New Year’s Resolutions: A Perspective Shift

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Have you made any resolutions for 2019? Maybe to get healthier or eat better? Whatever it might be, here are some thoughts to consider while you approach your New Year’s resolutions and one suggested goal for 2019. 

New Year’s resolutions can feel overwhelming. The focus can shift to being overly focused on our downfalls from the previous year, and we can feel overwhelmed by the list of changes we’d like to make. But does it have to be that way? What can we do to feel better about setting these goals and set a great example for our kids? 

Our children are always watching, right? And watching what we do, and how we treat ourselves. 

So how can we make resolutions work better for us and set a good example?

Check Your Perspective

When setting your New Year’s resolution, it’s good to check your perspective and self-talk. How would you want your child to handle it if they were in your shoes someday? How would you want them to talk to themselves about changes they wanted to make in their lives? 

Are we beating ourselves up? Are we trying to motivate ourselves to get to the gym by voicing our discontent with our body? Is this how we hope someday our child will talk to themselves? 

You probably would hope that your child would have grace for themselves, right? Consider when you talk aloud about your goals if you are doing so in a way that is loving towards yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to pretend everything is perfect – because nothing is ever perfect and children often see through that even better than adults. It instead means you approach your problems, goals, challenges knowing they don’t define you and knowing you can make progress. 

What’s your motivation?

It’s also helpful to check your motivation for change. Getting healthy and eating right is a wonderful goal. But we can get caught up in being focused on this goal because we aren’t satisfied with how we look. What about shifting that motivation? Working out and eating well makes you feel good – it gives you more energy. It hopefully will help put you on a track to live a longer, healthier and more active life. And that’s great motivation. 

Give yourself credit!

One good way to shift your perspective is to look back at the previous year in a different light. Often when we think of goals for the next year we are inclined to focus on what we didn’t get done or our failures. 

But what if we started our New Year’s resolution goal setting by giving ourselves credit for what we accomplished in 2018? What did we get right? What are we proud of ourselves for? 

This doesn’t mean we never look at what needs to change – it simply means it can be hard to motivate yourself to move forward if you never give yourself credit for what you are getting right. And don’t we want our kids to recognize their accomplishments and strengths? 

Start by making a list of what you did well this past year before you jump into how you would like to change for this new year. 

One Small New Year’s Resolution Suggestion for You:

What’s one small fun goal you can add to your New Year’s resolutions that embraces setting an example for your kids? Take more pictures with them. Take more pictures even if you haven’t slept in a week. Take more pictures with them even if you haven’t showered in days. 

While creating our family photo book I realized I need more pictures with me and my son. But, I did include in that book whatever selfies I had with him – even if I looked goofy, or the camera was so close you could see every wrinkle around my eyes. Because it doesn’t matter. Someday he will want pictures of us together. And I want to capture those memories, and show that I like myself – with or without makeup, messy mom bun and in my pajamas. 

In setting our goals for this next year, remember that our children watch how we set these goals, why we set these goals, and how we treat ourselves in the process. Of course, even if we didn’t have these eyes on us, all this would still be true. I think we are more likely to succeed at achieving our goals when we know we aren’t our mistakes, and we treat ourselves well. So be honest with yourself and confront behaviors that need to change: but love yourself in the process.