Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work For Parents

We're breaking down why new year's resolutions don't work for parents and 5 things to do for yourself in 2022 instead.

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It’s that time of the year! New Year’s Resolutions—a fluid list of all the ways we’re going to be better in 2022 than we were in 2021. 

New year, new you, am I right? Friends, I am not right. I am not a resolution person and I just don’t know that resolutions are something parents are super successful at (generally speaking, of course). 

There are probably a lot of reasons why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work for parents, but my main qualm with setting resolutions for the new year is that I am but one part (albeit an integral one) of a unit that wins and loses as a whole. The fact is my success or failure is tied so closely to my role as a parent, and in turn, is directly correlated to my actual kids! Would I love to work out more? Sure! Can I resolve to work out a certain amount of time every day starting on January 1, knowing that having kids means I never really know what each day is going to bring my way? I could, but I probably wouldn’t get very far. 

So I skip the resolutions, and maybe you should too. Instead, I’ve started setting more personal and individual affirmations for myself. Things I want to remember to do for me, give to me, expect from me. I am part of a unit, yes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t focus more on myself. These aren’t things I plan on doing; rather, they’re things I deserve and write down to remind myself that I am deserving of them. 

Your time is valuable, too.

A lot of people depend on us, and we depend on so many others. And it’s easy to take ourselves down a peg on the priority ladder in order to make someone else’s life easier! We’re never our own priority, right? But we should be. Because as valuable as other people’s time is, ours is equally as valuable. Actually, no—it’s more valuable. Because it is ours.

‘No’ is a complete sentence.

You know those ‘Yes Days’ that make the rounds in parenting circles every so often? Well this is like that, except instead of saying ‘yes’, you say ‘no’. And instead of it being a day, it’s the whole damn year. Say no more! Say no to the things you don’t want to do, or the things that don’t enrich your life or experience in meaningful ways. Say no to add value to your time, or say no because you just want to say it. Say no, and try not to qualify it. No is enough, no explanation needed.

Expect more from others.

We hold ourselves to such high standards, and it’s time we started doing the same for people in our lives. If they’re not able or willing to raise their game to meet yours? See above. 

Expect less from yourself.

Those damn high standards again, right? We can do it all, we can fix it all, we can juggle more balls than someone with seven arms. Or…can we? Sure, we might be able to DO these things, in the basic sense of being able to accomplish them. But at what cost? Stop depleting yourself to meet expectations only you have for yourself (this was a note to myself, btw). 

Slow down.

This is the one I’m not looking forward to reminding myself of in 2022. We don’t have to move at the speed of light and cram as much into every minute of every day as humanly possible. Take that PTO you’ve been stockpiling. Skip a weekend full of activities for a weekend at home with your people. Time is going to fly by no matter how we fill it, so give yourself the chance every once in a while to actually…savor it.

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