We are well into the new year, and with that, most people who have made resolutions have also given up. January is usually a time for focusing on progress, yet it can be daunting with the sun setting so early and colder temperatures.
I was 18 the last time I made a New Year’s resolution. Growing up in Connecticut, the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s brought snow, festive get-togethers, and joy. But come New Year’s Day; dust settles upon us. The decorations come down, the holiday vibes are all gone, and the days seem endlessly grey. My views on how to move up and into the new year have changed.
Kick The Unrealistic Expectations to the Curb
Unrealistic pressure is how I describe the expectation that we are one person on December 31st only to flip the calendar a page and expect to become another. Little steps are far more productive and attainable for many of us. I noticed a pattern when wearing my fitness watch during the height of the pandemic. We had put up a pool for the first time, planned before the pandemic even hit. I usually was the one caring for the pool, including cleaning it. I consistently achieved 10k steps or more on the days I cleaned the pool. That summer, I felt the best I had physically in years, despite how disconnected we all still were.
Incorporate Moves Into Your Everyday Routine
The best way to approach this is to ask yourself, instead of sitting could I move my body? I aim to achieve 10k steps or more four times a week. Walking a few miles before work or on the weekends or walking the track while my kids have practice can accumulate quickly! If walking is not your thing, check out these other ideas to make progress.
Reducing Sugar, Dyes, and Artificial Preservatives
I belong to a “Dye-Free Foods” Mom group. Initially, I regretted joining because some moms had an all-or-nothing approach. Often, it was because they had already identified allergies to dyes or a marked difference in behavior when their kid’s food did not contain these additives. So I understand the aggressive approach! I started by identifying the top three foods my boys usually want to consume and set out to replace those. I have replaced their favorite sandwich cookie and bright red nacho chip with alternatives to the point they are no longer asking for the old brands! Their juice and sports beverages have also been swapped out for better options. Candy is more of a struggle, but we have also made strides there. I am incredibly proud of our transformations, albeit small!
Change Up Your Bedtime Routine
The best sleep in my most ideal timeframes (note: no one is ill, school is in session for the kiddos, and no additional, nontypical mom stress is occurring) happens when I shut down electronics by 10 p.m., take a bath, and climb into bed with a book. My brain requires that shift. My reading is light! No Hemingway at this time of night!
Say “Yes!” to Yourself
I can count on one hand how many times I have put myself ahead of saying yes to obligations for the kids. This was highlighted recently when trying to plan a girls’ trip. I found that many moms, including myself, could not prioritize ourselves, even if it meant missing a child’s activity or, even worse, if it meant asking another parent to step in with driving duties. I understand firsthand there are times when you want to be present and the joy it brings. I have said “no” myself, but there have to be times when we place ourselves first. Note: this does not mean you sacrifice when no one else in the group does. I have done that as well. It’s a balance.
Start imagining the things you put off for “someday” as beginning to turn in motion. For me, it is traveling more with our kids now that they are getting older and can travel more fluidly without naps, toys, and constant supervision. Whether it be heading back to South Africa, venturing to Europe, or roughing it. At the same time, camping (glamping for me) in Canada, something ignites inside me when my thoughts of wanting to travel begin sounding like we are planning on traveling!