I always have mixed emotions when I start a brand new year and that is certainly the case for 2023.
Was the past year one to be remember fondly or will it be swiftly committed to the “could have been better” memory bank?
Either way, now is a great time to think about new beginnings … most specifically, New Year resolutions.
Your life, like mine, will revolve around the little people in your world and the desire to make them happy. You may rarely focus on yourself and feel that goals and aspirations are for other people, and not for you.
If this is the case then: Stop. Right. There.
You have just as much right to follow your dreams. And in doing so, your children will follow in your footsteps and learn to aim high and follow their dreams too.
So when life’s so busy that you barely have time to stroke the cat, how do you set resolutions that will kick-start you through the first week of January and beyond?
See below for my single mother guide to New Year resolutions.
The single mother guide to New Year resolutions
One of the biggest set-backs to achieving goals is attempting to do too much once. This has been my biggest downfall and one that I have learned from.
As a multi-tasking-single-mother-extraordinaire, you’ll be perfectly capable of cooking dinner/washing-up/doing homework all at the same time. Yet, life goals require more focus if they’re to end with success.
Try to work on just one goal at a time. Once you’ve made good headway, you can consider another.
THE NOT SO NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
Why get obsessed with starting your resolutions on 1 January?
There are lots of other days in the year which are ripe for restyling your life. When you think of it, your birthday is your own personal New Year – so a perfect time for new beginnings.
I made the big decision to quit drinking on 17 September so I always see this date as a fresh start and a good day to start a mission to reach a new goal.
Maybe set only one resolution on New Year and spread the others throughout the year, allowing you to focus on each one individually.
STAY SIMPLISTIC AND REALISTIC
In the dizzy haze of festive celebrations you can be forgiven for aiming a little too high with your New Year resolutions. Then, as 2023 takes shape and is just as hectic as the previous year, you realise you were somewhat over-ambitious.
Before you make grand plans, consider whether they are actually achievable along-side all the other elements in your life. And, if they’re not, simplify them so you have a better chance of success.
Many of my well-planned goals have fallen by the wayside as I was aiming too high. I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Be realistic and set yourself new year resolutions that will actually last the year.
MOTIVATED SINGLE MUM
We all know how charged-up and excited motivation can make us feel. The build-up period prior to beginning a resolution is fuelled with desire and propels you through the first stage of your goal achievement. This will naturally wane as time goes by.
Make sure you put measures in place to leverage this motivation.
Try placing alluring pictures around the house of what you’re trying to achieve or write a mission statement to capture your most motivated moments. Learn how to make your own personal mission statement in my “You’ve Got This” Single Mum eCourse.
THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
Make sure your resolution is based on a framework of positivity.
Try not to think negatively about what you DON’T want. Instead think of positively about what you DO want. Choose your words and thoughts carefully.
So instead of saying:
“I’m going to get out of my crappy job and all the long hours.”
You could say:
“I’m going to find a better job with more suitable hours.”
Same goal – said differently.
Trust me, this works!
MAKE YOUR OWN MILESTONES
It’s fun and exciting setting New Year resolutions, and quite frankly, the bigger the better. But if your resolution is too big then the reward of achieving it may be a long way off, making it hard to stick with the program.
Break it down into smaller goals so each one is quicker and easier to achieve. This way you’ll revel in success sooner and will be inspired to keep going.
Take look at this article to help make your goals more achievable: Goal setting for success in six easy steps.
The single mother guide to New Year resolutions (cont.)
WHAT’S GONNA WORK … TEAM WORK
Being a single mum means our children are intricately linked to everything we do. So whether you (or they) like it or not, they’ll be involved in your resolution process and will benefit from the end result.
For this reason, keep them in the picture.
Explain what you’re doing and why. And depending on their ages, involve them in the process. It’s a valuable learning experience for them to see you aspire, strive and ultimately reach your goals.
When my girls were little, against all the odds, I saved enough money to take us to the UK. There were years of me saying “no” to treats “because we are saving for our trip”. When the day arrived to buy the tickets, I took out the money in cash and let my girls hand it to the travel agent. I explained that this moment was the reason for all the “no’s” and thanked them for helping me achieve my goal. It gave them a great sense of pride and now, in their teens, they are both brilliant money savers!
PLAN YOUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
It’s all very well making grand announcements about your resolutions, impressing everyone who cares to listen.
However, unless you’ve thought it through carefully and laid the necessary plans you’ll be a like a plane without a pilot. You’ll know your destination but have nothing to get you there.
Don’t crash and burn by mid-January because you didn’t think it through. Put a plan in place so you know where you’re headed as soon as the New Year begins.
REAP THE REWARDS
Let be honest here. How do we get our children to do stuff? We bribe them!
We all know the power of reward. So make sure you set some for yourself. Consider the different phases of your resolution and plan to reward yourself accordingly.
You’ll find yourself propelled through the attainment process if you know there’s a reward in store. And heck, you deserve them too.
The kind of rewards I have are massages, cake at my favourite coffee shop or a trip to the cinema. Nothing too fancy but things that I love.
BRING OTHERS ALONG FOR THE RIDE
Get a support team around you to help you stick with your resolution.
This could be friends, family (including your most loyal fans – your children), even work colleagues.
If you know someone else with a resolution, team up and support one another. There are lots of online support groups to help with the more common goals such as losing weight or giving up smoking. So get connected and find the support you need.