I’ve always been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I like the idea of taking an annual inventory of my life, reflecting on the past year, and listing things I want to attempt in the coming year. For as long as I can remember, and at least since I was seven or eight, I have kept written lists of reflections and resolutions, usually written in my journal on New Year’s Eve. A few years ago, upon realizing that there are certain things I aspire to year after year, I switched to an electronic record of my resolutions to better track progress across years.
My resolutions this year are different from all of those that came before. Some of the perennials remain – stop biting nails, learn to hula hoop, do more yoga – but there are new ones that relate to my son. Some resolutions are explicitly about him. For example, in 2014, I want my son to sleep at least ten hours straight in his own bed most nights. But my son has changed my life in a multitude of ways, and other 2014 resolutions aim to make my life as mommy more sustainable. For instance, I want to see more of my pre-family friends (that is, those people who I hung out with before I had a husband and baby), and sometimes without my family present so that I can rebuild the close, grown-up relationship we used to have. I also want to rediscover my pre-baby love of pleasure reading (I was in the middle of two books when my son was born, and they both remain unfinished).
In anticipation of resolution season, I recently shared an excellent article on my Facebook page in which blogger James Clear urges commitment to a process, rather than an end, explaining that while “goals are good for planning your progress … systems are good for actually making progress.” This is so commonsensical it seems hardly worth mentioning. Of course, a team can’t win a championship without practicing regularly. And yet, I keep resolving to learn to hula hoop but haven’t so much as purchased a plastic hoop.
Moreover, to increase the likelihood of following through with my resolutions, I try to keep both my goals and systems realistic. So, in 2014, I resolve to read, with my son and/or by myself, at least 30 minutes per day. I also aspire to take one yoga class a week and see pre-family friends at least twice a month. That all seems imminently doable, but I know even these modest resolutions will be hard to keep. At the same time, I am sure 2014 will bring challenges I cannot now foresee, so I will put aside some time and energy to overcome those as they arise.
My best wishes to you and yours for 2014. Happy New Year!