Who else is on week two of clean eating, limiting alcohol and exercising like an Olympian? Snicker. Yes, I gave up on January 3rd as well. I find January particularly hard, and not only because it’s a birthday month for me. Gyms are packed, everyone is talking about diets, and honestly I’m always very sluggish after a hectic holiday period. One of the worst resolution-killers is guilt, and many of us throw away a whole plan if we slip up a bit. As we grow up, and especially as we develop as parents, we learn that the all-or-nothing approach in not only unrealistic, but can harm our ambitions.
So this year, let’s give our selves a break and tone down our resolutions so that they become slow-building habits instead of guilt-inducing nooses.
Resolution #1 – Work out. The gym is so busy that it will cost you a fortune in childcare to wait for the elliptical machine and the skinny diva at the front desk rolls her eyes as you approach, chuckling that it will only last through January. Doing a one-minute plank each day when you wake (and are too sleepy to notice) can work miracles to kick-start a routine. You can gradually add calf-raises while you brush your teeth and sucking in your stomach as hard as you can every time Adele’s “Hello” comes on the air.
Resolution #2 – Cut back. Yes, we all love to have fun, but cutting out gluten, pouring the vodka down the sink and halving our caloric intake may not be a realistic goal. You also don’t have to chug chalky drugs to tame an upset stomach.
Resolution #3 – Get organized. Great idea but between specialty closet organizers that cost a fortune to paying bills late because you can no longer find the mail, maybe you should take baby steps. Buy stuff less often. Pick one drawer per week. And give yourself a basket on each floor for odds and ends that you can put away when you have a moment. Remember – organizing should not create more stress.
Resolution #4 – Read more. Let’s think outside the box a bit. I haven’t had an hour to sit down and read a book in too log to remember. There’s a stack of books beside my bed that sneer at me every night for not opening them. I can’t even remember where I was in the fiction tomes, and when I think that I’m not modeling good reading habits to my kids, the ugly green guilt monster returns. Audio books. I’m willing to give it a shot. Audible makes it easier to accomplish my reading goals with audio books during workouts, in the car or while walking the mutt.
Resolution #5 – Travel more. PRESSURE. Money, time, organization… STRESS. Let’s break it down. Why do you want to travel more? To learn other cultures? To discover more about yourself? Maybe this year you can achieve these goals a bit more slowly. Take smaller trips and save up for Europe and India. Hit Youtube once a month and check out videos of different countries while starting a journal about what has excited you about what you saw.
Resolution #6 – Be a Better Parent: Double pressure. Yesterday my son got a mild concussion and as I dropped my other son at school, the parents started “You should. You shouldn’t. Have you done? Did you read? You must contact….” Just like the sleep-training, circumcision and vaccination judgy-parent peanut galleries, everyone has an opinion, so you really can’t win no matter what you do. Just bond a bit more deeply with your kid and try harder to follow your instincts. Bam.
Resolution #7 – Have better sex. This one has always piqued my curiosity. How, exactly does one know if they are lacking.. and then how does one fix it? I suppose as a parent you can start with frequency. If it’s never, you should probably start there. After that, maybe grab a Cosmo (the magazine and the drink – see #2) and brush up on technique.
Resolution #8 – Stop being late: This is a good and fairly easy one that can be solved with tricks like booking appointments 15 minutes in advance or changing the time on all of the clocks in order to trick yourself. When I was “time trained” I started by booking half as many appointments and taking one full day without anything at all being scheduled. There are two great T-shirt memes circulating on social media right now that say: “Sorry I’m Late. I didn’t want to come” and “I survived another meeting that could have been done in an email.” Food for thought.
Resolution #9 – Spend Less Time on Social Media: As with any of these resolutions, it’s always personal. You know yourself and your limits. Spending 3 hours stalking a celebrity has a different “goofing off” weight than the same 3 hours connecting with friends, checking current events and catching up on the latest research on your Mom’s health condition. Moderation. And if you really need to goof off, listen to your instinct and catch up on life tomorrow.
Resolution #10 – Start Writing that Book: If you’re like me… I won’t start until I’m REALLY PREPARED. Finding the right pen, seat cushion, apron for cooking or perfect album in which to stuff my family photos. This can also be known as procrastination, compulsivity.. or spending too much time on Web MD. Over the holidays I sat down with a family member and a laptop and just started barraging him with questions, typing his answers as he spoke. The whole family got involved in asking, and we soon had 4 pages and the beginning of a valuable memoir.
Hopefully we’ve given you some outs from guilt, and maybe some ideas that will help you have the best year yet.