Up until recently I was always really intense about making my New Year’s resolutions every year. I often made a long list of at least ten things, and was super pumped to write them out with grand plans of completing all of them-because they were awesome resolutions to have after all.
You know, like how I would:
Read my Bible every day
Be a better person
Be an awesome wife
Read a ton of cool books
Of course, like most of us, I would do really great the first couple of weeks (or days) and then things would start to slide. I often wondered why I couldn’t be consistent.
It bothered me that I would determine to do something I felt was really important for my life, only to fail so quickly. I always thought of myself as a strong-willed person who could get things done. Why couldn’t I just be awesome every day?
Well, it took becoming a mom for me to finally find the answer.
Before being a parent, I could have a daily routine that was consistent if I felt like it, work was on my own schedule, and I had time to shower and exercise (all those lovely things) at my leisure. If I had truly wanted to do everything on my resolutions list, I totally could have. Most of the time though, I wanted to just go with the flow of life. I wasn’t super organized and most of the time I just spontaneously did what needed to be done around the house whenever I felt like doing it.
Once I had my babies, however, I launched into panic mode, and realized that I needed structure and a schedule or I was going to go crazy. Everything was so out of control in my mind that the security of a predictable routine for my girls was my lifeline. Also, I quickly had to learn that organization is a twin mom’s best friend, and that life would be a lot less stressful if I had control of my day. Not to mention all the reading I did on how important a flexible routine is for babies and small children.
So I set out to learn how to be more organized and establish systems to keep the house running somewhat smoothly, even though it went against my nature.
This was all fine until I realized that I still had trouble being consistent when it came to things I wanted to do better at in my personal life. I felt restrained and trapped by my own attempts to be organized and have self-discipline. I would get too overwhelmed at the thought of not eating sugar for a year. Or tying to exercise when I had been up all night with sick babies. Or doing the same thing everyday. Life just gets in the way. I just needed to be able to have days where I could do whatever. So what to do?
One day I finally admitted to myself that I am not a goal-oriented person. I figured out the reason my past New Year’s resolutions had always failed was because I was doing goal setting wrong, and since that area of life wasn’t something that came naturally for me, I just had fun making big resolutions and then leaving it at that. It was also the reason I couldn’t seem to be consistent with little resolutions I made for myself throughout the year.
So is there hope for the go-with-the-flow moms who want to be more organized, self-disciplined and consistent with the things that really matter?
You need to set small goals first
I love lists. I get so much joy out of making lists about everything. House projects that need to be done, recipes to try, clothes I need to purchase, places I want to travel someday..but the joy ends there. I don’t actually get excited about checking stuff off my precious lists. Weird, I know. But apparently it’s part of my personality. It takes so much effort to DO everything on my lists. So much more fun to just make the list.
However, as I’ve been learning, goals are the key to getting stuff done, and to developing self-discipline, consistency and perseverance. Goals give you direction and keep you on track. Goals you can break down into manageable chunks. You can set a goal for the year, and then break it down into months, weeks and days. Goals need to be specific and attainable though.
Vague New Year resolution I would have made before-I will declutter my house this year.
Specific goal I made this time- I will get rid of 350 items from my house this year before Dec 31 2017.
Since I’m a lazy goal achiever, I also learned that I can just set a goal for one day. If having a big goal for the whole year overwhelms me, I can just take one day at a time, or focus on one month at a time.
This is easy for me, because I can say no to sugar for a day or I can read a few Bible verses in a day. Some days it may be important to just get through the day with everyone fed. It’s OK to wake up and say, “my goal for today is to get through the day with a good attitude and that’s it”. Because as moms, some days will be extra tough, and we just can’t predict when a toddler will get a new tooth or start throwing up everywhere.
Every day will always be different, even in the most structured, consistent, same-thing-every-day routine. That’s the exciting thing about life though. It’s always changing and bringing us new challenges to help us grow and be better people.
So make daily goals if you struggle with making bigger goals and if you really aren’t a goal person at all, start with prioritizing-this also takes some self discipline but can keep you on track with what matters.
See my post on establishing your priorities here: “Life’s Too Short Not to Pee”-The Key to a Successful Day
For really important things-form a daily or weekly habit.
Is there some thing that you really want to do everyday that you aren’t doing yet? Give it a time and place in your daily routines and it will eventually become a habit like brushing your teeth before bed or making coffee in the morning.
Or maybe you want to improve on something like doing laundry on certain days of the week to help keep things running smoothly in your house. Whatever it is, stick with it until it becomes a habit. If it’s important enough, you’ll do it!
So if you’re a mama like me that likes to go with the flow of life and not be constrained by big goals and expectations, then I hope this post can encourage you to not get too stressed out by all the New Year resolution hype but to start thinking about how you can succeed in the consistency area. It’s not about trying to be someone you’re not, it’s about always growing to be the person, wife and mama that God calls you to be.
After all, the Christian life is all about becoming more like Christ, and cultivating the fruits of the spirit in our lives. One of which is self-control!
What about you? Are you a hardcore goal-setter who loves to make and realize their goals? Or are you a one-day-at-a-time mama who struggles with setting goals at all?
What are some of your New Year goals for 2017? Are there some good habits you want to start making?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Happy New Year!