25 New Year’s Resolutions Every Smart Parent Should Make

nye resolutions for smart parents

We like to think of the New Year as the perfect opportunity to make positive changes and set lofty goals, but us parents have an even more obvious, urgent reason to undo unhealthy habits and commit to bettering ourselves: the tiny humans who look up to us, mirror our shortcomings, and threaten to pass on our deep-set issues.

And so maybe January 1 is as convenient a time as ever to put those changes into motion. Any changes we make to our health, attitude, and daily practice can directly (and greatly!) affect our children’s lives.

So in an attempt to be a better person and parent in 2015, here are 25 New Year’s Resolution ideas that any parent can make:

1. Practice loving myself, not changing myself.
I’ll put down the self-help books and well-meaning how-to articles, and stop trying to change myself into someone better, more perfect. This year, above anything else, I’ll focus on loving myself — flaws and all. Self-love, not self-improvement. When we learn to really love ourselves, we can better love the people in our lives.

2. Stop comparing myself to other parents/people on social media.
This year I won’t compare myself to Instagram-filtered strangers, scripted characters and celebrities, or whatever image I have for a “real mom.” I will keep my eyes on my own life, and know that our public highlight reels only tell part of the story.

3. Be healthier.
Not just physically healthier, but mentally and emotionally. Being truly healthy is the most loving thing we can do for our children. When we’re healthy, we can give our best selves.

4. Make time for happiness.
Our happiness matters to everyone around us, including our kids. This year I won’t apologize or feel guilty for making time for my needs and happiness.

5. Make time for play.
We’re playful creatures — our children remind us this every day, no matter how deeply conditioned we are to work, work, work. This year I’ll make time for joy, for laughter, for pure unapologetic silliness. This year, I’ll make PLAY a priority.

6. Say YES.
YES to spontaneity, YES to pizza, YES to getting on the floor and playing with my son. This year, I’ll start saying YES to the things that fill my heart.

7. Say NO.
…to anything that crosses my boundaries, drains my energy, or makes me uncomfortable.

8. Be more generous.
Not just with my money, but with my time, my heart, and my attitude toward life. It just might make the entire family happier.

9. Slow down.
Too often parents rush through the day. “Hurry up!” we yell from the bottom of the stairs, or while speed walking from HERE to THERE. This year I’ll slow everything down, from our schedule to my patience. Doesn’t life go fast enough?

10. Shake off the “SHOULDS”
Rather than obsess over how things “should” be — how a mom should be, how my child should be, how my life should be — I’ll accept reality for what it is. I’ll do my best to banish the word “should” from my vocabulary.

11. Forgive, forgive, forgive.
Who I was isn’t who I am, and making mistakes is part of being a flawed human. This year, I’ll forgive myself for my humanity and extend that forgiveness to everyone else in my life. Let it go.

12. Cut out the toxicity from my life.
Toxic relationships, toxic friendships, toxic mind patterns all have to go in 2015.

13.  But make more time for people who are important.
Especially the kids, who really just want our time and attention. It's that simple.

14.  Make a new mom friend.
As scary as it is to put ourselves out there and connect with other parents, meaningful friendship is one thing us lonely mamas crave.

15. Let go of old friends.
Not everyone comes with us to the next season in life, and that’s okay. Let go in love and appreciation for the times you had together, and accept that it’s time to move forward.

16. Let go of the idea of “balance.”
Rather than spend another year searching for the unattainable goal of “balance,” I’ll accept the chaos and make smarter sacrifices.

17. Avoid any and all Mom War drama for an entire year.
Don’t let the headlines and hype suck you in. Stay strong.

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18. Be less judgmental.
Humans are judgmental by nature (see #11), and even though we “shouldn’t” judge other people (see #10), that’s not always a realistic goal to make. Instead, this year I’ll start with being less judgmental toward myself. If I want to extend that compassion and understanding to other people (especially other parents), then I have to work on judging my own life less harshly.

19. Look less at a screen, and more at my child’s face.
Document less, experience more.

20. Embrace an attitude of gratitude, every day.

21. Make peace with my changing body.
Scrap the diets and gym guilt and mirror-hate. This year, accept and appreciate our life-giving machines, exactly as they are. It might be the most positive example we could give to our kids, especially our girls.

22. Trust my parenting intuition.
This year I’ll follow my own instincts on how to raise my son, not an expert or guru or stranger.

23. Be the person I want my son to be.
Pick three things you want to teach your child — i.e. to be kind, to be honest, and to be responsible — and incorporate those traits into your life. If I want my son to be vulnerable, emotionally aware, or authentic, then I have to be those things, too. If I want him to follow through on his word, then I have to, too.

24. Yell less.
Because we all do it, and we all want to stop. This year I’ll focus on responding, not reacting. (And then when I inevitably yell, see #11.)

25. Be present.
I will spend 2015 living in 2015, not wrapped up in the past, or worrying about some nonexistent future. I’ll be HERE, in the moment, experiencing life as it happens.