Like many of us, I rang in the new year with champagne, a midnight kiss, and a lot of good intentions. I’d exercise more, eat better, and meet all my deadlines. This will be the year of never yelling at my kids and keeping my kitchen clean.
I’m writing this with a cookie in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other. It’s January 5, and already my resolutions have been shattered. Here are five changes I haven’t made to my life this year:
Give up sugar. This is one of those things that always seems like a great idea in theory, but in practice it never feels right. It’s not that I crave cookies so much I can’t stand it (though I sometimes do). It’s more that I feel anti-social refusing someone’s delicious baked goodies at a party, or turning down my kids’ request for homemade muffins. Plus, while it’s easy enough to avoid candy, sugar shows up in everything: salad dressing, drinks, even savory snacks.
Exercise more. This was the easiest resolution to break. I didn’t have to do a thing except sit on my couch, just like I’ve been doing all winter. Sure I’ll go running and do yoga and go climbing at the gym. When the weather warms up. Right now all I want to do is curl in an armchair with a good book, and no amount of good intentions is going to move me.
Write daily. Having just come through a long spell of writer’s block, I promised myself that this time I was really going to write a little every day. Really. At least in my personal blog. In reality, I have yet to wish ChildWild a happy new year, let alone off up any substantive posts. It’s too easy to get caught up in living and forget about writing.
Get enough sleep. Sleep is one of those things that always seems like a great thing to have done, but I never like doing it. I totally sympathize with my kids not wanting to go to bed at night. I get them tucked in sweetly around 8, but there are plenty of nights I’m up till 2 reading and puttering. That resolution to go to bed at midnight every day? I kept it once.
Be the perfect mom. No yelling, no Ms. Cranky Pants about school projects, no spacing out and writing blog posts in my head while the kids tell me stories about their day. Yeah, right. That lasted longer than most of the resolutions. My kids are really great, and I’m more motivated to be awesome with them than I am to be fit or eat right. But the truth is we’re regular people who sometimes get on each other’s nerves, and perfection is beyond me.
So I failed to wake up January 1 magically cured of all my bad habits. I didn’t have a good plan in place for keeping these resolutions, and it’s no surprise I went for the cookie breakfast or neglected my push-ups.
Why make the new year’s resolutions in the first place? Well, they get me thinking about what kind of real changes I could be making in my life, and taking stock of where things are. Maybe giving up sugar isn’t something I really want to do.
Being more present with my kids is, though, and I can think about small, specific ways to do that. I can leave my cell phone on my desk instead of carrying it around the house with me and constantly checking my email. I can schedule time to take each kid out one on one. I can read to them when they ask for a story, even if it means dropping the chores or work I was in the middle of.
So, I believe even a broken new year’s resolution can be valuable: it helps you figure out what’s really important to you, and what you pay lip service to but don’t really care about.
What resolutions have you already broken? Which ones are you sticking with? What makes the difference?