I hope you all had a wonderful New Year, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Festivus…whatever you prefer to celebrate.
I also hope you gave yourself time to rest, relax, and spend some quality time with your families, recharging yourself physically and emotionally.
Unless you were basically off the grid this past week, you no doubt saw the typical slew of end-of-year of commercials, social posts, emails, etc., about New Year’s resolutions and goal setting. And they really seemed to be ratcheted up in volume and intensity this year, since we’re starting a new decade as well.
“Time to set a big, ten-year resolution!”
“Don’t just set a goal for 2021 – set one for 2030!”
“Look at how far you’ve come since 2009 – now set your sights on how much better your life can be by 2029!”
Sit down, people.
You make me want to run and hide under my bed. 🛏
While I agree that it’s a good thing to want to set goals for yourself – audacious ones even – we need to be careful not to do so in response to trendy social memes or an endless drumbeat of tv commercials.
If we do so without having the level of commitment needed to support it, we’re merely setting ourselves up for disappointment. We’re also risking forgetting to be kind to ourselves along the way, falling into the hole of compare-and-despair.
It’s OK to not want to have a big New Year’s resolution or new major life goals. This is especially true if you haven’t already actively defined any of them as a priority in your life.
Instead of grandiose goals, how about deciding on a small goal or set of goals that are easier to manage and prioritize? Ones that you can make just a little bit of time for in between all of your existing daily time demands? That are easy to incorporate into your life without a major disruption in your everyday routine?
I like the concept of 1% daily improvement. If you’ve never heard of it, Dr. Michael C. Melvin discusses it in his book “1 Percent Better Everyday”. Have you ever heard of it?
It’s based on the idea of continuous improvement through small, incremental changes. These small changes, done consistently over time, lead to larger, more sustainable improvements.
So rather than set audacious (yet unrealistic) goals that the average working mom would find pretty difficult to commit to and would ultimately abandon, you just wiggle in a little bit here and there, and over time you see real achievement.
To me, it’s like the tortoise and the hare of goal setting. Slow and steady wins the race. Just be sure to have the patience for slow, and the commitment for steady.
So what would that look like? How about:
- If you want to commit to getting more rest, and you typically stay up past 11:00 watching TV every night, just commit to going to sleep at 10:00 one night a week. Not too drastic, right? Then once you’ve made that a steady habit, bump it up to two nights a week, and so on. In a few months you’ll feel the benefits of many nights of restful sleep.
- Trying to eat healthier? Commit to packing yourself a nutritious lunch one day a week, letting yourself stick to your normal lunchtime habits on the other days. Just pick one day, say every Wednesday. Seems less daunting than the drudgery of making a drastic switch in how you get lunch every day, right? In a few weeks bump that up to 2 days, etc. Before you know it, having your own healthy lunch option available to you at work is a standard, not an exception.
You get the picture. Just apply it to whatever goal or minor improvement you want.
- Job hunting? Send out one resume a week.
- Need some ‘me’ time? Start scheduling one nail/hair/massage appointment a month.
- Looking to declutter your home? Set aside just one hour a weekend to clean out a closet, a dresser, or a section of the garage.
As working moms, we have enough commitments on our plates every day without having to work big goals and resolutions into the mix. But that doesn’t mean we have to choose between either jumping on the resolution bandwagon and struggling to keep up, or not setting goals for ourselves at all out of fear of failure and disappointment.
We can choose to do goals our own way, in a way that works for us and our lives. If that means sticking to a goal 1 percent at a time, we’re still making progress.
And that’s all we need to ask of ourselves.
So my recommendation is to choose something you can improve upon with the standard of one percent at a time, be it a day, a week, or a month. It doesn’t really have to be a measurable one percent, just something that gives you a consistent, incremental sense of growth and improvement the longer you do it.
This time next year, I predict you’ll be toasting yourself for how well you’ve accomplished your goal.
Happy New Year, Mamas. 🥂 I wish you all the best.