So it’s that time of year again when we all take a good hard look at our lives, assess our shortcomings and set ourselves new (often impossible) targets for us to enter into the new year.
When I’m working with new mums I’m often aware that they feel a pressure to try to meet up to their own tough expectations of what they should be achieving in this new stage of their lives. These expectations are very personal and varies from one mum to another but may include any or all of the following :- how quickly they feel they should be back into their pre-pregnancy jeans, how soon should they be returning to work, how long before they should feel comfortable leaving their baby to go out for an evening or how well they feel they should be juggling looking after a demanding little person as well as making sure there’s food in the fridge and a few clean clothes in the cupboard. If we’re not careful New Year can be another opportunity to beat ourselves up by setting difficult goals and then feeling frustrated when we fall short of achieving them so I thought I would share a few resolutions that I hope to achieve in 2016
Don’t feel guilty about _______
The blank in this resolution is likely to be changed on a daily basis! Since having Susie my life has been filled with guilt. Whether it’s the shame of my ironing pile that’s so high I have clothes in there from last winter or the fact that CBeebies now seems to be on permanent loop in my house, like most parents I often wonder if I’m failing Susie, my husband Dan or my friends and family by not being there enough or doing enough things. I don’t think that this resolution is completely achievable but every time I feel guilty for not doing something I aim to remind myself of the things I have accomplished.
2. Take lots of photos and put them in albums
I have always loved taking photos and have always been very disciplined about putting them into albums but since having Susie the number of photos I have taken has increased but my albums are now 2 years behind. As she seems to change on a monthly basis I really want to make sure I record all of our adventures – especially as my memory seems to be getting worse!
3. Make sure I have plenty of radiators in my life
I used to work with a health visitor who said that she believed that all people could either be described as radiators (people who exude positivity and support) or drains (people who rely on your strength and energy) and that she felt that the secret to happiness was in having more radiators in your life than drains. I think that we are all capable of being both a radiator and a drain but this year I aim to be more of a radiator and to appreciate the many radiators in my life - you know who you are ;-)
4. Find a little time for myself
As many of you may already know, this year I decided to set myself 20 challenges to try to achieve before my birthday. The list had a couple of rules. Rule One - As the challenge of winning the lottery last year had not been successful, none of the challenges were allowed to be too expensive. Rule Two – As spare time is also a bit restricted due to all other life commitments (work, family, housework etc) none of the challenges could be too time consuming. So the list ended up as a variety of minor ‘bucket-list’ items from learning how to make a decent lemon meringue pie to having eyelash extensions and I am convinced that many of these things I would never have been done had they not been on my little list. I have found the whole process very energising as instead of just another thing I have to try and fit in, it has been a very rewarding experience working out what new things I’d like to try. Truthfully I only crossed off 14 of the 20 but the remaining six have been transferred onto this years’ list with some new ones added in for good measure.
5. Take a little time to be grateful
Some of you may have already seen my facebook post about the 365Grateful project where you are encouraged to look for something every day to be thankful for. This has really captured my imagination as I am aware that I spend so much of my time in a rush and so miss many of the little things in my life that I really want to appreciate. I’m not sure that I can commit to a year of recording like the girl in this clip http://www.upworthy.com/you-take-zillions-of-photos-with-your-cellphone-why-not-try-something-new-with-them but I am planning on recording a little bit of positivity every day in January and I’m really hoping that some others will join me too :-)
So I think that’s enough resolutions for one year but if you’re in two minds about whether or not to commit to a resolution watch this short animation from Dr Mike Evans at the University of Toronto – apparently if you commit to making a change at New Year you will be 10 times more likely to succeed than at any other time in the year so why not give it a go!