If you were with me this time last year you may remember a post I did called “NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: Make New Year’s Resolution”. In it I talked about my need to start setting goals for myself and for my family. Goals that I hoped to accomplish at least half of by the same time this year. I said I would share with you how I chose to fulfill or abandon each goal and so here I am a year later, talking to you fine folk about how “I hate new years resolutions.”
See I set these goals with all the best intentions, these were the things I wanted for my family and for myself and the blog which I have poured my heart into. Before I started writing this article I thought to myself, “I’m pretty sure I’ve accomplished most, if not all of the goals I set out in that article”, but then I revised the article and realised that I reached pretty much ‘none’ of my family goals and only a few of my personal ones.
I began the post with confidence and now I feel the sting of defeat and disappointment in life and in myself. I look toward the next year and think “will I accomplish anything this time, or will this be another disappointing year, full of unfulfilled desires and unrealised dreams?” I know, I know, very dramatic and your probably thinking there is surely a lot of positive things (not on my list of goals) that I could focus on and be thankful for, and…well, you would be right.
But let’s take a look at them together and maybe I can turn my perspective of disappointment into one of contentment and hopefulness.
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I decided that I needed two categories for my goals last year, one for my family and one for my personal growth. I figured 5 goals for each was a realistic amount, not wanting to take the fun out of it by putting myself under too much pressure.
So, my goals were;
- Develop a weekly routine that is structured yet allows flexibility for spontaneity and fun.
- Work on strengthening family dynamics (blended families can be a challenge).
- Schedule a “Family day” or “Family night” each week.
- Teach kids to set their own goals for the year.
- Structure a better family budget that helps us plan for bills, time off, birthdays, unexpected expenses and saving toward our own home.
- Increase blog posts to a minimum of twice per week.
- Open an online shop to increase household funds so that saving for a home will be more achievable.
- Change direction of Mum Life Stories blog to make it more inclusive.
- Finish writing at least one novel.
- Find a balance between work and family life.
All pretty nobel goals I believe, but all were based on the idea that my situation then would remain my current situation, which was not the case. I’ll explain as I go into more detail.
1. Develop a weekly routine that is structured yet allows flexibility for spontaneity and fun.
This one wasn’t a complete flop, but it wasn’t a complete success either. As far as a written schedule goes, I have not spent the envisaged copious hours on a structured, planned-out physical schedule that I can hang on the fridge and refer to on a daily basis etc. Our nightly routine and weekly one however has taken on a more structured shape so that the kids know when bedtime is and when play group is and when day care is, etc etc. When they get older I may take on the task of writing (or more likely typing) up a physical schedule that the kids can see and contribute to, but for now I think what we have is good enough.
2. Work on strengthening family dynamics
This is a pretty huge one that at first I thought was a failure, but now I realise was a success. See at the time I wrote it, my little blended family was experiencing tension, conflict and confusion. No one was really in a happy place, we were all feeling a little lost and under enormous pressure. My hope was to strengthen the family relationships to get our ship sailing in the right direction, but it became clear in time that the only way that was going to happen, was if we were sailing on two different ships.
So my blended family became a single parent family once again, with the two youngest kids moving from one ship during the week to another ship on the weekends. At first life got a little harder but the family dynamics on my ship were strengthened and vastly improved. We still have our drama’s like every family, no family is perfect after all, but everyone is that little bit lighter, a lot happier and we know we can rely on each other. Life is still tough at times but we get through it as a family.
3. Schedule a Family Day or Family Night each week.
This one proved to be tougher than I thought. Basically it hasn’t really happened yet, as a complete family anyway. With the little ones shuffling between houses and my two older boys starting jobs at nights on the weekends, it’s tough to organise a regular night or day when we are all together, so instead I make sure we always have dinner together at the dining table, every night that we are all at home and on the weekends I make myself available during the day to do something with my teens. We may not have a regular family night but we spend time together regularly.
4. Teach kids to set their own goals for the year.
Ok let’s just skip past this one because basically I forgot all about it. One to add to the new list though.
5. Structure a better family budget that helps us plan for bills, time off, birthdays, unexpected expenses and saving toward our own home.
Well since my financial position changed somewhat, it was difficult to structure any kind of budget. Part of my finances are consistent and regular while another part of my finances can sometimes arrive, while sometimes they do not. The part of my finances that is consistent just covers the weekly living expenses, while the inconsistent part covers large monthly and bi-monthly bills and all other expenses, so my way of budgeting is simply to buy what is most important with the consistent income and wait till the inconsistent income arrives to buy anything else and when it doesn’t come, pray and trust! We always get through but this year I’d really like to save toward some specific things, plus acquire another consistent income stream.
1. Increase blog posts to a minimum of twice per week.
Once again, my first thoughts were “Yes, Success! This one I actually managed to achieve.” I worked hard all year to try and get at least 2 posts out each week. I thought there were just a few off weeks when kids had been sick or life had been crazy where I missed a few posts, but upon review of my site statistics I discovered that I only made 46 posts for the year, so that’s an average of not quite 1 post a week. Did I fail?
Well, even though I didn’t reach the target of 2 posts a week, I still doubled the amount of posts from the previous year. I increased the frequency of posts, I more than quadrupled my followers and my views increased 7 fold. I can’t be disappointed with that.
2. Open an online shop to increase household funds so that saving for a home will be more achievable.
Well, this one was successful and not at the same time. I did in fact open an online store, worked very hard to get it up and running and got some attention. I did not however get many sales. Also with my two little ones still at home, time proved to be a real issue. I could not dedicate the time and money required to market the store and maintain it, in order for it to be truly successful, plus I wasn’t getting enough time for this blog.
I had to sit back, do some soul searching and think about my reasons for opening the store. Number one was to develop a side income (which wasn’t happening) and number two was to prove to my ex, that I could be successful at something. It wasn’t long before I decided I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone other than myself and I decided that I needed to follow my heart and concentrate on what gave me the most joy. Ultimately I had to decide between the shop and the blog as I did not have the time, nor energy for both. Guess which one I chose?
3. Change direction of Mum Life Stories blog to make it more inclusive.
Well this is the one that I implemented straight after I made the resolutions. I did indeed change the direction of the blog. I believe I told more of other peoples stories than I did of my own and I tried to encourage people to interact more. This part didn’t go so well and although there were more likes on posts, there was not a huge increase in comments.
I did however begin writing competitions which encouraged people to submit their stories so I guess it could be considered a victory. This year I would like to open up a facebook group where Mother’s can share their stories in a safe, non-judgmental environment and find support.
4. Finish writing at least one novel.
Well this didn’t happen. I believe I completed one extra chapter as I spent most of my writing time, working on the blog. Unfortunately this year the extra spare time I thought I was going to get, was not forthcoming and life took quite a lot of energy out of me. I have one little one starting kindy this year so hopefully there will be a little more room to get that novel done as well as keeping up with the blog.
5. Find a balance between work and family life.
Last but not least the ultimate goal. The goal that every mum everywhere is constantly fighting to achieve. I can’t say that I have all my plates spinning at once in perfect unison, some are a bit wobbly and some are spinning too fast but that’s ok, because some plates are more important than others and some plates have to be given less priority. Family will always come first and everything else has to take its turn. Maybe I’ve just learnt to come to terms with that, rather than having everything perfectly balanced.
So what have I learnt from setting ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ this year?
I hate New Year’s Resolutions! Here’s why;
The Oxford dictionary (Lexico.com) describes the word ‘resolution‘ as a firm decision to do or not to do something. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who is very disappointed in myself if I don’t do something that I’ve made a very firm decision to do. If I was to look at these resolutions in that way, I would have to say I failed, that I didn’t accomplish much etc, but what if I looked at it a different way?
The Oxford dictionary (Lexico.com) describes the word ‘goal‘ as the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. So a goal is something to strive for, something you ‘hope’ to achieve. I had ‘hoped’ to achieve all these resolutions but life is not black and white, it’s not predictable, you can’t just decide you definitely ‘are’ or definitely ‘are not’ going to do something because no one knows what the future holds, and there are so many variables to consider when deciding on a path, variables that could ultimately change your path.
There are many disappointments in life, to be sure but there are also so many precious moments and positive events that we can overlook if we focus on the things we ‘didn’t’ accomplish. If we ‘resolve’ to do something and life changes our direction then we can be left feeling defeated and like a failure.
That’s why I’ve decided not to do ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ this year, but to have ‘New Year Goals’ instead. A list of things I would like to accomplish and will make every effort to accomplish if it’s possible. If I don’t reach all of these goals, I will not condemn myself, I will make new goals that fit with where I am at. I will be happy and satisfied if I reach half my goals, like I have decided to be this year, with half my resolutions accomplished.
This is not to say that resolutions are wrong, I absolutely believe that if you want something bad enough, you need to go for it with all your heart and mind and soul and never give up until you accomplish it, as long as you still believe in it. If life changes your priorities and that resolution no longer fits with your priorities, you need to be ok with letting it go. Having dreams and ambitions is different from having goals. Your dreams and ambitions are the end game and your goals are how you will play the game, but that’s an article for another time.
Have a very happy New Year and stay tuned for my ‘New Year Goals’ coming very soon.
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