I can’t say that I’ve never had New Years Resolutions, but I can say that I’ve never made any that I was absolutely determined to keep. I’m not really a wait-’til-January kinda person; if I want to change something, I’ll change it at the time I feel like it needs to be changed. And there are several other things that I know would be better changed, but I’m just not on board with — like trying new foods or eating healthier (I’m as picky as they come). I need to work out and read more, like everyone else and their mom. I stopped going to physical therapy because the people there just started pissing me off and my strength and recovery have surely suffered some because of it. So yeah, I’d love to change that.
But resolutions like these aren’t just something you can do once or twice and put a check mark in the proverbial box; resolutions are typically lifestyle changes. And dammit, it’s really hard to change your lifestyle. Especially when you like your lifestyle. I, for one, like spending my free time doing something I enjoy. I’m not really wanting to trade it for time spent doing something that I don’t enjoy just because it’s “good” for me. I know, I’m a whiner, right? I agree.
Anyway, I was texting with my dear friend Summer when she mentioned that she cut sugar out of her diet, entirely, and has been feeling a lot better. It dawned on me that, as a family, we’ve been eating worse than usual and I’ve felt kinda tired lately. I wondered if I too could feel better if I changed my diet in someway, too. And in an instant, I felt overwhelmed and defeated before I even gave it an honest thought. I replied with something like, “ya, that’d be awesome but it’d have to involve me getting Willy on board too and I don’t see him giving up sugar”. To which she confessed it was only for a week, “to see how she felt”.
And that little seed sat in my head and just like other little seeds, it grew. And I came up with this: A new resolution each week. Because seven days is more manageable.
Sound like a cop-out? I agree, to some extent. But in my defense, I also know what I’m capable of and in the field of change, it ain’t much. I also think it will be nice to try different things and see the result; with the hope being that once we try it out, we may like the results enough to make the change stick. It will also give us a chance to try lots of different things, things we surely would not be able to commit to for an entire year because – well – we suck like that.
So Willy and I sat down and compiled various resolutions that we’re gonna give a try. We’ve written each one down on a piece of paper and have put the folded paper into a jar for us to pick out of each week. I’m planning on including a small update once a week, on our family portrait series. Here’s some of the resolutions we’ve come up with thus far:
Walk Jimmie everyday
We complain often about how hard of a dog Jimmie is to take care of. He’s got tons of energy. He has accidents often in the house. He chews toys. He, for lack of better words, goes crazy. But I’m pretty sure it’s also all our fault. Sadly, we don’t have the time – or make the time – to give him the exercise we know he needs. It’s just plain hard when you have two little ones. Then there’s times we’ve made the trek to the dog park only to realize that there’s no other dogs there and Jimmie’s left sniffing around different corners, but not expelling any energy. A walk a day would do him some good, I know it. He deserves it. We’re not the best dog owners at the moment and I’m tired of feeling guilty about it. This one, in particular, is a resolution that I hope sticks around.
No eating out
Willy cooks the majority of our dinners, which is awesome… but, you know how men are… they aren’t the best ::cough cough:: planners. So there are many times, it feels, that it gets to be that time and he’ll confess he hasn’t planned anything or doesn’t feel like cooking, and so, we end up going out to eat. I love eating out, but I think it’d be nice to save the money and eat a little healthier too. My goal with this resolution is to have better meal plans, especially since going out to eat will not be an option.
No eating dessert
This will be harder for Willy than it will be for me.
No spending money on personal items
Not that we are big spenders, because we really don’t buy a lot for ourselves anyway. But a week of conscious spending could do anyone good, I suppose.
Eat vegetables with dinner
I hate vegetables. I swallow them as whole as I can with as much water as I can. But, I know they’re good for me. So…
Clean up after putting boys to bed
As I’m sure everyone can relate, the house gets so dirty so fast. It makes my head spin. I find it hard to write and hard to create and hard to feel inspired when there is just shit strewn about everywhere. Every time we clean the house we vow not to let it get so messy again and then, by the evening, it’s messy again. I think if we did a small part, each day, it would stay cleaner a bit longer. I’m hoping this resolution can become habit, too.
No TV before bed / Read before bed
It’ll be a challenge… we kinda have our routine down… Hoping Willy can stay strong on this one. I better buy him some Astrology magazines.
Only music playing during dinner
Sometimes it becomes so easy to put a dumb cartoon on so we (meaning Willy and I) can enjoy dinner in peace. But it’s also nice when we tell them no TV and put a record on instead. So I’d like to do this for the entire week and see if we can’t kick that TV-on-during-mealtimes thing.
Willy’s hoping we don’t draw this out of the jar until football season is over. Again, this one will be a bitch for him, but fairly easy for me – I think.
Make bed everyday
How much better does a room look when the bed is made? I’m hoping this becomes habit, too.
Watch 2 documentaries
Because there’s like a thousand on my list that I’ve been dying to make time for.
Have the boys pick up their toys before bed
They’re pretty good about doing so when we ask them too. Sadly, we don’t ask them too all that much. Not sure why. I’d like to make a conscious effort at having them pitch in a little.
Have the boys help with at least one chore per day
Because they actually really enjoy helping out and it’s good for their little brain cells. Ideas I have thus far are making their beds, helping empty the dishwasher, vacuuming, and taking the trash out (the recycling bag is small enough for them to handle).
Drink the recommended 2-3 liters of water each day
I read once that everyone suffers from dehydration to a small extent. Kinda interested in if we’ll feel any different after drinking the recommended amount.
Go for a family hike
Want to make this more of a priority because I know we’ll all enjoy it, but we rarely make the time on weekends to do things like this. I want to change that.
Workout M, W, F
Because I’d fail at doing so everyday. I have a plan in mind for stuff I can do at home. Willy has a weight bench in the garage that he bought months ago and has never – as in NEVER – used.
Attend a yoga class
We want to do this together, so I’m hoping to find someone to watch the kids and maybe add dinner out onto it — yoga date night.
No checking our phones while on the road (red lights included)
It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even sit at a red light and do nothing. Having a little computer at my fingertips makes me want to utilize every second and it’s f’n annoying. I often think to myself, “gosh, what did people used to do when stopped at a red light?” — How about sit there, and wait, for a freakin’ minute. It’s ridiculous. I want to change this. And Willy’s the worst with checking his phone while driving, though he’d probably deny it.
Spend 20 min per day working on Hooper with his letters / alphabet
I’ve never had any sort of urge to homeschool my kids and I prefer them to be in school for my own reasons, but I would like to supplement his education with some education at home a bit more. Because I have the time and not doing so has been weighing on me. Especially because he’s such a sponge lately and seems to really enjoy learning ::cough cough — firstborn::  My mom gave him some great workbooks for Christmas and we’ve been using them here and there, but I’d like for it to be something he expects and can count on each day.
Read at least 3 books to the boys per day
I feel like a punk for admitting this, but I often tell them I’ll read to them later or tomorrow or when they wake up. Granted, those little manipulative boogers are usually trying to crunch it in right before their naps or before bed, so I feel like they’re just putting off sleep by asking. But, nevertheless, I feel bad every time I say “No”. So I want to carve out time during the day for reading.
Open and sort through mail everyday 
Oh my gosh, don’t mail us anything… we are the worst. I’m pretty sure our mailman wants to buy us a bigger mailbox or knock on our door and kindly* ask for us to empty the darn thing. Our accountant just dropped us because apparently there was something Willy was supposed to fill out and return, but that never happened and resulted in an email telling us to find a new accountant. Not to mention there are piles and piles of mail that still needs to be sorted all over the place. It’s ridiculous. We’re horrible. This needs to change. 
We obviously need 52 ideas to fill up the entire year but we figure we can always repeat what we have now, as doing each resolution for a second week would clearly benefit us. What are your resolutions this year? Do any of you have any ideas that we could add to our resolution jar?

16 Responses

  • i love this idea! i need to implement some of these points into my own life as well. i thought i was the only one who would say later to reading books (so bad and such guilt after!). it’s always when he is trying to prolong nap/bedtime, but i do need to make more time for it. 3 books a day it a good amount to aim for. my son wants to help with everything, but i don’t always include him because i can get it done so much quicker with out him (again, so bad!). i’m learning that i need to let him help no matter how long it takes. it’s good for him and will keep us more connected. it’s so easy to fall into a rut of rush, rush, rush all the time. my new year resolution is to slow down and enjoy everyday moments. the day to day interactions, not so much the online world and social media. seriously, i have been a ghost in my own home and life. consumed by social media and always staring at a device. no more. things i need to change and work on for sure!

    thanks for your honesty, Ashley. refreshing and enlightening moment for me this morning.

    • That really struck a cord with me when you mentioned yourself being a ghost in your own home. Even sometimes when I’m present, my mind is not. I think it’s something all of us could work on. Especially in today’s world with a thousand distractions. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your thoughts, means a lot.

      • i had a lightbulb moment not long ago after i put down the devices for a week or so.

        we had a family member visiting for the holidays (one whom is always on one device or the other) and it was a continuous battle over whom would post photos first (what, seriously? what happened to being present in life and enjoying moments rather than posting them for everyone else to see?) i didn’t want them to post my memories and moments with my son before i even had the chance to. needless to say Christmas was tense. my son had just turned 3 on the 20th and we had all had the flu, it was a rough week. once they had left and i put down the devices i realized just how bad i had gotten to be. like you said, my mind was always there even when i wasn’t “on”.

        gave me huge perspective and i’ve taken a step back since, limiting how much i am online and knowing i’m not missing anything, it will all be there next time i come back. no more distracted mom and wife. be present in everyday moments instead of always rushing to get to the next point or to get the next task done. it can all wait. the real day to day interactions with the people you love is what truly matters. human interaction. not likes and comments.

        i’ve learned a lot about being honest and staying true to myself in this journey called motherhood. following along with your story and honesty about motherhood has helped me grow so much.

  • I absolutely love this idea. 7 days seems so much more manageable and less daunting than trying to go a year or even 30 days. As always, I appreciate your honesty, and I may just be stealing this idea for our own family. I can think of quite a few to add that would benefit us as a family to try and then see if we can stretch it for longer. Let’s be honest, I lose interest fast, and already I’m failing at some of my “resolutions.”

  • So many of your resolutions are similar to mine! I love that your family has goals to limit technology and to read more. It’s amazing what reading does for the mind and for the imagination.

    Here are my 2015 Resolutions:
    1. Open an Etsy shop
    2. Practice mindfulness & meditation
    3. Become self-aware and confident
    4. Learn more about aromatherapy
    5. Continue art therapy
    6. Eat wholesome, organic foods
    7. No alcohol
    8. One cup of coffee per day
    9. No technology in the bedroom
    10. Read every night
    11. Write every day

  • I love these! You know how excited I get about a good plan. Ha. And it’s totally doable for a week…and you can extend the ones you really like 🙂 I’d love for you to come to yoga with me sometime. I don’t want to bug so you just tell me when you’re up for it. And there are trails behind our house that would help with walking Jimmie and doing a family hike 🙂

  • This is such a cool idea. Here are some I would do off the top of my head….Vegan for a week. Zero waste for a week. Juice every day. Just pick a book and read some every day. No soda. Stop cracking my knuckles. Shower every day (haha). Just go do or learn something I’ve always wanted to do that week. Do The Artist’s Way for a week (and then hopefully continue). Stretch every day. Making some of them a bit out of the comfort zone would make it seem kind of like an adventure, though I don’t know if I’d make it the whole year.

  • This is eerily similar to the list I would have made. Seriously, I even promised myself that I was going to teach Amelie to write the alphabet this year. Where I live she is required by law to start school next year. So really, It’s mostly because I don’t want people to realise what a slack parent I am. “Five years old and she can’t even write the alphabet?!”. I figure if she at least has that under her belt, that’s good enough. Right?

  • I’m so loving this idea, I think its brilliant! You’ve totally inspired me-once again. Some of your resolutions (like no checking the phone) are a must for our family too, its such an insane addiction! Happy New Years to you friend. Hope that you and the family will come up for a visit soon. 🙂

    • And a very Happy New Year to you guys as well!! Dying to make it up there soon… but I said that last year, too. We’ll see…


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