The Christmas decorations are back in storage, and the champagne corks have already been popped. That can only mean one thing – it’s time to write your New Year’s resolutions. These commitments to do better date back 4,000 years to the Babylonians who made promises to their gods each year. Ancient Romans and medieval knights also vowed to straighten up and fly right as they ushered in a new year. Today, most of our resolutions are internal, promises made only to ourselves, rather than to the Man upstairs (or men and women upstairs in the case of the Babylonians). While we don’t have any data on the stick-to-itiveness of our ancient friends, modern studies show that of approximately 40% of American adults who make resolutions, fewer than 10% keep them more than a couple of months. With that depressing statistic in mind, perhaps we should look to the past for inspiration. Share your resolutions with family, friends, coworkers, and yes, even God, or gods for the Babylonians reading this. We all know about accountability partners to keep your exercise and eating plans on track. Why not enlist their help for resolutions too? The people who are most successful in keeping their resolutions are the ones who make them specific and tell others what they are doing. Commit to doing a little work toward your goal every day and find others who are heading in the same direction as you, or at least people who are willing to encourage and support you on your path. Whether you want to exercise more, read a book a week, or organize your closet, identify your tribe and ask them to help you persevere. Here are a few of the resolutions I’m making so my 2019 will be one for the history books:
We all have limited resources – money, time, talents. How much and where we invest those resources should be an important consideration when planning our year. Does that mean increasing your charitable or religious giving? Does it mean rearranging your schedule to fit in time volunteering at a nonprofit? For me, it means planning more and reacting less. I have a hard time saying no when there is a need. Outlining how I will spend my resources this year will help me focus on giving more to the causes and organizations that I most want to support. Part of this plan is finding regular opportunities for us to give as a family. In recent months, my husband, my six-year-old daughter and I have volunteered at Crop Drop, worked at a hurricane relief food panty and given time to our church. I have no doubt that these will be some of our fondest memories when we look back on this period of our lives.
Prioritize My Husband
When you become a mom, it can be all-consuming. In those first couple of years, this tiny human is literally attached to you almost 24/7. The changes to your body, and more importantly, changes to your heart make it hard to put anything but your offspring first. Intellectually, we know how crucial it is for our kids to see a healthy relationship between mom and dad. Practically, it can be a challenge to put energy into the relationship with your spouse when you are so fixated on the children. Patrick and I recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and 14 years together. I’m lucky enough for him to still think I’m cute. I think it’s time for me to brush up on his love language and get to work. My daughter, Vivi, might grumble some now about me giving Daddy more attention, but she will appreciate it in the future when she has a healthy relationship of her own.
Have More Fun
Between a full-time job, side business, volunteer work and being a mom, I am overcommitted and stressed out. This year I will carve out more alone time to recharge my batteries so that I can relax and have fun with my family instead of fretting over the next item on my to-do list. This resolution MUST include at least two road trips in 2019. We have never had so much fun as a family than last summer when our road trip included real mermaids, dolphins, whales and Florida’s best cheap motel. I hope my words have inspired you to do more than buy a gym membership in January that you will abandon by March. Put some thought into your resolutions and put them out there. If you see me around town, please ask me how I’m doing with my resolutions and I’ll do the same for you. Cheers to a fabulous 2019! Is it too late to add “Drink More Champagne” to my resolution list.