January is here once again, and after the excess of the holiday season, the start of a new calendar feels like a good time for a clean start. (It also seems like a good time to buy some new toy storage solutions, but that’s probably another post!) Although time is arbitrary, the annual ritual of refreshing our lives in big ways or small can provide meaning.
As a work-from-home mom, my life is very much oriented around my family. My constant wish is to “be a better parent.” I strive for that year-round of course, but I continually fall short. And that’s an audacious and ambiguous resolution. Perhaps in 2020 I can take some steps to be a more mindful, present parent, or at the very least yell less… Here are some ideas for what that might look like for me:
- Say no to overscheduling, or at least scale back on some activities.
- PLAY – even though it’s hard for me. After I wrote about that, a friend shared that she will set a timer and play for 15 minutes before making dinner. It makes play lose that endless feeling and allows her to be fully present for her child. I hope to try this tactic and spend more intentional one-on-one time with my girls too.
- Take better care of myself, as a healthier mama will always be a better one! (This is still quite ambiguous but a good general idea to strive for I think.)
These seem more like 2020 goals. Perhaps that’s the trick, to call resolutions goals, knowing it’s OK to fall short as long as you keep moving in the right direction.
I’ve only had true success with two New Year’s resolutions in my life. I’m sure I’ve made other resolutions that stuck for a while but not forever.
The first successful resolution was to floss my teeth more regularly. Adding something to my life in this case, a type of resolution that may be less obvious as my brain tends to think of restriction as a synonym for resolution. I have been a regular flosser for years now, after neglecting it in my teens and early 20s. And it’s become habit enough that it would feel beyond weird to skip it.
Taking something away from my life is much harder, although my second successful resolution was exactly that. A few years ago, I was surprised by how many magazines I purchased in the checkout lines. It was a prize for myself or reward for getting through a shopping trip. (The thing is I actually like shopping just fine as long as I can do it without my kids, so I’d do it even without a reward!) The costs were adding up, and I decided to see how long I could go without adding a magazine to the cart on my way through the checkout line.
It turned out to be not so difficult to manage, and I went a few years without any impulse magazine purchases. This past December, I treated myself to some Christmas issues and felt that old thrill as I flipped the pages. (That seems important to say as someone who writes for a magazine now–print media is amazing! Always read Baton Rouge Parents Magazine!) I have let my magazine subscriptions lapse as I’ve done more and more of my reading on my digital devices, but I may allow myself some flexibility and renew a subscription or two this year (buying just a few issues on the news stand would pay for a subscription!). I’d still like to keep myself from spending on newsstand issues though and not slip back into old bad habits.
What are your 2020 goals, and have you had success with resolutions in the past?