There are some things you can do to help you succeed at your New Year’s resolutions but the most important thing is to make your resolutions important enough to follow through on. Here are some ideas to make some life altering changes. You don’t need to do all. Focus on one a month, or just pick your top three for the year.
Go to bed on time:
- Adequate sleep is critical in a person’s mental, physical, and emotional well being.
Eat more green stuff:
- Very few of us actually eat enough vegetables. Try to include extra fruit and vegetables at every meal. Put chopped broccoli and peppers in your scrambled eggs, add some kale leaves to your salad or sandwich at lunch, and mix some zucchini into your potatoes at supper. You don’t need to revamp your whole cooking and meal planning strategy, you just need to add some extra nutrients to what you’re already making.
Read to your kids more:
- This is good for you and good for them. Even if your kids are older, they can get used to, and will learn to appreciate a family reading time. Make regular read aloud time a bonding activity.
Spend some time outside every day:
- Get some fresh air and sunshine. If it’s windy or rainy or even blizzardy, fresh air can still do you good. A friend who runs a day home says that she is required to take the children outside for at least 20 minutes, unless it is 20 degrees below Celsius ( that’s -4 Fahrenheit for all the American readers). It’s a requirement I think most adults could benefit from.
Rest one day per week:
- Even God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th and your work is not more important than His. Take a day to unplug and relax. Your family will thank you and getting back to the grind at the beginning of the week will be a lot easier. Studies have proven time and again that you will accomplish more in less hours if you take that time to recharge.
Make a will and retirement plan and get life insurance:
- If you don’t already have this set up, you’re behind. You never know when something will happen and you don’t want to rely on the government to make these important decisions. And preparing for the future is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your children.
Cook more meals from scratch:
- Not only will this save you money, you’ll also be eating healthier than if you pop premade meals in the oven or microwave. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Make spaghetti every week or chicken and potatoes.
Random acts of kindness:
- I’m not talking about paying for the order of the vehicle behind you in the drive through. I’m talking about serving your own family. My oldest, age 6, is expected to clear the table and help tidy the kitchen after supper. Once in a while I’ll get the opportunity to speed clean the table when he isn’t looking, as a surprise for him. Or I’ll ask my children multiple times to hang up their coat and then, instead of getting mad that they haven’t done it, I’ll hang it up for them. I have actually found that they are more likely to hang up their coat the next time, often without me having to ask. Your family deserves the best you have to give.
- The key with this one is to do it in a language they understand. Different things matter to different people. The author of a book I read talks about how she starches her husband’s shirts and he loves it. My farmer husband could care less about starched shirt but he truly appreciates when I refill his iced tea jug.
Compliment someone daily:
- You would be surprised how good it makes you feel to make someone else feel loved. It does not need to be a big deal, a simple ‘I love that smile’ will do just fine.
Make a family photo album:
- Upload all those cell phone photos and email them to Walmart to print and slide them into a photo album. Super simple. A friend in the photography industry told me that something like 90% of digital photos taken will never be printed. Preserve those memories in something more than digital form. A hard copy is way easier for grandparents or even your children to flip through to relive those memories.
Say “no” more often:
You don’t have to do everything. If you aren’t able to do it, they will find someone who can. You don’t have to save the world single handedly. And your children don’t need to be involved in everything under the sun. You have more important things to do.
In the spirit of my own resolutions, I have decided to say “no” to a few things in my life. I’ve run into some health problems that require me to reduce my stress load. My children are my biggest source of stress (albeit beautiful stress) and I’m stuck with them for life (which is a good thing!) so my options of what to cut are rather limited. Unfortunately, writing for TOTS is no longer a realistic expectation of myself. So, after seeing the TOTS Network grow from and idea in Katrina and Catherine’s minds to the amazing resource it is today, I say farewell to the TOTS crew. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this network and of the amazing TOTS author team. I look forward to watching from the sidelines as TOTS continues to bring great information and tasty recipes to my inbox.