As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016, I can’t help but notice all the people around me who are making resolutions for the new year. Whether it’s to lose some weight, be more present or even just stop yelling at your family, all these resolutions have one thing in common. They all involve at least one concrete goal they want to focus on to make changes in 2017.
Meanwhile, I’m over here like, what resolution? Truth be told, I’m not a resolution kind of person. I don’t believe that focusing on one concrete goal for the new year will suddenly make you a better person.
Why wait until the new year, even? Why not start at any point in the year? I just don’t get it. And let’s be honest, as a busy mom, that new year’s resolution somehow gets lost in the carpooling, the meal planning and the maybe actually squeezing in a workout at some point of day-to-day life.
Resolutions just don’t work for me. I’ve come to accept that. But does that mean that I can’t still take time to look back on the year and focus on what worked, what didn’t and what I’d like to change? I don’t think I should be left out of the magic of a new year just because I don’t want to stick to a set resolution.
My No-Resolution Resolution
So I’ve switched it up a little. Instead of focusing on just one concrete goal, I want to focus on a broader sense of improvement. One that involves practicing good habits with my child all year long, and not just to meet this singular goal.
No, it’s not a new year’s parenting resolution, but instead more like a Parenting Manifesto I will carry out all year long, and in years to come. How will I create and stick to this new manifesto you ask? By implementing two simple guidelines.
1. Be Realistic
Some days are tough. I may not get out of my yoga pants all day, and instead of the Pinterest recipe I saved last week, my family is left to eat leftovers, or *gasp* fend for themselves. I know I’m not going to become Supermom overnight and, honestly, I don’t want to be. I want to be me, just a me that gets better with age. Like a fine wine.
So, while I’m writing up my Parenting Manifesto, you won’t find anything unrealistic in it. Instead of saying I will cook three organic meals daily, every day of the week, and my family will no longer eat anything bad for them, I’m going to aim for realism. I’m going to improve my family’s diet by cooking dinner six nights a week and reducing the amount of junk food I buy. See the difference? One is asking too much all at once, while the other one is specific and attainable.
2. Create Habits
One of the biggest reasons I just don’t understand New Year’s resolutions is because they’re usually specific goals the person hopes to form out of nowhere. Like how can you go from partying on New Year’s Eve with drinks in your hand, surrounded by friends and staying up until early-morning hours, to setting a resolution the very next day stating that you will go out less or get more sleep?
No. Instead, I want to focus on creating habits and setting myself up for success. What can I start doing today that will help me reach my manifesto goals tomorrow? Fifty percent of everyday life is habitual, which can make change quite difficult. But if you know this, you can start modifying your habits to make change a bit easier. For example, you want to go to bed earlier so you get more sleep. Instead of jumping from 2:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., go to bed an hour earlier each week until you meet your goal.
I plan to use these two main guidelines to make my Parenting Manifesto work for me so it has the best chance of being successful. My manifesto will focus on the following areas:
Too often as moms, we prioritize everything and everyone before ourselves. But that doesn’t do any good because we end up tired and miserable as we meet everyone’s needs but our own. Which is why I plan to make self-care a part of my manifesto in 2017, because if mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy.
My self-care routine will consist of spending an hour a day to recharge and do something just for me. Even if I just sneak off to a bubble bath and a glass of wine, it’s valuable me time that will make me a better wife and mother.
Since I want my manifesto to teach my daughter good habits as well, I plan to talk to her about self-care and encourage her to take some quiet time each day where she does something that makes her feel good and recharge.
It’s easy for me to find myself on the couch late at night with a jar of peanut butter and my own version of Netflix and chill. The next morning, I feel sluggish from the night before. I don’t want to do this anymore. So, in 2017, I will focus on eating healthier and creating better habits so I’m not tempted to dive into a bag of chocolate or a whole jar of peanut butter.
I want to be mindful about what I’m putting into my body, which includes buying less junk food and drinking more water. I may even challenge my husband to see who can meet their water consumption goal each day for a week.
Spending time with my daughter is important to me. I want to connect with her and learn about her daily, but sometimes we get so lost in the daily to-do list and chaos of managing a family that we don’t get in that quality time.
I want to have a special night with my daughter every week. Maybe she picks the activity or maybe I plan a surprise date. It doesn’t matter what we do as long as we are spending time together, unplugged from the electronics and focusing on connecting with each other. I also want to include a date night with my husband and a mom’s night out with my girlfriends each month.
This will help me continue to build the important relationships in my life and focus on my family so we all stay connected all year long.
I plan to put all of this together in my new Parenting Manifesto and hang it up somewhere so I see it daily. I want to be mindful and intentional about every action in 2017 as I work to improve my habits, my health and my relationships in the new year.
I look forward to including my daughter in these new habits to teach her the importance of each area I’m focusing on. For once, I’m excited about creating new habits in the new year instead of dreading this unattainable resolution method I’ve always done. What will your 2017 manifesto include?