I love the start of a new year. It always feels like a fresh slate, full of possibilities and unknown adventures. I've always been big on resolutions — I love having long lists of new habits to master:
Drink more water. Exercise more. Get dressed every day (beyond yoga pants!). Eat kale. Go on X number of hikes per month. Send birthday cards on time. Save more money. Stop wasting time on the Internet. CLEAN ALL THE THINGS.
You know the kind of resolutions I'm talking about.
I still have a few of those goals this year, but my focus is shifting away from my run-of-the-mill resolutions. For many years, I typically chased New Year's resolutions that had tangible results. This year, however, I want to see change from within — a shift in attitude and perspective that will help me live my life more fully.
So here are my 5 New Year's Resolutions for 2014 that I hope all Early Mamas will make with me:
1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Nothing good will ever come from comparing yourself to other moms on the Internet. Instagram, Facebook, and many of the shiny-and-perfect blogs are all highlight reels by design. They aren't representative of real life, in all of its messed up glory.
So this year, focus on living your own life. Don't measure it against anyone else's best or worst. You have a unique story, and it is beautiful.
2. Let Go of Judgmental Thoughts
Regardless of age, social status, race, culture, or any other factor, us moms are trying to do our best. Each and every one of us is making hard decisions on this parenting journey, the best way we know how. And each and every one of us would have it a whole lot easier if we were met with support at every turn, rather than judgment.
So this year, let go of the judgmental attitude when you feel it creeping up. It ultimately comes from a place of negativity and insecurity in our own choices. As mothers (and women and humans), we need to support those in the trenches with us — not tear each other down based on parenting choices that will ultimately mean very little in the long run.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
Nothing hampers your progress in life quite like that negative voice in your head. When you tear yourself down and constantly focus on your flaws, you lack confidence. As long as you define yourself as "less than," you will continue to fulfill that role.
So this year, accept where you are in life and embrace it with love. When that voice in your head pops up to say that you're not good enough, silence it and start again. Talk to yourself in the way you would talk to a friend. Have faith in yourself. Have love for yourself.
4. Allow Room for Change
It doesn't matter how long you toiled over your 10-year, 5-year, or even 1-year roadmap. Life often doesn't care about your plans. It's scary to give up that sense of control and give in to the fact that life is unpredictable (surprise! baby!). Often we spend too much time fighting the unexpected turns life takes instead of accepting where life has placed us.
So this year, allow life to change you for the better. When things don't go according to plan (and they rarely do), open yourself up to the twists and turns of life. Look for the silver lining when you're presented with something overwhelming. Let go of your expectations for the way things would or should be done, and accept them for the way they are.
5. Be Present
If there is one parenting resolution you make this year, let it be this one. Be present in your own life. Stop living through technology and experience life in real time. Stop measuring yourself against all of the things you've read and the photographs you've seen, and realize that your life is worth actually living.
Being present in each moment is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself — as well as your family.
So this year, be an active participant in your own life. Stop worrying about whether you're doing everything the "right" way and accept what is. Move on from past mistakes, and stop dwelling on the "what ifs."
Live in the now.
Read more from Gemma at Journey of Love.
Ed note: Also see Michelle's 15 Resolutions that ALL Parents Should Make in 2014 for more healthy changes.