It’s the time of year I dread — when social media is flooded with New Year’s resolutions, and the infamous “new year, new me!” frame of mind is infectious.
There was a time in which I soaked it all up — I set lofty goals, made beautiful but unattainable bucket lists, and convinced myself I could change my mindset overnight. I set myself up for failure more times than I can count, and it weighed on me emotionally.
Why couldn’t I just get it together and try harder? I just needed to do better and suck it up when it was hard.
I spent YEARS holding on to this negative self-talk until I reached a place where, after failing so many times, I felt too defeated and powerless to even set any goals at all. The trouble with these kinds of resolutions is that they leave no room for growth and squash the journey altogether. Consequently, my journey felt impossible, and my personal growth plateaued. In short, I was deflated.
Somewhere along my journey into motherhood with a child who has special needs, I hit a really hard wall. I had to change my way of thinking in order to move forward.
More importantly, I realized I was unknowingly and inadvertently teaching my daughter to have a negative mindset instead of a growth mindset. That was a really, really hard dose of reality.
And so, we did what all the parenting experts advise when things are hard. We watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. (All joking aside, that’s actually what we did.)
Along the way, we learned some things that have turned into the best kind of New Year’s resolutions — the kind that can enrich your life instead of kick you when you’re down.
We have learned that even though my daughter is 3 and I’m 32, we both benefit from having a basic set of goals to work from. We can both fall back on them in the hard moments and the proud moments, and we can do it together. At the end of the day, it feels liberating instead of constricting.
So this year, instead of setting ourselves up for defeat, we will be choosing to practice these three basic ideas all year long.
1. I can do hard things.
It’s OK to identify that something is hard, both when you’re struggling and when you feel proud. This also gives a good opening for expressing we need help or support with something.
2. Doing one thing is better than not doing anything.
If what you’re doing feels overwhelming, pick one part of it that you CAN do. Prioritize and decide what the most important, necessary pieces are — instead of what would be the ideal. (Cue the song from Daniel Tiger: “When something is hard to do, try it a little bit at a time.”)
3. Be kind.
Be kind to yourself, and give yourself the grace you extend to others. Everyone makes mistakes, regardless of what their Instagram portrays. Own it. Comparing yourself to others is a great way to ruin a perfectly good day.
Maybe these mantras will propel us into awesome growth, or maybe they’ll “just” help us get through the really hard days. Either way, this year, we are firmly saying, “No, thank you” to the idea of “new year, new me” — and all the negativity that comes with it.