For most of us, the end of the year is a time to take stock and think about what we want in the future, which brings us to the infamous idea of New Year’s resolutions. I typically don’t make any resolutions at the beginning of the year, because honestly they sort of make me feel bad about myself. They make me think of all the things I didn’t do in the past year — all the lofty goals I didn’t accomplish, all the ways I wasn’t awesome and successful and perfect. At the same time, I feel the sense of possibility that comes with the start of a new year. Beginnings always seem like a good time to make changes, and I’ve written before about how important it is to embrace change. So this year I’m going to change my thinking about resolutions.
Instead of tallying up all the things I did wrong last year, and thinking about all the ways I need to be better, I’m going to start by thinking about all the things I did right. I know that sounds silly, but how often do we honestly congratulate ourselves for doing a good job? I hardly ever do. I’m usually too busy thinking about how I said something awkward, did the wrong thing, missed an opportunity, had a crying baby at precisely the wrong time, or ate too many Cool Ranch Doritos. It doesn’t leave much time to think about the things I accomplished. So this year, take a moment to focus on your successes. Maybe you accomplished something great and obvious, like getting a new job, having a baby, finishing school, or running a marathon. Or maybe your successes were in the smaller moments – reading to your kids every day, making a new friend, or not screaming at any of your relatives over the holidays. Whatever you feel good about, stop and appreciate it.
After thinking about all the great things I did last year, I’ll ask myself, “what should I do more of?” With my husband deployed and an energetic one-year-old in the house, I convinced myself to get out and try a lot of new things this year, and it paid off! I made new friends and started new projects, which feels pretty good. So this year, I resolve to put myself out there even more. Think about what you feel proud of from the year, and promise to keep doing it!
Of course, no matter how great your year was, there are always ways to be better. So if you’ve taken the time to remember what you’ve already accomplished, feel free to make a few resolutions for self-improvement as well. If you’re feeling hesitant or unsure of how to start working toward your goals, try to enlist some support from friends. Hello Mamas, a social networking community for parents, can help you track down new friends in your area who also want to get healthier, read more books, plant a garden, or anything else you want try in the new year.
Whatever your plans and resolutions are for the coming year, I hope you’re able to look back on the past year and appreciate your best moments, and I hope you’re looking forward to all the possibilities the New Year will bring!
What was your best moment last year? What do you want more of this year?