A new year! It gives us a chance to pause, if even for a moment to think about our lives and what we are putting into it in order to get what we want out of it. Often I hear women laugh and say that they no longer make New Year’s resolutions because failure to accomplish them just adds to their load of guilt. As moms we know how difficult it is to make anything happen that involves doing something for ones self. The energy it takes just to survive the mayhem that reigns in just getting through the day in the life of sleep- deprived moms who are up in the night and coping with demanding, wailing, starving children who need to be helped, nutured and loved 24/7 is incredible.
Still the definition of progress is: a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage. Though it may not seem like it some days, most moms with a desire to be the best mom they can be are progressing just through working through the inevitable problems that need to be addresses every day. We learn to be more laid back about kids who forget their homework or miss their curfew.
Still, if we don’t have written goals about what we want to accomplish on the long term as well as what we would like to change about ourselves this year, it likely will not happen. Even if we don’t work on them every day our brains are incredible organs. Once we have really determined what we want to do, it will remind us to stay on track.
When Richard and I do parenting seminars, we emphasize over and over that we are just treading water with parenting when goals to have our children be great students, violinists, basketball players, scientists or compassionate friends are our goals. What really makes the difference is when your child has ownership of his own goals. When you have your child write how long he thinks he should practice to accomplish a weekly goal on piano, what grades she’d like to get in each subject and what time your teenager thinks is fair for a curfew, the child perceives ownership of his/her own goals and the chances of success jump significantly.
As moms we sometimes forget that being in charge of our own goals is equally important. If you have a dream, write it down and figure out what you want to do this year to get closer to it. If a child is driving you crazy, write down what it is that puts you over the edge and decided how you are going to change your response to that child’s behavior. If you truly change your response, your child’s response is almost guaranteed to change as well.
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Life it too short not to spend some time thinking about your own progress . Change adds variety and excitement to your life! Yet there is nothing harder. It takes commitment and hard work, concentration and sometimes a white hot desire. Just to show you how whacky I am about change I include this little example: I got a new car for my birthday this year. My unconscious habit has been to put on my seatbelt at the end of our street. But this car was determined to change my habit. It bursts forth with the most obnoxious dinging if I don’t put on my seatbelt by the third house down the street. It really irritates me because I don’t want to change. I know, “most accidents happen within a half mile of your own home”, but come on, I’m not even a half mile away! At the 5000 mile check up I begged the repairman to disconnect the “dinger” but he said that reminder was the law. So heck, I have to change or go “dinger-batty”!
A silly example but just a little representation of how hard it is to change even little habits and yet how important it is to move forward and do what we know we should. On a higher realm, it is even more important to create a concrete plan for living our dreams…one year at a time!
As we begin this new year here’s a wonderful quote about change from Alan Cohen: “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”
May this new year be full of adventure and positive change!