We are well into the New Year now and (hopefully) you are still optimistic and eager in reaching or maintaining your resolutions, whether they be losing weight; quitting smoking; spending more time with family; working less; etc.
The truth, unfortunately, is that most people are likely to fail achieving or maintaining these resolutions than keeping them. Sorry to be a bummer.
I would even argue the chances of you being unsuccessful with your resolutions are even higher when you are a parent … extra bummer.
Why you ask?
#1 A Parent’s time is limited – A parent’s “to do” list is long, especially a working parent, and sometimes adding yet another task to this list (example: exercising more) is not always realistic. We’re lucky enough to find time to shower in the morning let alone run 2 miles before leaving for work.
#2 It’s not just about you – Every decision a parent makes in their life impacts the entire family. This is why keeping New Year’s resolutions can be challenging, depending on the nature of the resolution. It would be very difficult, for example, for a parent to decide to buy a boat and sail around the world in 2017.
With these challenges in mind, here are a few tricks to help you, as a parent, be successful with your resolutions:
Make Your resolution Work for the Family – I find one of my biggest challenges with my New Year’s resolutions is that I am alone in achieving it. For example, I will be the only one in my house seeking to eat healthier and lose weight. I’ll be stuck making myself a boring kale salad for supper and a yummy spaghetti and cheese for my family. So unfair. Not to mention how time consuming it is making two meals. Solution: find a happy middle and make it work for everyone. This means, for example, making healthy meals that are flexible and can cater to the needs of everyone in your family.
Be Realistic – I’m all for shooting for the stars, but if you want to keep your resolution pick one you know you can keep. Remember, resolutions are meant to improve your situation not make it worse. For example, don’t aim to achieve something you know you cannot fit into your schedule, will burn you out, and dramatically impact your day-to-day routine in a negative way.
Family Motivation– There is strength in numbers. Depending on your kids’ ages, you may wish to encourage them and your partner to equally make goals for the year. Then encourage one another. Let your kids know what your goal is, and turn them into your mini-cheerleaders. They can remind you, for example, when you shouldn’t be pouring yourself that 2nd glass of red wine.
Improvements don’t come easy, especially when you are a parent. It’s not to say we can’t reach our goals, it can sometimes just be a tad more difficult, depending on the goal of course.
Be patient. You can do this. Be aware of the challenges preventing you from being successful with your resolutions first, and then be creative in finding solutions to address them.