Hello Readers! So, I know I’ve said that I’m not a fan of the New Year’s Resolution, but I do want to discuss these today as New Year’s Resolutions are common. There is always something to improve upon or some habit to kick in our lives. As I learned long ago, the moment you reach perfection your life is over. I’d rather have some goal for which to strive than to reach perfection. So, today I want to discuss the top resolutions most parents have in the new year as well as some ways to achieve these resolutions.
1. Lose Weight
Okay, so this is a common one for most people, and for good reason. Everywhere you look in society, “experts” tell us what the ideal body image should be. We see models in perfect form, and we want that. And, above all other reasons, we all want to be healthy. For most of us, healthy equals skinny.
For moms, this one especially hits home. I know all too well how difficult it can be to struggle with excess weight after having a child. I’ve been struggling with it since our son Sean was born in September of 2015. And it isn’t easy seeing my wedding photos or profile ones on social media in which I’m skinny. I have tried several different weight loss programs, diets, and workout techniques with very little luck. But, I do have some advice for moms (and others) looking to lose weight.
- Focus on healthy eating. This one may take some time to adjust to, so take it slowly. I like to do an “add one, subtract one” technique for this. One week, I’ll add a healthy item to my diet, the next I’ll subtract an unhealthy option. And I do this until my diet is roughly 75% or more healthy. Just don’t take all unhealthy fats out, or you’re bound to fail. I do recommend a balance of 80/20 for your diet, with the larger portion being healthy options.
- Start with one or the other. With this, I mean your diet or the workouts, not both at once. I have found in the past that when I attempted to change both the workout and dieting regimes simultaneously, I tend to get so lost in the details of each that I fail. So, I recommend starting your focus on either your diet or your workout regime for a week or two before starting on the next. I prefer to start on the diet and then start on the workouts, but either choice is good.
- Reward yourself properly. This is a must. Set attainable goals for yourself and plan on rewards for each goal you reach. But, avoid food/drink rewards. In other words, you can’t reward yourself with a Twinkie when you lose ten pounds. Instead, use non-food rewards like a mani/pedi, a small shopping trip for a new pair of shoes, a show you want to see, a mini vacation, or a massage trip. By choosing something you don’t always get, you’ll be more likely to work for it. And, as a bonus, you’ll avoid making the same mistakes that you made before.
- Don’t forget to change it up. There will come a time in your regime that you start to plateau, or you stop seeing results. At that time, look into switching up your workout regime or change your diet again. This will help keep you from getting bored or failing with attaining your goals.
2. Stop smoking/drinking/etc.
I know a lot about this one. I was a smoker for fifteen plus years when I quit smoking cold turkey. And I’ve been smoke free since March of 2015. While I do suffer from cravings from time to time, I stay smoke free because of (a) the expense, and (b) my family. Still, I recommend the following techniques for trying to quit:
- Have an accountability partner. When I decided to quit cold turkey, I told myself I had one weekend, and I told my husband that I needed him to help me in any way I needed. This included getting up at five in the morning with me, getting dressed, and going out to breakfast to keep me from smoking out of boredom while I waited for him to get up. He had to keep me entertained all weekend, and he had to be patient with me as I laid on the floor, fetal position, and bawled my eyes out during me detox phase. And while this was tough, it was made more difficult after the weekend when he went back to work and I was left at home, alone, all day with nothing to do. Which brings me to my next point.
- Find something new to do. For me, it was reading a long Historical Fiction series about the world wars. I spent an entire month reading this trilogy every day instead of smoking. To make it even more challenging, I borrowed the books from an avid nonsmoker, so I had to be accountable for not smoking around the books to avoid the transference to the books. So, find an activity to keep your mind and body busy.
- Find the right method for you, and quit for yourself. For me, quitting cold turkey was the answer. For my sister and brother in law, it was hypnosis. For an old college friend, it was nicotine patches. Whatever you use, stick to it. However, if you plan to quit smoking, avoid vaping like the plague! Vaping is not a safe alternative, and I’m counting down the days until they discover how bad this new habit is for people.
3. Be a better parent.
What parent doesn’t wish for this? We all wish we were better, more patient, more involved. And this one is tough, because our parenting skills can always use improvement. But, there is no such thing as the perfect parent. Even Dr. Spock turned out to be not so great after all. So, instead, try to improve on old habits and work toward being a better parent instead. So, here are a few tips to help achieve that:
- Do a social media cleanse or fast. I highly recommend only perusing your social media sites at specific times of the day, or for a specific and limited time of the day. For me, I try to peruse my social media sites only during our son Sean’s naps. It doesn’t always happen that way, and I often do peruse in the mornings when my husband Ryan is playing with Sean. However, I tend to play a couple of games in the morning, typically, like Zynga poker or Scattergories on my phone. But, I limit myself to no more than an hour during the day to my social media. I also try to avoid watching too much television during the day, too. However, I always have a series playing the background. Lately, I’ve been re watching Gilmore Girls because the intro credits always fascinate our son Sean. And we do it for background noise during the day.
- Focus on each child for a set amount of time each day. For this, you should spend a set amount of time, 30 minutes to an hour or more, with each child every day. It’s tempting to count family time as quality time with each child, but avoid doing this. Even if your child is little, like our 16 month old son Sean, you should try to send one on one time with just them every day. I like to pull out his musical instruments, like the toy drum and keyboard, and we play with music for thirty minutes. Sometimes, we will play with his toy kitchen. My husband Ryan often spends his time with our son Sean playing with his blocks or rolling the ball around. Sometimes we will lose track of time, and we will go over our time limit. But, this helps build our relationships with our son, and it’s rewarding.
- Take a breath. Okay, I will admit that even this advice is difficult for me. There are times when even our son Sean just grates on my nerves and keeps pushing my buttons. And for me, I sometimes have to take a step back and breathe. Instead of getting mad and acting irrationally, I will lock myself in my room for a minute or two and breathe. Doing even this helps control the frustration and allows me to correctly address the issue. So, take a breather and remain calm.
I hope this will help you with your resolutions this year or at least get started on them.
Until next time,