Every January many of us decide to make new resolutions to improve ourselves. Some resolutions are health based (lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking), some are financially based (save more, pay off debt), others are family based (spend more time with the kids, start a family night), etc.
Many resolutions fail for a number of reasons. We set the goal too high, we can’t measure it well enough, or we’re just not motivated enough to make it happen. I also believe that by keeping our resolutions private, we don’t feel very accountable and can find an easy way out, without anyone knowing about it.
That’s why I’ve decided to make my resolutions public, and to provide a status update on a regular basis. This year, I’ve decided to stick to only 3 resolutions that I believe will help me improve my imperfect self:
1) Health: Go to bed earlier to get more sleep
Lack of sleep has been a huge problem since I became a mother almost 5 years ago. Too many things to do, not enough time to do them (see resolution #2)… By going to sleep past midnight and getting less than 7 snooze hours a night, sometimes barely 6, I often wake up tired and suffer from low energy throughout the day. By the time my kids get their second wind after dinnertime, my tiredness affects my patience, which quickly dries up (see resolution #3). And when my kids postpone their bedtime as long as they can, I end up exhausted, physically and mentally.
The only way for me to get more sleep is to go to bed earlier, so my resolution is to move my bedtime 5 to 10 minutes earlier every day until I get to close my eyes by 11pm. This is going to be very hard for me, so I’m not setting the bar too high, at least for now!
2) Work: Focus, focus, focus
Ah, so many things to do, so little time… I’ve made so many changes in my life in the past few months, from starting my own marketing consulting business, to creating a new French shopping website, to starting a daily cow sighting blog, to spending two full weekdays with my kids every week, it’s hard not to feel all over the place. A couple of years ago, I read Eat that frog!: 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time by Brian Tracy, which in my opinion is the BEST no-nonsense book on time management. My goal is to read this book again in January and start implement daily and weekly strategies to get the important things done and maintain better control of my life.
3) Family: Emphasize the positive and swiftly deal with the negative with my kids
Whenever my kids are hungry or tired, or I’m hungry or tired myself, I know it’s a fast way down the wrong hill… Keeping up with full stomachs and rested bodies is a daily challenge (see resolution #1) but sometimes other things get in the way. For example my four-year-old has been more “difficult” and defiant over the past couple of months. As his parents I think we’ve done a poor job at handling his opposition and outbursts. We’ve pressed down on him, using mostly discipline like time-out, but we’ve been terrible at recognizing the positive and encouraging the desired behaviors. I’ve started reading Your defiant child, 8 steps to better behavior by Barkley and Benton and I’m really pumped up about the possibilities. Every step seems feasible and very reasonable but I know that it will take commitment, practice and consistency from both parents to make the changes required. I love my kids dearly and this is my official pledge to commit to this program, for them and for me.
I’m looking forward to working on my resolutions for 2011 and beyond. Have you made resolutions you’ve publicly shared?