By Laura Lifshitz
It’s a timeless tradition: the New Year Resolution.
We resolve to make them by year’s end and then, as it approaches the end of January, suddenly, we’re completely off track. The key to making those resolutions stick is to form and word them like an actual habit and keep the resolutions simple. Another way to stay on target? Recruit a friend! A friend of mine and I emailed each other our resolutions and reached out on a quarterly basis to see how we were both doing and hold each other accountable. Truly, the buddy system works! Where I failed in 2018 with my resolutions was making too many. In typical fashion, I bit off more than I could chew and at times, my resolutions were too complex. Overall though, I did pretty well considering. For 2019 however, I’m going to stick to just a few and keep it simple.
Another reality of resolutions is we often make ones that are not realistic or concretely helpful. So, to all you single mommas out there trying to pin down your resolutions and goals for 2019, here are some resolutions you can kick to the curb or revise, and exchange for resolutions that are:
Easier to follow and make habit
Realistic and positive
Let’s get started!
Redo The Lose Weight Resolution
Many women make the “I’m losing weight goal,” only to be sidelined by well, cookies, cakes and leftover macaroni and cheese their kids didn’t finish.
I say, ditch the lose weight goal for a more realistic resolution: “I want to lose X amount of pounds by end of January, February, and so forth by doing X, Y, and Z.”
What does this do?
It gives you a concrete number of pounds per month you’d like to lose rather than some lofty random “lose weight” goal.
Instead of just saying the goal is to lose weight, the goal is to lose X amount of pounds per month by doing certain specific activities that you can hold yourself accountable for.
This simply makes it a goal that can become a habit. You need to have ideas for how you’re going to lose the weight of course, like walking daily, cutting out soda, etc. The more specific you are, the more you are apt to achieve your goal.
And let’s not forget that you should be realistic. Saying you’re going to lose 10-15lbs a month is probably unlikely and not healthy. Ask your doctor what is realistic first.
You can also just ditch the “Lose Weight” resolution in favor of the “Get Healthy” resolution:
“I’m going to lower my blood sugar by reducing my sugars and checking my blood regularly/ go to the gym 3x a week and 1x on the weekend/ start adding X fruits and vegetables each day/start bringing lunch to work instead of buying.”
What does this do?
It helps you focus on your health, and not your weight.
It creates an actionable goal and resolution that you can plan for.
Rethink The “Meet Someone” Resolution
Okay, we’re single so … how do we change that?
Here’s the hard truth: all we can do is make ourselves our “best selves” and create a great life for ourselves … and then wait for the right person to show up.
Yes, you can go online. Yes, you can be more social and join groups. Yes, you can put yourself out there but otherwise, we can’t really find love. It finds us.
Even if we don’t want it to. That tricky bastard, I know.
Here is what you can resolve to do in terms of love and dating:
Be more social: no one will meet you from the comfort of your couch—unless I suppose you spend all day swiping on dating apps. Even still, you have to get out!
Join groups to meet new people, based on your interests and beliefs. At the very least, you’ll make new friends.
Pace yourself when on dates–don’t let it get physical until you have a sense of who the person is OR, you’re able to handle the consequences.
Hone In On The “Get A New Job” Resolution
Resolving to get a new job is a good resolution, however, you need an action plan to make that happen and happen in a way in which you get a job you actually like.
Why not break down this resolution into actionable parts, like:
I resolve to have my resume updated or rewritten by a professional by February 1st.
I resolve to have a meeting with a career coach by January 20th.
I resolve to attend X number of networking events per month.
I resolve to apply to X amount of jobs and ask for feedback for each interview, even on the jobs I ended up not wanting.
To resolve to get a new job is smart, however, you need an action plan or it’s useless. Let me also add that it’s important to take inventory of what you don’t like at your current job so you can find a better one during your search. This may mean furthering your education by going back to school, getting certifications, etc.
Ditch the “Befriend My Ex” Resolution
If you’re already friends with your ex, that’s great.
If you’re not, I’m not advising that you continue to fight with your ex or worse, become brutal enemies, but I am saying: Be realistic. Will the two of you really become friends? Meh. Doubtful, but, you can exchange for this next resolution…
The “Disengage With My Ex” Resolution
Pick your battles and limit them to a few. Choose the ones you are most passionate about, like visitation issues or child support.
Don’t respond to nasty emails, calls or texts.
Don’t allow yourself to spend more than a few minutes a day worrying about any issues you have with your ex because that is stealing your joy.
Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable for this because it may be hard to do.
Revamp the “Save More” Resolution
We should all decrease our debt and save more, but being so broad means, most likely, you’ll fail right out of the starting gate in 2019.
Revamp this resolution to:
Meet with a financial advisor and account in the first half of the year.
Make a basic budget starting January 1 that you review at the end of each month.
Set aside X amount of dollars each paycheck and have it automatically saved to a savings account.
Make a goal to pay down either a few or one small card OR, pay down the one with the highest interest rate.
This resolution needs to be concrete: pick the credit card or cards before January 1. Set the budget first before you pick how much is put into your savings each pay period. Have a real plan.
Revise the “Be On The Phone Less” Resolution
Being on the phone less when the phone is your portal to just about everything these days seems pretty difficult to do.
Instead, how about we change it to: “Putting The Phone Away During Family Time” Resolution?
Even if it’s for a few hours, your kids will see the difference. This is easier to do than just saying, “I’ll use my phone less.”
And lastly …
Say Screw You To The “Stress Less” Resolution
You’ll stress in 2019. Oh yes, you will!
So, instead of making some general “Stress Less” resolution, let’s turn this into some concrete resolutions that will actually help you manage stress better throughout the year, instead of just for 3 days, like:
I will join yoga and go 2 times a week during my worst days to manage stress.
I will see a therapist and learn strategies to cope with my stress.
I will meditate for ten minutes a day to help me distress.
Get the picture?
You need to make these resolutions actionable. If you don’t, you’ll end up wasting 2019 wondering why you didn’t get anything done like you had hoped. Prepare yourself and be specific. Write down your goals. Get a buddy to hold you accountable. Start small. You can do this! Now, go and kick 2019’s butt. Tell the New Year I sent you!
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated writer, comedienne, single mother and chocolate fanatic. A former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate, you can find her work in many places, like the New York Times, DivorceForce, Mom.Me, Women’s Health, Worthy, Working Mother and numerous other sites. Follow her on Facebook and her own website, frommtvtomommy.com.