Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Resolutions--You May Want to Change Yours

As I look around at the crates half-filled with Christmas decorations, other decorations sitting in piles awaiting to be packed, the boxes of d├ęcor taken down to make room for Christmas, the dust bunnies on the floor (why clean with all this mess?) and the scattering of pine needles, I can’t help but wish there was an after Christmas fairy to clean up this mess and put my house back to the pre-Christmas season order.

Although I have had plenty of thoughts floating around my head, I haven’t posted much lately.  I guess I have lacked motivation and time.  We had a wonderful Christmas in my family and my girls truly were appreciative of their gifts, even though they did not get everything they wanted.  And that right there strikes up thoughts in my mind of a post to do—our children and Christmas gifts.  I will probably wait till the beginning of next Christmas season to post this one.  But I have had some thoughts on New Year that I probably need to get writing about.

With the New Year most people like to make resolutions.  A few weeks later, most are not sticking with their resolutions.  Then they feel guilty, frustrated, or frankly don’t care at this point.  How is it that we can be so excited for the New Year and to turn a new leaf over, only for it to turn to disappointment? I think part of the problem is that people make grandiose resolutions, such as, “I am going to lose 50 pounds,” or “I am going to organize my entire house,” or “I am going to be a better parent.”  These all sound like great resolutions, but there is a huge problem with them.  They are very difficult to achieve, due either to the enormity of the goal or the vagueness of the goal.  Setting enormous goals, such as losing 50 pounds or organizing the entire house, just sets you up for failure.  “Being a better parent” is too vague?  How do you achieve that?  So, a few weeks or months down the road, you look back and see you have probably made no progress.  So, how can you set more realistic resolutions?

First, take a spin on things and make them more positive.  Instead of saying you are going to lose x number of pounds, why not focus on eating healthier?  Setting more positive goals makes them easier to achieve.  It is a lot easier on a day to day basis to strive to eat healthier than to lose 50 pounds. 

Another tip is to set smaller goals to achieve your ultimate goal.  Instead of trying to organize the entire house, why not start with organizing one room?  If the daily mail and bills is a clutter problem, why not set up a goal to spend 15 minutes a couple times a week to clear it up?

Lastly, don’t be vague in your resolutions.  Being a better parent could mean anything and without any specifics, you may not see what you are actually doing to reach that goal.  Add specific behaviors to your goal.  Examples, “I will have family game night two times a month,”  “I will say one positive thing to my child daily,”  or “I will read a book and find more creative solutions to parenting and work to implement 2 of them.”  By having this specific, well-defined goal, you will be more focused on what you need to do to achieve your goal.

Historically, I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, I strive to improve myself little by little all year.  I set goals for myself throughout the year and constantly strive to be a better person.

Happy New Year!  I’d love to hear what your goals for the New Year are.

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