New Year’s Resolutions….do you, or don’t you? On the one hand, if you really want to make a change in your life, why wait until January 1st? You can do it anytime. On the other hand, I completely understand that the start of a new year is like having a clean slate. It’s a chance to be who you want to be, do what you meant to do last year, and possibly change the course of your future.
Make yourself happier and you will make your year happier.
1. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions”? Something about fitness goals, right? Almost every Mom (really, every woman…if she has children or not) wishes she was in better shape. Please don’t cause yourself extra pressure and stress this year by placing super high fitness standards on yourself all of a sudden. The last thing you need is another reason to feel like you’re failing or not doing enough. I recommend small, attainable changes… like signing up for a couple of 5K events. Or, sign up for a fitness class through your local Parks and Rec programs. These classes are generally affordable and short-term. So, you can try Pilates once a week for 6 weeks, and then try Zumba…whatever sounds fun to you. Maybe take walks more often with your family, or do 15 minutes of floor exercises 3 times a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but you’ll feel proud having done it (which is preferable to that ever-nagging feeling of having done nothing.)
2. Be a “Yes Mom” more often. (See our previous article on this topic.) They are kids, after all. Kids need limits – true – and we do need to put ourselves first sometimes and tell them no, for our own rest and sanity. But consider whether there might be opportunities to say YES that are actually relatively painless and make your child’s heart happy. They deserve it. “Yes, we can have a “silly dinner” tonight (a.k.a. cereal and yogurt). “Yes, you can have a sleepover with Mommy and Daddy tonight.” “Yes, you can wear that crazy mismatched off-season outfit to church today.” “Yes, we can go to the park when I get home from work today.”
3. Do something for yourself once a week (at least). Paint your nails. Take a bubble bath. Go shopping by yourself. Watch a chick flick. Have a girls’ night out with friends. Order dinner instead of cooking it. Make a list of things that make make you happy, and look it over each week to decide what you will fit in for yourself. You know what they say…. “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” Really, that’s supposed to be a message to husbands to take care of their wives, but you can apply it to yourself, too. You need to be happy in order to have a full heart for your family.
4. If you’re married, resolve to communicate with your husband more this year. Talk to your him about what you need. They’re not mind-readers, and some men, to be honest, are not intuitive at ALL. Wouldn’t it be nice if after 10 years of marriage they understood your heart and your love language perfectly and made every effort to meet those needs? That may not happen, so I recommend TALKING to your husband. Tell him what kinds of things make you feel happy (be specific!). Tell him what kinds of help you need. Tell him when you’re feeling down, or overwhelmed. But don’t forget to also tell him what you appreciate about him. How hard he works…what a good Dad he is…how he makes you feel when you’re spending intimate time together. He has needs, too, and wants to feel like you are proud of him. Even just a quick email or text during his work day can bless his heart in a BIG way, and help him to think more about you. Communication goes a LONG way and helps us to avoid resentment. Expecting him to be a mind reader is a mistake…even if you think he should already know what you’re feeling. I’m guilty of this.
5. Give up on being perfect – the quicker we do this, the better our year will be. We all know “that Mom” who is seemingly doing it all better…more perfectly. But the reality is, we are all wired differently, have different priorities and talents. So focus on the things you are really good at as a Mom (and/or wife) and be proud of the job you’re doing. “Perfect” is not realistic, and if your joy and energy are constantly zapped because you’re trying to reach some made-up standard of excellence…it’s just not worth it. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your life. Don’t let the world tell you that you’re not doing enough. Make a resolution this year to not feel inadequate because there is dust on the shelves and you haven’t taken on a Pinterest project with your kids. It’s not important. Your happiness is important. (I’m talking to myself right now!)
Happy New Year! And remember, if you take care of YOU, then you can be a better – and happier – Mom.