I’ve always loved New Year’s. I relish the idea of a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance to improve. I look forward to New Year’s with first-week-of-school enthusiasm, giddy with anticipation of 365 days full of promise and opportunity.
So it’s no surprise that I delight in the concept of New Year’s resolutions, corny and somewhat illogical as they may be. (After all, if you want to make positive life changes, why not do it as soon as the urge strikes rather than wait for a specific date? I get it.) But still, every year I make them, and admittedly they are always somewhat similar to the previous years’. This time is no exception. I began mentally compiling my list of New Year’s resolutions about a week ago, and it went something like this:
I resolve to hit the gym at least _ times a week so I can lose _ pounds and fit into my size _ clothes once again. (To be honest, I had not yet determined the specifics to any of the above blanks.)
I promise to prepare wonderful, homemade, well-balanced meals for my family five nights a week—and while I’m at it, to organize all of my recipes.
I resolve to be more organized in general this year—to create a system in which everything has a designated place and everyone in this house agrees to put things back where they belong.
This year, I will do a better job of scheduling and managing our time. We will make plans and stick to them, and we will not idly hang around the house.
I resolve to go to church more often.
I promise to spend less time returning emails and text messages and more time playing with my five-year-old.
I resolve to make the bed every day, because I. Just. Should.
This year, I will put on my makeup and dry my hair every day so I can look decent for my husband more often.
I promise to spend more time cleaning my house so that it looks presentable when friends come over.
I promise to do a better job of budgeting our finances so we can afford the things that we want.
I resolve to be a better mom, wife, friend, daughter, etc. I promise to TRY HARDER. DO MORE. BE BETTER. (Sound familiar?)
But as I looked over my list of “important things” that I was sooo set on accomplishing this year, I felt not only overwhelmed but slightly shallow. Don’t get me wrong: the above goals are all positive changes to make. But as I sat there fretting over how exactly I intended to achieve them, it suddenly dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, I’m being a tad unrealistic, and my focus is slightly misplaced.
So, I rewrote my resolutions for 2015—this time, a little more thoughtfully:
This year, I will go to the gym more often than I did in 2014, not because I need to lose _ pounds so I can return to my size _ clothing, but because I’ll be around longer if I make healthier choices. I resolve to remember that my husband, child, and friends love me for who I am, not what size jeans I wear.
I resolve to cook more often and with less butter, but I promise to not feel guilty if I must occasionally rely on the convenience of delivered pizza after an extra busy day.
I promise to try to declutter and put more effort into organizing our household. However, I resolve to remind myself that this stage in my life—one of Legos and Elsa dolls and Crayons and mountains of laundry—will someday end. Rather than constantly trying to contain the chaos, perhaps I should embrace it. As odd as it sounds, I have a hunch that someday soon enough I’ll miss the toys scattered around my living room and the glittery art projects that constantly take over my coffee table.
I resolve to slow down and enjoy the present moment more, even if I didn’t plan it.
This year, I will make a sincere effort to attend church services on a more regular basis, but I will remind myself that going to church does not necessarily mean I’m doing my part to make God more of a priority in my family’s life—and I should be focused on the latter.
I resolve to spend more time playing with my five-year-old, but I also promise to not feel guilty when I must decline my daughter’s request to instantly morph into a playmate while I’m in the middle of trying to complete a task I’m already engaged in. I will remember that I’m doing her a disservice if I raise her to think that the world will stop and comply whenever she snaps her fingers.
I promise to try to make the bed every day but to not feel bad if it doesn’t happen. Unmade beds are more likely to turn into snuggle parties with my kiddo anyway.
I resolve to pay attention to my husband more than how I look for my husband. Whether I’m dressed to the nines or rocking PJs, no makeup, and a ponytail, I’m pretty sure he loves me just the same.
This year, I will devote a little more time to cleaning the house every week. But more importantly, I will pour my efforts into nurturing friendships with those who do not judge me on the condition of my house.
I promise to examine my spending habits and do a better job of budgeting, but beyond that, I resolve to be content with what we already have and less concerned with what we don’t.
In 2015, I promise to not be so hard on myself. I resolve to tell myself more often that—you know what?—I’m doing a pretty decent job. I will focus less on what I’m not and more on what I am, and I will believe that I’m enough.
For once, I may have written some New Year’s resolutions I think I can actually keep.
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions this year?