I am not what you’d call a New Year’s resolution person. I have a hard time drumming up enthusiasm for making resolutions I know I won’t stick with. And even if I do, it probably won’t be for more than a couple months, so by April I’m already back to forgetting to floss every day.
And even when I do make a list, it is exactly the same every year: stop eating so much; exercise more; make room for vegetables; stop watching so much TV; read more real books, not just Facebook updates; save money; make sure the house is clean every night before I go to bed; be a more patient and caring mother; drink less coffee; drink more water; and floss. Basically, totally change who I am.
Every year, it’s always the same. And most of the time I don’t live up to the standards I’ve set for myself. So that usually means around this time of year much of my energy is spent rolling my eyes at all the advertisements aimed at people and their resolutions. It just seems so silly, and so false, at least to me, the person who doesn’t follow through.
My husband is a list person and at the beginning of every year we sit down to resolve to make changes. And he’s much, much better than I am at the whole process. He likes to make resolutions, and enjoys the challenge of sticking to them and will hold out much longer than me.
And I understand the appeal, I really do. I like the idea of starting over, clean slate, this is the year I finally stop finishing my kids’ leftover food because even though I tell myself those calories don’t count because it’s not technically my food, they totally do.
And the beginning of the year is a good starting off point, a designated time when the resolve is put into practice.
But I think about the things I’d like to change about myself every day. All day. It always seems to be on my mind. When I sit down during the kids’ naptime and relax, I usually see the dusting that hasn’t been done in weeks or the clutter that is taking over my counters and think I’m not living up to my full potential. Or whenever I watch TV I think I should be reading instead. And when I lose my temper at the child who rolls away from me for the sixth time during one diaper change, I worry I don’t have the ability to mother the way I’m supposed to.
And what it seems to boil down to is that I just don’t think I’m good enough as I am. Obviously there are always ways to improve myself, and my list above is indication enough. But I don’t want it to be a negative thing. I don’t want to feel like I need to change because there’s something wrong with me, and that’s where a lot of the popular resolutions seem to be centered.
When I make a resolution I try to change something that affects my health or my children. And while I might never floss every day, even if only for a week the beginning of the year, I will at least try to stop finishing my children’s lunches. And maybe eat more vegetables.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on December 28, 2011.