Losing weight, quitting smoking, and saving money are all popular resolutions… but the problem with these is that if you slip up, you feel like a failure… in fact, 92% of all resolutions are doomed to fail.
But New Year’s is still a great time for a little reflection and thinking of areas where we can improve. What if we took a different approach to a resolution this year… little changes, a different way of thinking or new habits that improve how we feel or our relationships with others. Perhaps these smaller steps will help us achieve some of our larger goals as well.
So if you haven’t given up on making a New Year’s Resolution altogether, here are some new ideas to get you rolling. Pick one as it is, or change it so it fits you better.
1. Read more, internet less. Mid-way through last year I decided that anytime I’d be tempted to surf the web or waste time on facebook/pinterest/twitter/instagram, I’d read instead. As a result, I devoured book after book, saved a little money from online shopping, and felt less chained to social media. I also read some really great stories I never would have “had time for” before.
2. Read in front of your kids. Don’t save your book for when you’re in bed and the kids are asleep… let them see you read. Bring a book to the doctors office waiting room, let it be an accessory if you don’t get the chance to open it. Read your book while they read or look at pictures of their own books during a family reading time. Set an example for reading if your kids normally see you thumbing away at your phone, have them see you turning pages of a book instead.
3. Get more fresh air. Find an excuse every day for a little bit of fresh air no matter how big or how small. Work in an office? Park farther away from the building just to get a few extra seconds of fresh air. Have your coffee on your front steps when it gets warmer or, if you have the time, get out and take a walk. Whatever you do, breathe more outdoor air doing it.
4. Make a regular girls night. Join us at Wine Down when we have it, or Monday night at Wine Loft since you get a discount. Try a new restaurant every month, have a new house host each month, share some wine and let the kids eat mac and cheese and run wild. Whatever you decide and fits your lifestyle, just get together for a girls only night.
5. Be more personal with your Facebook friends. A friend announced her pregnancy, send her a message and some words of encouragement. Someone experienced a loss in the family, call them or send them something personal. Get out of the habit of hearts and stickers and actually reach out to them.
6. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Old college friends, high school even elementary school friends… we’re still in touch with all of them thanks to social media but it’s not the same as actually hearing someones voice.
7. Start a new family tradition. Start a tradition of writing a letter to your child each new year or on their birthday that they can open later. Start a popcorn movie night once a month. Whatever you pick, find something that you or your family can count on that brings you closer together.
8. Learn something new. Kids are learning new skills all the time, but what about you? Make it practical like finally learning how to sew, something fun like photography, or maybe a work-related skill that might benefit you later on. Choose something that you can get excited about.
9. Say “No.” more. If you find yourself pulled in too many directions, vow to say “no” this year to something that you know in advance is going to overwhelm you later. Remind yourself that when we bog ourselves down with too many obligations, we aren’t able to do our best at any of them. What’s more, we have a hard time slowing down to enjoy what’s happening around us.
10. Say “Yes.” more. This might seem like a complete contradiction to #9, but saying “no” to some big obligations might make more room to say “yes” to your kids more often. If they ask you to play with them, talk to them, take them out for ice cream, think about saying “yes” more often. Sometimes a good tea party, or Pokemon battle or an impromptu froyo date is more important than whatever you though was keeping you “too busy”.
11. Do kind things for others in front of your kids. If you want to raise your kids to be considerate of others, set the example when they’re there with you. It might be small, but kids notice. They might even compliment you on it.
12. Find more time for you. Make yourself more of a priority. Go out for a massage once a month, take yoga, paint pottery or leave the kids with your spouse and take a walk around the block in silence. Whether it’s being alone or spending time with a friend, find more time to do what helps you reset and start fresh.
13. Foster a sense of community. This was my personal resolution in 2013 and it was so personally rewarding it almost felt selfish. Think of this on a macro and micro perspective. On a larger level, you can do something out in the Richmond community, but you can also foster a micro sense of community with your friends. Bring a meal to a sick friend, volunteer with your kids right in your own home; if you’re a nursing mom, go to a La Leche League meeting, or support other moms in your local playgroup.
14. Cook with your kids. Family dinners are a great time for bonding, but making dinners can be a great bonding experience too. Aside from being a great skill for the future, teaching the kids to cook has both long and short term pay offs… in the short term, it may encourage them to try new foods; in the long term, when the kids are old enough, you can put them in charge of dinner every once in a while, giving you a night off.
15. Reserve judgement. Next time you feel that sense of judgement creeping up, squash it. If we really want to end the “mommy wars” then we gotta start with ourselves first.
16. Date your spouse. Oh yeah, that person. They aren’t just a co-parent… you actually like them. Make an effort to show them you care more often.
17. Think before you post. Before you post something on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram ask yourself, “Why am I sharing this?” Is it funny? Is it thoughtful? Is it hurtful? Are you trying to make someone jealous or looking for something in return? I won’t suggest what to do once you asked that question; that part is up to you.
18. Say “Thank You” more. Thank your kids when they’ve done something nice for their sibling, thank your spouse for doing the dishes, thank your coworker if they’ve helped you out. Find small moments to thank others for the everyday things they do for you… not only will it make them feel good, but it reminds you to be thankful in the first place.
19.Visit a Richmond landmark you’ve never been to before. If there’s a local place you’ve always been meaning to go, make an effort to go there this year. Who knows, you might discover a new favorite.
20. Quality over quantity. Whether it’s food, or a purchase, or your time… think quality over quantity in all the things you do.
21. Stop putting yourself down in front of your kids. Having worked retail for a number of years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen moms say they’re fat in front of their kids, who look up at them with pure adoration. Of course, it would be great if you stopped the negative talk altogether, but start small by not saying it in front of your children.
22. Have more meaningful conversations with your kids. Go beyond “how was your day” and share more about what’s happening in the world with the little people in your life. Ask them what they think about a particular situation you might find yourself in, or what they think about a current event. Try not to steer them in any direction and listen to what they have to say. They might surprise you.
23. Wake up earlier. Ew, right? But if you’re not an early riser, try waking up just 15 minutes earlier to give you more time to set the tone for the day.
24. Bring sexy back. Whatever that means to you… bring it back. After all, sexy is what brought you to this parenting place to begin with; no reason you have to ditch it now.
25. Don’t be a martyr. Stop suffering in silence. If you need help, speak up. If something makes you unhappy, make a change. Things won’t get better until you do something about it.
What do you resolve to do this year? Share some of your favorite resolutions in the comments below.