On New Year’s Goals: Setting Resolutions You Can Keep

New Year's Resolutions are made to be broken. This busy mama finds New Year's Goals to be much more realistic, and more likely to succeed.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I set New Year’s goals. IMHO, resolutions are made to be broken. “I resolve to go to the gym more.” “I resolve to lose weight.” “I resolve to go on a diet.” I mean, come on – who even talks like that?

And besides, what happens when the inevitable comes to pass, and you’re not living up to your resolution? Yet another excuse to feel you’re falling short somewhere, somehow not managing to keep all the balls in the air at once.

And let’s face it, motherhood – for all its joys and rewards, whether you spend your days at home with the kiddos, or entrust them to the care of others while you bring home the bacon – is already full of days when you watch one ball after another fall out of the sky and roll away from you. And more often than not, you know that ball’s gonna lodge itself behind the far back corner of the sofa. Way back amid the dust bunnies that have accumulated over all the spring cleanings you’ve missed since becoming a mama. In other words, in a place that’s darn near impossible to reach.

Who needs another ball to juggle?

Not me. I’ll take New Year’s goals – something to work toward, one day at a time, and maybe attain – over something that you either do (success!) or don’t (failure!) any day.

New Year’s Resolutions New Year’s Goals

I made this mental shift around the time I became a mama, and it’s done wonders to take the pressure off. Even better, I seem to have more to show for my efforts than when I made resolutions.

For example, there was the year I figured out that Kimmie (who’d just turned two) was getting to the age when kids repeat everything you say, saving the juiciest bits of gossip for the most inappropriate times. Goal: No more gossip, ever. With the looming fear of what would happen if I didn’t meet this goal always in front of me, that goal has long since become a habit, I’m happy to report – and my firstborn now has one less way to embarrass me.

So here is my goal for the new year: I will work on reducing my stress and increasing my calm in my daily life. I will try to step back from Stressed Mommy and embrace a new persona as Calm Mommy.

I have taken a multi-pronged approach: I’m back to doing yoga at the gym, one morning a week. (Heck, I’m back to the gym! – funny how that always falls off the radar around the holidays, between travel and everyone being sick at some point.) I’m making a conscious effort to have the kids’ breakfasts prepared and on the table before I even roll them out of bed – eliminates a lot of crying from the toddler (who’s always starving the moment she gets up) and arguing from the preschooler, who changes her mind ten times over if I ask her what she wants to eat.

And most of all, I’m trying to use my Calm Voice at all times.

The Calm Voice

I discovered my Calm Voice by accident last weekend, when I was too exhausted to do anything else. It seemed to have an almost hypnotic effect on my girls. I have a reputation in my family as a drama queen, and it’s clearly a behavior my daughters are learning to mimic. But this week, instead of my voice rising in pitch and volume every time I ask Kimmie to, say, put on her coat for school, I made my request in a calm, low, almost quiet voice.

And amazingly, I found myself having to ask fewer times! Magic. Rather than the shrill, high-pitched character my voice can take on when I’m stressed, my voice is now the voice of Zen.

If only I can keep it in the Zen Zone every time I open my mouth. It still feels pretty weird, but it’s hard to argue with the results: fewer tantrums, more cooperation, and so on. If that’s not a stress-busting motivator, then I don’t know what is!

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30 thoughts on “On New Year’s Goals: Setting Resolutions You Can Keep”

  1. Yep, my goal this year is to get our family packed and moved to a new house and I think that’s enough to focus on for now!

  2. I love the idea of goals–just something to work towards. And the Calm Mom is a great one. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at #heartandsoullinkup

  3. I love how real you are in this post! Motherhood can definitely be challenging at times and I completely agree with you about the calm voice. I noticed that it works way way better than when I’m screaming at my kids!

    1. *Thanks,* Innana! It took a long time for me to get to this first-post-ever on my blog, and I can’t tell you how many times I edited it (!!!), so it’s great to hear that even as a newbie, I had something of my writer’s voice down here! 🙂 Have a happy and calm-voice New Year 🙂

  4. Pingback: Monday Magic – Happy New Year! Inspiring blogs to start 2018 | Pain Pals

  5. Erin - Unbound Roots

    FLossie, I love this post. Everything from making goals instead of resolutions to using a calm voice. I have also learned that using a calm voice gets me a lot further with the kids – especially when I ask something of them. Happy New Year, Flossie and wishing you the best with your 2018 goals. 🙂

    1. Aww, *thanks* so much, Erin! So glad you liked it!!! Happy New Year back at ya, and here’s to goals set and accomplished all around! 🙂

  6. I definitely need to find my calm voice. It can be hard in the heat of the moment, but I agree that it is best for everyone.

    Happy New Year! Slay those goals!

  7. I definitely need to use my calm voice more often. I am a bit of a hot head and use a lot attitude in my tone of voice. So having a more calm voice will help everyone out.

    1. Oooooh, your comment makes me laugh inside – my own mama often accuses me of having too much “attitude” in my voice! Here’s to a calm-voice 2018 for both of us! 🙂

  8. I feel like resolutions are made to be broken too! We respect goals a lot more and they are so much easier to achieve! Great post!

  9. That zen voice sounds like magic! 😀

    I remember one of my best teachers used a similar trick. He would speak quietly, but that would just keep us all quiet while we strained to listen to him. Shouting teachers just seem to make the class more rowdy.

  10. To stress less is already at the top of my goals for 2018. Definitely also need to work on my calm voice, one day at a time as you say. 🙂

  11. I use the calm voice, too. It works wonders. Mainly, because my boys have to stop what they’re doing to hear me. 😉

  12. Teresa Les Chander

    Flossie, you totally nailed it when you said your goal was to be less stressed in life, and more calm. That’s an exact goal I’ve set for myself in 2018. It’s super tough being a mom and I agree that ‘goals’ seem so much better than ‘resolutions’.

    1. Aww, thanks Teresa! I have to say, now that the kids are older and I’ve had a few years to practice, I’m definitely getting better at the “less stressed” thing 🙂 – still need to remember to use that Calm Voice at ALL times, though! 🙂

  13. I definitely need to adopt this approach – the calm me can keep pain at bay and still function. I had thought that as the little darlings grew, the stressed mum would recede – not true, particularly when a twenty something moves home after 3 years away……I will try hard!!!

    1. Haha – that has definitely NOT been my experience! Tho, to be fair, the stresses are different as they get older 🙂 The best we can do is keep trying – hence goals not resolutions! 🙂

      1. A lovely post that I have shared on PainPals feature “Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs to start 2018!”. Happy New Year, C x

  14. You are wise. As a parent and a former therapist, the calm voice is an essential tool in your arsenal for both you and the kids. The more you do it, the more natural it will be. Happy New Year Flossie!

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