different. I’ll offer couple of thoughts about making change:

One tool I find particularly useful is The Wheel of Life, available to download on The tool helps you take inventory of the important roles in your life. Once you’ve completed The Wheel of Life, you’ll have a bird’s eye view to identify the areas where you’d like to make change.

Another way to spark change is to change the way you think. You can stop the knee-jerk reactions to daily stress by practicing the steps outlined in the acronym HEART. 

These five steps will help you change your brain and the patterns that cause conflictHere are the five steps:

  1. H – Hit the brakes.
    When I walk in the door after working with students and my kids are lounging around a messy family room on their devices, I want to throw a temper tantrum. But when I hit the brakes for a minute, I get time to collect my thoughts. I realize that I can greet my kids and make requests that get the room picked up AND set us up for a fun evening together. 

    *You may even want to put your hand on your heart to add to your ability to slow down and relax before reacting. This is a proven self-calming technique.

  1. E – Examine the belief that’s driving the negativity: What am I telling myself?
    Why am I so worked up? 

    I am telling myself that my kids are lazy and sloppy, don’t care about me, I am a terrible parent, and it’s never going to change. I haven’t taught them how to be responsible, they are spoiled, and we’re doomed for failure.

  1. A – Ask: Am I telling myself the truth?
    Hmmm…no. It feels like the truth when my switch flips, but in reality my kids are capable of being kind and don’t mean to be disrespectful. They are bored or tired or taking the easy way out, sure, but I know they want our relationship to be strong. I believe this truth: I can help them change their habits as I am changing mine.
  2. R – Replace the negative thought.
    What would I rather be thinking? I have been looking forward to seeing these people all day, and I want to hug them and hear how they’re doing. I replace the negative feelings with positive ones of love and care for them. 

This frames my state of mind for making requests that will get the family room picked up!

  1. T – Tap into positive emotion: Practice!
    Our emotions have a huge influence on our actions and interpretations. Realize that your feelings can lie to you about a situation. The more you can tap into positive emotions of gratitude and joy, the easier it will be to practice replacing negative patterns with positive ones.

Once you’ve mastered the HEART technique yourself, you can teach your children how to change theirs. 

There’s no better time than now to use these methods for change into your life. For more, visit the new Parent Resources page on As always, I’m here to help.

Happy New Year. May 2021 bring only the best to you and yours!

Cara Thorpe
Founder & Visionary
Yellow Parachute Learning Partners