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The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, and doubly so for moms. With so much happening in the month of December, setting New Year’s resolutions often gets overlooked.
And keeping them is even harder. For those who do take the time to set goals, many don’t make it past January 17th. Regardless of busy schedules, moms can set goals for themselves. And you, mama, deserve to keep goals that will support you.
Whether you’re looking to boost your well-being, improve your finances, or enjoy more “me time,” you deserve to focus your energy on keeping those resolutions.
We’re not going to pretend it’s easy, but we’re sharing 5 ways you can make and keep your New Year’s Resolutions this year! We’ve also included a free printable financial advent calendar to get you going!
1. Plan Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
One issue that comes up with New Year’s resolutions is tracking long-term goals but not short-term ones.
Let’s say you decided you want to exercise 200 days in the next year. Many people stop after that statement, but going further is actually crucial to accomplishing your goal because, on January 20, those 200 days feel SO far away.
So sure, plan that long-term goal. But also, break down what it means in shorter increments. With 52 weeks in a year, that means exercising 3-4 days a week.
Then break it down even further. How do you know which weeks will be 3 and which will be 4?
- Are you likely to exercise less around certain vacations or holidays? Perhaps make those weeks 2 days.
- Do you have and medical procedures planned that could get in the way?
- What days of the week are best for you?
- What times of day do you prefer?
Answering the more detailed questions will help you make a plan. Perhaps you’re going to work on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings, and then go for a family walk on Saturdays. Great!
Now you can schedule your exercise into your routine so you don’t accidentally miss it because you didn’t leave time. But more importantly for achieving your New Year’s Resolution goals, you can track weekly and monthly achievements without being overwhelmed by that big goal of 200 days per year!
Too many people focus on the long-term resolution, or where they’d like to be by next December. To get to that point, however, you need to set short-term goals for yourself.
Not only will this ensure you’re making regular progress toward your goals, but it will help you develop positive habits.
2. Track Measurable Resolutions
An essential step to keep your New Year’s resolutions is by making them measurable. Sure, you can say you want to save money or eat better in the New Year. But how do you quantify that?
Let’s say that you have a big family vacation that you want to take, and you’ve set a goal of saving a large lump sum for said vacation.
Color your planner biweekly or monthly after you’ve put money into your savings account (preferably after each paycheck), so you can see how long you’ve been saving. Then total each week and each month to keep track of how you’re keeping up with your goals.
When it comes to resolutions, you always should track your progress, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, or even all of the above!
Find a moment each day or week to write down how you’ve moved toward your goals regardless of whether or not you’ve hit them during that stretch of time.
Grab all the printables you need for tracking purposes through this New Year’s resolution challenge for attainable day-to-day financial goals.
Click the image to download this 31 day calendar of New Year’s Financial Resolutions to help kickstart your goals!
3. Find a Support System
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to stick to something without accountability?
So many of us have difficulty holding ourselves accountable, but then we jump through hoops to make good on promises we make to other people. Why not take advantage of that?
Find a support system. This can be a partner, a group of friends, or even an online mom community with similar goals and values.
Share your plans for the new year with your support group and ask them to help you stay accountable. It’s also been shown that sharing intentions increases the likelihood of following through on them, so you’re already ahead!
4. Reward Yourself!
Another incentive to remain on track with your New Year’s resolutions is to set up a rewards system.
Let’s be honest: we perform better when offered positive reinforcement, and you can use that to your advantage this new year. Kids respond to sticker charts and prizes–why wouldn’t adults?
Choose milestones on the way to your long-term goal and then decide how you’ll reward yourself when you reach them. These milestones can be small treats like getting a babysitter to go get your nails done, or spending a little more on a bottle of wine to enjoy after the kids go to bed.
Celebrating your wins will motivate you to keep going.
Just remember, it’s better if your reward isn’t counterproductive to your goal. For example, your reward for hitting your weekly exercise goal shouldn’t be a week off from the gym. And if the reward does fall in line with your goal–like buying a new pair of pants to celebrate that smaller waistline, or going on a hike to enjoy the greater energy–more power to you!
5. Be Realistic & Kind to Yourself
One of the most important things to keep in mind when setting resolutions — especially for those of us who are busy — is to keep your goals realistic.
There’s no problem with dreaming big, but if your resolutions are too difficult to achieve, you’ll become easily discouraged.
When we see that we aren’t making immediate progress, the temptation to give up can be strong. Setting smaller, easier goals can be a lifesaver, especially if you only have a minimal amount of time to dedicate to them as a busy mama.
Likewise, it’s important to be kind to yourself on your journey through the New Year. Yes, you should hold yourself accountable, but don’t beat yourself up whenever you backtrack!
If you set a 4-day-a-week exercise routine but only make 2 days a week, be proud of those two day! You worked hard for them. Then evaluate–do you need to increase your commitment to a 4-day exercise week, or would you be better suited long-term to decreasing the days of week in your commitment to yourself?
Being too critical can bring that progress to a halt, and that’s the last thing you want.
What New Year’s Resolutions are YOU making? Tell us all about them!
Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, mom, recurrent miscarriage survivor, & owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society puts too many expectations on women that make womanhood and motherhood restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Romper, Scary Mommy, Demeter Press’s Motherhood and Social Exclusion, & more.