So here’s the thing about resolutions. Or, how children ruin everything.

Obviously the Blogosphere is full of posts about New Year’s Resolutions– some serious, some sarcastic.  I like the idea of resolutions, I really do.  As my life gets more and more busy, I’ve found that taking time to inventory my goals helps me stay focused, and it keeps some of my dreams from slipping through the cracks.

When we first got married, I rolled my eyes at Matt and all his Franklin-Covey Core-values life-planning goal-sheets with step-by-step plans from today to exaltation.  I just liked to live life from day to day doing the best I could and figured that as long as I was pointed in the right direction, I’d eventually end up in the right place.  I was fine with that.  And it worked for a quite a while.  In some areas, it still does.  But once my days became divided between three little attention-parasites and a husband who wants me to remember he’s still around too, plus church and civic commitments… well, I got confused.  The whole “resolute” part of resolutions is the most difficult part.  It’s hard to keep track of everything without really thinking through what matters most and making sure it gets done.  It’s easy to get distracted.

I’ve tried list-making and note-taking.  I’ve posted goals on my bathroom mirror and kitchen cupboards.  But the thing that finally clicked for me came after I heard Sister Julie Beck’s talk about “intentional parenting” last Spring.  I learned that I needed to think about what I really want to accomplish with my family and build those related activities into our routines.  On purpose.  So, for me, goals and resolutions have turned into schedules and calendars.  I’ve found that when I actually PLAN my goals, they don’t disappear.

Do I want to make sure we make it to the temple?  Put it on the calendar!

Do I want my children to learn how to serve and how to work?  Put chores and service in the weekly routine.

I’ve spent the last week or two trying to think about what things are going well in our family, what things need to go, and what are things have been neglected.  Less TV?  More one-on-one time with kids?  Regular temple attendance?  More or less extra-curriculars?  When’s the best time to schedule in my scripture study so it has the greatest chance of getting done every day?  You get the idea.

It took days of thought and hours of document design, but this is the final result.  (Don’t you dare laugh at me.)

So, this is what I’ve become.  I would have never imagined.  Then again, I shouldn’t be shocked since I do have a minivan and a mommy blog– a couple other things I probably didn’t originally have on my young, naive list of future plans.  Anyway, I was so proud of my new weekly schedule.  I showed it to the kids with optimistic enthusiasm.  They’re used to my constant charts and signs, so they were on board.

And then like a dark cloud, the holidays were over and today was back to school, back to real life, and test-drive day for our new weekly schedule.  Please tell me that your children go through post-holiday detox too.  They were out of control.  No more presents to open, no more grandparents to entertain them, no more unlimited access to movies and computer games, no more days off of school.  If I could describe the day in one phrase . . . it was a day of time-outs within time-outs (breaking rules upon rules while still being punished for the last broken rules).  I really wanted to throw out the schedule and tell them to go watch TV until bedtime.  Needless to say, my twinkly dreams of an organized and peaceful New Year went up in flames by about 3:00 p.m. and my children’s chances of living through the month were almost completely diminished by 6:00 p.m.

And this is where the whole “resolute” thing comes into play.  Are the goals important to me?  Yes.  Is it worth sticking it out and being consistent?  I think so.  Will my children be incarcerated in the process?  I hope not.  I have to believe that with commitment and consistency, we’ll fall into a routine that reflects what kind of family we want to be.  This is not a new concept around here– there was a summer schedule and a Fall schedule and this one is just adjusted for changing family needs.  (As a side note, I’m not a nazi about the schedule minute-to-minute, but it gives direction and focus to each day.  For example, a day with emphasis on service, one on outings, one on chores, etc.)  They’ve learned to thrive in the routines in the past and they’ll do it again, if I can survive the first two weeks.  Wish me luck.

Here are three talks (in addition to the Sister Beck one I mentioned earlier) that have really helped me in trying to figure out what kinds of things need to be part of our family’s patterns.  The first two are both by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, and the third by Elder Bednar.

“Good, Better, Best”

“Focus and Priorities”

“More Diligent and Concerned at Home”

Happy New Year!

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18 thoughts on “So here’s the thing about resolutions. Or, how children ruin everything.

  1. Yup, been there done that!

    I am also working on consistency this year, so thanks for the great links to the talks.

    If only we could magically make everything that we put down on a routine “actually happen” with ease!

    all the best! we’re all in the same boat!

  2. As someone who has on her fridge a standard weekly schedule template with a printed monthly goals & planning sheet and daily “real schedule” sheets. Plus a notebook entitled “My book of lists” and a oft used pocket calendar. Wait a minute, did I have a point? Oh yeah, welcome to my world. Even then, I struggle with the resolute part, too. So here’s to sticking it out long enough to be habit.

  3. Oh, my, how I relate to this one! And then I woke up sick today, and I seriously think my kids are going to watch Disney channel for the next 9 hours. There’s always tomorrow. And that’s the best part of all — that we can always do better next time around if we don’t quite make it the first time.

  4. I can’t stick to a schedule so I never tried to get my children to stick to one. I do like to make lists though. And I like to assign tasks. It takes a good seven years (seriously that’s how long it took for my second child) for the kids to get used to the assignment of tasks and chores, and yes, you will think you will lose your mind several times over.

    Good luck and stick with it! (and remember it will never work perfectly. I will never be perfect at getting stuff done, and neither will my children)

  5. I had so many grand plans and hopes to start off this new year…but my baby (almost 1yo) decides he doesn’t want to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time during the night. There’s nothing that deflates my great intentions like a good dose of sleep deprivation! My first goal is to get this kid to sleep through the night and then maybe I can get to the charts, graphs and schedules! Good luck!

  6. I am feeling the need to get more focused itch. So this was a good post for me. I was thinking about making a resolution about watching more “Dog -the Bounty Hunter” but then maybe I should re-think that?
    Exuse me, Emma need new pants. Now.

  7. When I have a baby, will you make me one of those calendar thingies?

    Oh, and it brought a tear of joy to my eye that you watched The Bachelor last night. You are my copilot, Stephanie.

  8. We’re trying out our most structured schedule so far this year. It’s hard to keep on schedule with a three-year-old and a baby, but we really want to make it work. It’s only been three days so far, but we’ve definitely noticed a positive change around here! My biggest goal this year is to have breakfast together. My three-year-old has really enjoyed coming down every morning and eating together. I think I’m more likely to keep it up because of the positive influence on my family.

  9. Oh you make me laugh so much! Thanks. Hey, the talk that I love right now is “The Love of God” by President Uchtdorf. There are so many good things that we want to do as mothers that it’s overwhelming. It sounds like you have a good handle on priorities; I’m proud of you. Any way you can post a link to your spreadsheet so I can take notes?

  10. I have 67 goals on my 100 goals list to be accomplished in the next ten years….if I don’t die first. I am making progress on several of them. Thanks for reminding me to rethink my goals; do a little pondering and praying about them.

    I’m still at the post-it-notes on my bathroom mirror stage, but then my children are all grown and gone so my priorities are a little different and lists are not so necessary.

    Thanks for a neat blog. I love following it.

  11. Following your link to Sister Beck’s talk I wanted to read or listen so much this morning but the byu link wasn’t working, so I found one on YouTube. Really, how much do I love God for blessing us with the internet to find and uplift each other and let those of us who weren’t at Women’s Conference last year get to still hear the message and feel the Spirit that was there? LOTS. Anyway, it’s on YouTube in 5 parts and I’m not done yet (it will probably take me most of today or today and tomorrow to get through it with my littles!) but wanted to thank you for these links now.

  12. I told the Facebook world that failing at my resolutions any FASTER would require time travel. I think we need to give ourselves a week to get back to just some semblance of normal life before locking ourselves into a schedule.

    Having said that, although my blog contains those ‘sarcastic’ resolutions you referenced, my life does not, and my planner looks like Steven Covey sneezed on it.

    How great to be reminded that ‘tomorrow is another day’, and that it’s all about baby steps anyway.

    Light a candle for me, and I’ll light one for you!

  13. I remember and love all three of those talks… it is hard to stick with it sometimes, but you can do it! I’m a planner too… I remember when my twins were really little, I would write down what I wanted their schedule to be… life with twins is nothing short of chaotic and it helped so much just to have something written down… something to use as a guide and a goal. Even the writing of it helped soothe my frazzled nerves.

  14. I love coming to visit your blog, Steph, because it’s just so real! Thanks for the real-life validation and encouragement to be better. And a day or two of tv and peanut butter sandwiches never hurt anybody. In fact, it would probably make me the fun parent!

  15. wow, charts with pictures. that is so beyond me… but I do like the intentional parenting thing. Maybe if I put up charts and reminders I would do better…

  16. “Intentional parenting.” That really is something I need to focus on more. A lot.

    I love all the talks you linked to. The “Good, Better, Best” one and the one by Elder Bednar have been on my mind quite a bit lately.

    Happy New Year! Here’s to hoping we both have a good year with our resolutions … and that our kids survive to tell about it 🙂 !!

  17. Pingback: Tribute to Sister Julie B. Beck « Diapers and Divinity

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