I know you already know the calendar is moving on to a new year. Hellloooo 2019! Oh hey, New Year’s Resolutions!
I love the new year. I love the sparkle I associate with new years. Everything fizzes with champagne I imagine I can drink and shimmers with gold and silver. The reminder of a new year makes everyone warm and fuzzy with hope. Hope that that the next year will be great. (Or just better than the last if you’ve had a rough year.)
Maybe you know great things are already happening. I’m super excited to welcome a niece in the spring and I’m really looking forward to learning how to mentor as a teacher. But what about the rest?
I have a lot of goals. Fired by simple wishes, fantasy dreams and some good ol’ determination. But Life happens. Momming happens, and kids, husbands, work, and the weather all happen. And unless you are PLANNING our your goals in detail they won’t happen.
So what kind of plans and goals should you be making? Take some time to reflect on the past year. First think of all the good. What happened that brought you joy? What are you proud of? Were you inspired? Then – Where can you improve?
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The Two Types of Goals You Need
Before we get into the endless possibilities of categories of goals for your new year’s resolutions just remember they all fall under one of two tiers. Personal Growth and Family Growth. You should be thinking about and planning for both.
I’m growing. No, not growing another person like many of you moms out there. I’m growing myself. Like a plant – where I not so humbly envision myself as a beautiful sunflower – I’m continuously growing. I am not satisfied with just surviving. I refuse to stay in one place or be “good enough”.
Mothering is freaking hard. Teaching is hard, relationships, and life in general can be hard. We all know this. We all also all know that there is so much joy and wonder in life and if you are reading this you are probably privileged enough to be leading a life with fewer hardships than many around the world. But knowing you have it easier than most does not actually lead to happiness or make you a taller plant.
What makes you grow? Reflection and hard work. Reflect on what is working and what isn’t. Be brutally honest with yourself. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by ignoring your shortcomings (we’ve all got em’). You have to recognize an area of need to be able to fill it and advance.
Lets take it back to the two specific tiers of growth you should focus on.
- Personal growth. What can you and you alone do to benefit you as a human being.
- Family growth. What can you help your family identify as a need and work together on?
Notice that personal growth is all about YOU. What you want to be able to do and what you need to do to get there. It will all boil down to you – your choices, your priorities, your actions.
Family growth requires more than you. It requires teamwork from every capable person involved. This is not a place to play the blame game or ask other people to make new year’s resolutions that benefit you. It is a space to talk together as a family about what EVERYONE thinks is important and how each person can realistically contribute.
Choosing Personal New Year’s Resolutions
There are endless directions to choose to put your energy and grow. I’d suggest starting with your basic needs that affect your physical and mental health.
For example, an area I struggle with is anxiety. I have decided to focus my goal on tracking my anxiety, figuring out what triggers it, and figuring out how to both prevent it and handle it better. That in itself is a great starting point for a New Year’s resolution but I wanted to take it further and make it a “S.M.A.R.T.” goal.
(“S.M.A.R.T.” is the handy-dandy acronym to help you remember what your goal should include to make it most likely to be attainable. Google it if you haven’t heard about it. Seriously. Its good.)
Here’s what that looks like for me:
- Specific – I want to decrease the amount of anxiety I experience.
- Measurable – I will track the anxiety I experience to understand how often and when I experience it.
- Achievable – I’m using the term “decrease” instead of “eliminate”. Just keepin’ it real.
- Relevant – Yes, this is really happening and important to my mental health.
- Time bound – This is a tricky one as I’m not sure how long to realistically expect this goal to take. I’m going to start with 6 months in general while adding a monthly evaluation of how I’m doing.
I’m also writing personal goals for my work and blog but I’m keeping them realistic. My practice in the classroom reminds me that nothing can go from 100 to 0 or 0 to 100 in a snap. Start where you are.
I could write goals all day with endless areas I’d love to work on but I also have a lively one-year-old, a handsome hubby and two snugly pups I like to focus my attention on. Not to mention the house unfortunately still isn’t cleaning itself.
Choosing Family New Year’s Resolutions
Did any of you super organizers think to yourself “hey, she isn’t writing a cleaning New Year’s resolution!” Well I am, its just not a personal goal. Guys… I like things being clean and all but I’m also not bothered with the fluffs of dog hair bunching up in every corner of my house on a daily basis. I love to admire a squeaky clean counter top but I’m also totally capable of walking right by a sink of dishes unfazed. *MOST OF THE TIME*
The times that it bothers me? On week days when I’m already 5 minutes past my leave time in the morning and I still have to wash out Dante’s lunch box because he has an affinity for squishing raspberries. On nights when I don’t have the energy to care that I’m apparently the only one who sees that the trash is too full or that the same almost empty box of super stale cheerios has been sitting open on the counter for at least three weeks.
There are three adults, one toddler, and two large dogs in my under 2,000 square-foot house. So let me be the first to say I CANNOT CONTROL MY HOUSE ALONE.
A couple weeks ago I was super sick. I hardly ever get sick but I was completely useless for a good five days from a sinus and ear infection. when I got better I noticed the kitchen was suddenly cleaner. I thanked my husband for cleaning out the bottles and he turned to me and said something like
” Yeah, well, I realized how much it takes a toll on you and that you can’t do it alone”.
Now do not get the wrong impression. My husband is a fantastic father, partner, hard worker and he cooks! Lord, he cooks the most delicious things. He is great at so many things but he has never, ever, cleaned the bathroom or folded laundry and the sight of him doing dishes is RARE. Until now.
Why? Because we made a family goal. Because we both realized that no one can or should do it alone. We made a goal together.
I think the most important factor in making a family goal is having all members be equally striving to improve and work on the goal together. Keeping the kitchen cleaner would be a personal goal if my husband was not on board. And then since you know its minimal importance to my personal happiness, it wouldn’t even likely be a goal.
But the truth is that the cleanliness of our kitchen DOES impact our FAMILY. It impacts how efficiently we get ready in the mornings and how willing we are to make a nutritious meal in the evenings.
Will our kitchen be spotless every night? No. That’s not our goal. Its not realistic.
Our goal is to decrease mess in the kitchen by limiting objects on the tables and counters by washing, putting away, and being aware of said objects nightly to our best real ability. (As S.M.A.R.T. as we can realistically make it)
Planning Out Your Goals
I am five million times more likely to work on a goal if I see it daily. This year, my goals are going in my happy planner.
When I create my weekly layout I always have a space for goals. I use some washi-tape and stickers to divide the lower third of my page into different types of goals. I usually have a color theme of the week but for the first week of the year of course my theme is gold.
My goals are going in the first week of the year and then on a bookmark-like insert I can remove and place in each new week. I’m also preemptively writing reminders to check in on my goals at the end of each week for the first month. I may switch to the end of each month after that but I need to establish habit first.
Your family goal automatically lends itself to having another person keep you accountable. Studies have found that you have a 95% chance of reaching your goal if you have an appointment with someone to review your goal. That is almost 100%. So not only is your significant other cute but they’re handy for keeping around to help you reach goals.
My husband and I have also decided to intentionally reflect more often. For Christmas he got me a book called “52 Lists for Happiness“. The idea is to reflect weekly with a list that inspires you. I can’t wait to see what comes of this.
Happy Momming, happy planning, and good luck with those resolutions Mamas!
I’d love to hear your New Year’s Resolutions! Family goals or personal goals! Drop a comment below! Follow me on instagram @happymommyleah for #52happylists updates and more mom inspiration.