The new year is here and that means you’ll be hearing: “How can you be a better you in the new year?” I’m sure you’ll see it as well: non-stop gym membership commercials on TV, advertisements for weight loss and diet centers on your Facebook feed…the list goes on. At the end of each year, we pick ourselves apart in an effort to try and find something to fix. While this is done with the best of intentions, New Year’s Resolutions often end up being something chosen from a pseudo-list of “things we hate about ourselves.” Even more often, we fail soon after starting. It’s hard to go from little to full-blown effort simply because the last digit of the year is changing.
I’ve done it. I have failed. I’ve tried again. Failed some more. Written lists and searched online for ideas. I’ve reevaluated. Recently and most importantly, I’ve changed my mindset. As a teacher turned stay-at-home-mom, I’m a planner by nature. I love empty notebooks, pens, and projects. The thought of drafting up a goal and then accomplishing it makes me giddy. If anyone should be on the resolution bandwagon, it’s me, but I’m not.
If something is important enough to us to elicit change, it should happen then, right? While I can get on board with the idea of a fresh start that a new year brings, it is so easy for our thoughts to wander down the path of “Whatever, my diet can start later” or “I can still smoke this cig, it’s not January yet!” Reverse that thought and it’s easy to tell ourselves “Oh well, maybe next year.” Resolutions can and should be made at any time if you think there is room for improvement! There is no due date to try and better ourselves.
With this in mind, I worked hard creating goals for how I want to live my life. As a teacher at heart it’s hard not to set specific goals such as “by the end of April I’ll have saved $350″… but at the end of the day, a goal so specific would be detrimental to my mental health. As a mom I already stress enough over daily parenting decisions so becoming disappointed about not meeting such high expectations doesn’t need to be added to my to-do list. I wrote my goals in the front of my planner because I use it daily. My planner would be a great place to see and refer to them regularly and to check in with myself about how I’m doing. This year, these same goals will be rewritten into my new planner. They all can still use work, they’re all very relevant to my life, and they all hold value in regards to my day to day happiness.
- Baby steps – I considered the process rather than the outcome. To me, any step in the right direction is better than none.
- Happiness – How will I feel when I am making progress on these goals? Is it really important to me?
- Holistic approach – I’m all or nothing. If I focus on one area, I know that others will surely find themselves lacking. I purposely thought of the different pieces of my life that were important. This one is really vital to me regarding a single resolution because I don’t want to let other things slide in order to focus on one goal.
Who knows…maybe it’s the season of unpredictability that guides my thoughts about being a little against the notion of “it’s January so make a resolution or don’t let the new year go to waste!” Life with a 2 year old and an infant is not always a walk in the park. I have my goals and will hold onto them, even if only the smallest of baby steps are made. Progress, not perfection. I’ll be kind to myself along the way, and I’ll work with intention knowing that each day will be a little better, somehow, than the last.
Happy New Year!