I have been wondering where the past month (well really 2018) has gone.
With this in mind I cringed a little at the thought of all the, ahem- annoying, people that will be boasting and asking what new year resolutions many individuals will be setting. Me? Um, to survive three kids two and under is my goal. Everyday. Thanks for inquiring. No, but really, this has become a bit of yearly joke between my husband and myself on the hype of annual resolutions people set and quit by the time March rolls around.
I’m sure there’s a number of individualized reasons or excuses why a majority of resolution setters fail. Since I’m running on empty like most other moms on a weeknight, a google search on this topic just isn’t in the cards. However, my professional opinion from working with patients over the past twelve years as a nurse leads me to believe it’s lack of planning AND lack of accountability. We rush through the days, weeks, months and eventually end the year with back to back holiday chaos. Then boom, it’s a last minute resolution with almost no planning or outline to hold oneself accountable too.
So, with this in mind I thought I’d draft up some ideas for people to implement positive and successful (successful is the key word here) change in their life, ultimately leading to a new year resolution that can be marked off the to-do-list as task completed. You’re also getting a two months head start on this resolution business so you’ve got one less excuse to work with. See what I did there?!
Change Your Mindset
To start, let’s for consistency sake not call it a resolution. The term resolution has a bit of a negative connotation associated with it in the context we’re discussing. One of the definitions of the word resolution is the act of answering or solving (Merriam-Webster, 2018). If you need to implement change, procrastinating and waiting for a specific date is not going to make your chances of resolving an issue you have with yourself (overweight, smoker, frivolous spender, etc.) better, but likely have the reverse effect. It’s also not happening in the short term future. There, I said it. Plan for long term. Consider the resolution or resolutions you’re contemplating as a progression to positively alter the way you currently operate in your day to day life in order to overcome these personal obstacles and initiate long term change.
It almost goes without saying that to be a better and more connected parent we need to better ourselves first. You can’t effetely take care of someone else unless you take care of yourself. The more children you have, the more true and difficult this action becomes. As moms, we easily get lost and fall to the shadows while raising a family. Taking care of yourself isn’t as easy as you had anticipated in your pre-mom life.
So what does this have to do with journaling? Well for starters, journaling is an awesome outlet to voice your concerns, frustration, excitement, confusion and so on without fear of judgement. There is zero mom shame in journaling. I’m actually not one to give a personal testament on long term journaling because I just recently started testing the journaling waters. However, I can tell you in the few weeks I’ve put pen to paper the aspect of mental clarity and overall relief that comes with journaling is quite remarkable.
I’m a firm believer and advocate in clinical therapy but realistically it’s not in the cards for many people, especially moms, due to associated cost and time. Journaling is a wonderful alternative and puts many confused and tangled thoughts or concerns into perspective. It’s also a great way to reflect back on specific periods of time to assess what you would have done differently or remained steadfast regarding.
Okay, okay! What mom has the time to journal and add this task to her already overflowing jam packed day to day agenda? Enter stage left, The Five-Minute Journal created by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas. This is the journal I have been using over the past few weeks and already find myself looking forward to starting and ending my day with it. It’s a quick fill in the blank, pros and cons of the day with a side of positivity. And, if it takes me a full five minutes to do, I must have been feverishly writing deep in thought. Honestly, in the time your Keurig percolates twelve ounces of coffee your morning journal portion is done.
Non-professional journaling tip: use a favorite photo as a book mark. It’ll make your smile a little wider when you glance at it first thing in the morning and before closing your eyes at night. (It also has reduced my pre sleep screen time which is definitely a win win!)
If you’re not familiar with listening to Podcast series or episodes, you’re missing out! Podcast are an awesome free way to select what topics resonate with you. Day to day, week to week, month to month. It’s practically a free listening public forum of conversations. You can find incredible motivational speakers and topics, self help guides, parenting, education related series, murder mysteries and so on. There’s great female empowerment, entrepreneurial focused and humorous nonsense for days you just need a little break from life. Personally, I’ve been gradually chiseling away at the podcast Mindful Parenting in a Messy World with Michelle Gale. I’m giving it a five star review here people! It incorporates some meditation practice (which I’m like a fish out of water with) and is a bit monotoned at times but the education and take home pointers are undeniable. Her guest speakers bring a wealth of knowledge to the table and I feel like a better parent just from listening. It’s that good! Also, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. Add that to your Podcast library as well. Familiar with Ted Talks? Get on the Podcast train for mind blowing motivation.
Rekindle a romance with your public library and if your neighborhood has a Little Free Library, hit that up too! I’ve submerged myself over the past two an a half years in parenting books including (but not limited to) The Awakened Family by Shefali Tsabary, Mothering Multiples by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada (hands down best book for multiple moms to be) and Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. Even when I haven’t agreed with everything that is addressed in the parenting books I’ve read, they’ve resonated with me in some way, helped me remain accountable to the task at hand and guided me through the progression in whatever stage of patenting I’m in the thick of.
If the progression of change you’re looking to accomplish isn’t parenting related, I think it’s safe to say there’s still a plethora of books that’s geared for you. You just have to take the time to research reviews and learned to submerge yourself in the old fashioned literature way. It’s actually quite relaxing if I don’t say so myself. Not to mention, pick up a book here and there that’s unrelated to parenting or personal development. It’s nostalgic to get lost in the world of fiction and nonfiction alike.
The last few points I want to mention are the basics to keep in the forefront of your mind.
Be humble and kind to yourself and others. It seems the older I get the more I realize how harsh people can be. This does nothing but inhibit positive change. It’ll create a stagnant routine of self doubt that will sabotage even the easiest of goals.
Get organized. This is goal setting and achieving 101. Clear the clutter (it’s cathartic) and mark your calendar. Whether you choose electronic or paper calendars this is a great visual tool for goal setting and achieving. I use a personal calendar in addition to a family calendar that hangs on the wall outside of the kitchen. Rule of thumb is if it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening.
Network! Reach out to someone you know and/or admire about a personal strength of theirs you’d like to personally improve on. Organizational, health, etc. You can learn a lot from striking up a simple conversation. These networking friends will not only lend a helping hand in your journey but may be the key to accountability that’s necessary for you to achieve success.
To recap real quick you need to make a plan and set the goal. Otherwise, you can kiss any good willed intention of positive change goodbye. Reprogram your thoughts on change to be proactive and long term. Your future self and family will thank you.