Now that we’re already a month into the new year, how are you feeling about those goals and resolutions you set when the calendar turned?
I understand — you’re a mom. You’re pulled in a million different directions, and if you have little ones, sometimes even going to the restroom by yourself feels like a luxury. It can feel daunting to add yet another thing to your to-do list.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the demands but still want to make positive changes in your life, here are some tested methods moms like you use to stick to their resolutions.
Make one small change at a time.
This year, commit to making one small change. Make it tiny. Make it so infinitesimal that it almost sounds ridiculous. And then commit to doing that every single day until it becomes a habit.
So, for example, if your New Year resolution is to floss your teeth every night, commit instead to flossing just one tooth. At the end of the day, when you feel you don’t have energy and just want to crawl into bed, remember you only have to floss one tooth. You can totally do that, right? Sure, once you floss one tooth, you’ll probably end up flossing them all, but this reverse psychology trick will help you kick-start that healthy living habit. Because as long as you’ve accomplished your tiny little task for the day, you can chalk it up as a win for the day.
Double up activities to make the most use of your time.
Overcome the overwhelm by doubling up chores you need to do anyway with an activity that moves you closer to your goal.
For example, if you want to read more books this year, listen to audiobooks while washing dishes or running errands. If you’re trying to be more active, then the next time you call the cable company, go outside for a walk around the neighborhood. If your resolution is to keep the house cleaner, then wipe down the bathroom mirror, vanity, and other surfaces while brushing your teeth. Start thinking creatively about ways to double up activities, and you’ll be well on your way to sticking to your resolutions.
Identify the “why” behind your “what.”
Before you make resolutions, ask yourself if they line up with your mission statement. Starting with the end in mind, we can identify our core desires and then work out from there to the practical changes we need to make to accomplish our big dreams. If you don’t have one yet, here’s an easy way to write a personal mission statement in less than 30 minutes. Basically, you identify what’s important to you and then write down the first little step you need to take to get there.
Instead of a resolution that reads “Yell at the kids less,” you might identify your inner desire to be a loving and approachable mother. This inner “why” will help you frame a positive resolution that fosters relationship with your children, like “Spend an extra 5 minutes tucking them into bed each night and talking about their day” or “Walk into the other room when I feel like exploding in a given situation, and return to discuss the issue when I’ve calmed down.”
Involve the kids in your resolutions.
Too often it seems our children distract us from our resolutions with their incessant need to be fed, bathed, clothed, and driven around town. But instead of keeping us from our goals, what if they helped us achieve them? Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, lose weight, get out of debt, or learn something new, find creative ways to include your children in the process.
For example, if you’re trying to pay down debt, challenge the family to a “No Spending Day” each week, where everyone commits to avoid spending money that day. This game can be a lot of fun and reveal ways that you’re leaking funds and not even realizing it. That stop for morning coffee and donuts? Pack some muffins from home that you made together the night before. Grabbing dinner and a movie with your spouse while the kids stay with a sitter? Rent a movie from the library and let the kids help you make popcorn so you can all snuggle under a blanket and enjoy a family date.
Develop no-brain routines that take the guesswork out of your resolution.
Too often, we come up with elaborate plans of how we’re going to meet our goals, but these end up being so complicated we can’t even remember them, let alone follow them, and soon we just give up. Instead, come up with an easy routine that will help you develop momentum.
So if your New Year Resolution is to run a marathon and the best time to run is right after work, eliminate potential distractions by packing your running clothes and an energy snack the night before and changing into your running gear before you leave the office. Eat the snack as you drive to the gym and get in there and get it done! You can also find friendly guidebooks like this one that take the guesswork out of what to make for dinner or which exercise to do each day, making you more likely to stick to your resolutions.
Changing your habits doesn’t have to be difficult. Just take one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll reach the end of the year with a smile on your face, knowing you’ve finally accomplished your resolutions!
Share with us in the comments: What has worked for you?