Snowy scene at Sundance Resort

Photo and text by Gabrielle. 

Oh my. It’s late Monday night and I’ve been trying to post all day long. Getting back on schedule is rough! But before I head to bed, I wanted to check in and talk resolutions for a minute.

First of all, do you even call them resolutions? Do you prefer calling them goals? Wishes? Hopes? Dreams? Do you choose a word for the year? A theme? A mantra?

Do you find this sort of New Year thinking stressful or silly and skip it altogether?

Do you have a system? Maybe you read last year’s goals and evaluate how you did? Are you semi-scientific about it like Gretchen Rubin and her Happiness Project?

Me? I’m a fan of resolutions, though mine are more like goals. I really like setting some time aside to think about the upcoming year. I try to picture it — what I might accomplish, how my life might look different at the end of next December. Where do I want to go this year? Who will I see? What projects will I finish? What projects will I start? Do I have any big milestones coming up? I like being intentional about my life. Surprises still happen, flexibility is still required, but I like how to feels to have a plan in place.

Sometimes I lean toward more practical goals, but this year, I want to be really ambitious with my goal-making. I want to include ideas that I don’t think I can even pretend to accomplish. You know that quote about aiming high? “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” That’s the sort of thinking I want to encourage in myself (and others!) in 2016.

It seems like most years, I take time during the Christmas break to think about my resolutions, but this time, the break was jam-packed. There wasn’t much in the way of alone time. If I’m being honest, I feel a little thrown off that I started back to my regular schedule today without having my New Year goals settled. And if I’m being even more honest, I don’t want to admit that because I’m afraid I’ll jinx 2016.

But then again, I don’t really believe in jinxing, so hopefully the year can still be saved. It would be a shame to give up on 2016 on January 4th. : )

How about you? Raise your hand if you’re making resolutions this year! Have you made them already? Anyone else feeling a bit behind today? Any goals you are particularly excited about? Please share! I can definitely use the inspiration. And if you’ve decided New Year’s Resolutions are not for you, I want to hear that story too!

P.S. — Yesterday I had one of those awful/wonderful parenting moments. Little June, 5-and-a-half-years-old, proudly discovered her first loose tooth! She could not have been more excited as she announced her “loofe toofe” with wide eyes (pronounced loofe toofe because her tongue is wiggling the tooth while she tries to talk). And her excitement was totally infectious. She had everyone in the house give it a wiggle, and that got everyone sharing their own loose tooth memories. (It’s the bottom center left tooth, if you’re curious.) June was so amazed!

After sharing in her joy, I had to turn away as my eyes filled with tears. Oh dear. If there was ever proof that my little ones are all grown up, it’s the first loose tooth of the last child! What an emotional roller coaster in the span of 60 seconds. So much joy for her joy. So much heartbreak as I see the baby stage get farther and farther away. And then it’s back to joy as I realize that I have been able to experience the first wiggly tooth of six different children! Dang I’m a lucky duck.

31 thoughts on “Resolutions”

  1. I know just what you mean! So wonderful and rough.
    I ALWAYS make new year goals, but haven’t done it this year! Yikes! They are always mental/emotional/physical/spiritual plus goals for me in improving relationships with each child +spouse and parents/siblings/in laws. Wow it even seems like too much typing that out! but it helps me think through specifically what I want to be and where I need to change. Anyway…..

  2. I totally agree: I like having some intentions to help sort of guide my new year. I am big on reflecting over the last year and making choices for the year to come. My Hopeful Intentions of 2016 are:
    *I hope that we get matched with our child(ren). My husband and I are endeavoring to adopt from the foster care system, and we’re licensed and waiting. The case doesn’t have to be all neatly finalized and wrapped up…I just want to know them!
    *I hope I can cultivate a sense of graceful flexibility with regards to change. There are several situations in my life that hold some potentially significant changes, and I have never been terribly good with accommodating change. This year, I want to work on my courage and spirit of adventure when faced with something different and new that needs adjusting to!
    *I have a lot of small goals about our house. It needs lots of little upgrades (there are some cracks in the drywall from the old house settling, we need a new patio door, we need to reseal the driveway, etc. etc.), and I hope that we can dig up the finances and spruce it up in the way that 50+ year old homes need from time to time. We love our home a lot: we want it to look like we do!
    Thanks for asking this! Now that I’ve said it, it makes it a bit more real. :)

  3. I don’t usually do goals per se-I actually made a “Happiness Plan” with different things (more water, 10,000 steps, 6 servings of greens, journaling, gratitude, 2 minutes of silence and a few other random things including daily progress on house projects) and formulated a checklist that I do every day. I started in August right before the kids all went back to school and it’s made a huge difference for me. I see everything written out, and habits have been formed after so many months. For the New Year I do a Word of the Year. Past years have been “Create”, “Connect”, “Nurture”-I’m actually still pondering what this year’s “theme” should be.

    And I totally understand the Last Tooth. My youngest of 4 is in 1st grade-and he’s about to lose his other top tooth. It’s so bittersweet.

    1. The idea of a “Happiness Plan” is delightful! Such a smart way to think of things. Make a plan and follow the plan to achieve happiness. I like that. I like when we can take responsibility for our happiness as much as possible.

  4. You described your reaction to June’s loose tooth perfectly. Pride at her growing up, complete loss on your end, yet gain as well. Such a mix, you know?

  5. Gosh your description of June made me tear up. I’m pregnant with our last baby and I’m finding each stage is a new process of letting go and looking forward. Ugh. Tears.
    Anyway, I have a goal this year to be more robotic. Meaning, I need to be more streamlined and organized. We (will) have 4 kids under 4, 2 careers, graduate school, and a major move this year. I tend to buck against having a routine but I’m not sure how to survive without one anymore. I sure would love your ideas on some of your streamlining techniques. Maybe even a day in the life of Design Mom? (like you do for all the other amazing people you highlight?!) I know you say you don’t do it all, but you sure do a lot. I’d love to learn things like,
    do you have a meal plan for the week?
    a chore schedule? a maid?
    a homework routine?
    scheduled one on one time for each kid?
    scheduled dates with your spouse?
    do you have a system for scheduling appointments?
    what about personal care? do you have a morning/night routine?
    do you have financial goals?
    what about scheduling/organizing tools? apps?

    Anyway, that’s a major thing on my mind these days. How to manage the world within our world…

    thanks Gabby! I’m looking forward to spending another year with you here on Design Mom!

    1. Jo, I second your request for Gabrielle! I often wonder the same things…how DOES she do it? And with a smile on her face? ;-) I only have two children, but I marvel at the abilities, energy, and focus of women around me (and online) with so much awe…and curiosity!

    2. I like how you framed your goal as being more robotic. Made me laugh! And I totally understand. I am the same way as far as tending to buck against a schedule. And yet, I really can’t manage the life I’ve created without one.

      I like your idea of a Day in the Life post. I’ll see what I can do!

      1. Yes! I love the Day in the Life too – even though my 4 kids are now 8-15 I’m always looking for ways to optimize and re-evaluate where we’re spending time in our lives. I have frequently wondered how you manage too!

  6. The last couple of years, my husband and I have committed to a word or phrase for the year. Last year, mine was “Slowly”. This year it’s all about “Owning Our Power”. We also make more specific goals, but I like having this one overarching emotional goal to focus on.

  7. I didn’t set new goals for the New Year since I’m currently working my way through my list of 101 goals in 1001 days. I did however give myself time to see where I’m at with my goals, and what needs to be tweaked or change so that I can better accomplish more of those goals this year!


  8. A couple of years ago I decided to have a theme and use it to guide all my decisions throughout the year. My first year was “my time” because I was not being good with self-care. Last year was SHINE, as in shine wherever I go. This year kind of sneaked up on me, but a few weeks ago in a panic I realized I hadn’t even thought of my theme word for 2016. So I took a few minutes and the word simplicity came to my mind. I felt great about that and the next morning I went to church and the first talk was on “The Christlike Virtue of Simplicity.” Lightning bolt moment. Had never thought about simplicity as a godly virtue before but it made total sense as I listened. So that is my theme for this year. I’m actually posting a little more about it on my blog tomorrow. Great topic Gabby. I love a fresh new start each year.

  9. I think that I still learn something new every day. This year I’m writing it down each day – to see if it’s true, and to look back over the year.

  10. I love making resolutions (though I also tend to call them “goals,” but either works!). I think Gretchen Rubin is one of the best authors in her genre. I loved The Happiness Project, and I loved Better Than Before even more!! Have you read that? I’ve always struggled with following through and making goals and forming healthy habits, and her book helped me a ton.

    I know depression manifests itself in different ways for everyone, but for me, at least now, making resolutions has helped me battle depression. I pick things that are important to me, and during those times when I’m at my worst and interest in anything runs low, I can at least tell myself that these are things I know are important to me, or will be when I feel better. Depression has often robbed me of a sense of purpose, and having some goals written down that I can look back on really helps me to start and get that purpose back. I actually just wrote a post on my goals for the year, and it’s got me very excited.

    (I also pick a word of the year and a saint of the year – something I started in 2015. This year’s word is challenge, and my saint is Joan of Arc.)

    You won’t jinx the new year! To me, any goals set in January or February still count as resolutions for the year, haha. Happy New Year!

    1. I haven’t read Better Than Before yet, but I keep wanting to! Glad to know it’s even better than The Happiness Project. And thank you for sharing your thoughts on depression. I especially found this helpful:

      “I pick things that are important to me, and during those times when I’m at my worst and interest in anything runs low, I can at least tell myself that these are things I know are important to me, or will be when I feel better. Depression has often robbed me of a sense of purpose, and having some goals written down that I can look back on really helps me to start and get that purpose back.”

  11. i love resolutions! one of my best friends and i live far apart from each other, but we have a weekly standing phone date at 7am on sundays where we always share highlights/struggles of our week and make goals for the next one. every new year’s day we geek out sharing our goals for the upcoming year. she came up with the best one this year, so i thought i’d share it. she singled out this quote in a book she is reading (not sure which one, sorry!):

    “But nearly all people I have met in this western society in which I live would agree to the general proposition that we need a life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. We need to be happy in this wonderland without being merely comfortable. How can we contrive to be astonished at the world yet at home in it?”

    so with that quote in mind we have made it our goal to each month find something to do that encourages our wonder in the world, and something that challenges fear in our world. and to, hopefully, live this year in astonishment of this wonderful, fearful life.

    happy new year!

  12. In the past I’ve made rather sweeping resolutions, the usual ones, you know the type. This year I made a list and I’m giving myself January to try them on and make sure they are manageable so that I can stick with them the rest of the year. One I’ve made is to question routines – not school routines, but personal routine reactions to things. Already this week I’ve changed a few responses and I’m loving the results.

  13. I love reading other people’s goals and the way they approach achieving them! My own are kind of scattered, though I did attempt to make some of them more real by posting about them on my blog. But those are ones that my daughter and I came up with together and are more for the family, rather than myself individually. This post and these comments are motivating me to make a list of personal goals I want to achieve this year. I love mamabirdy4’s idea of “trying them on” in January to see which ones are manageable! So much more realistic.

    1. “though I did attempt to make some of them more real by posting about them on my blog”

      I know just what you mean! Sharing them somehow makes them more real.

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