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New Year, New Intentions


What a crazy year we've had--and I know I am not alone in feeling happy to see it go. But what is 2021 going to look like? I don't know but I do know that I'm going to do my best to meet it with positivity and intention. This brings up the whole idea of the New Year's Resolution. At this time of year, we all tend to pick a few things about ourselves to change for next year. Often I say I want to lose weight, eat healthily, exercise more, stop drinking....you get the picture. After this year I can honestly say I need to do all of those more than ever-thanks, Covid. But I feel like I make those resolutions annually--and also fail to keep them fairly regularly.

So that makes me think that perhaps I should look and think about resolution-setting differently. Maybe instead of trying to improve everything about myself and how I look, I can shift my focus to be how I approach each day. Because each day is new and we can make different choices all the time, not just once a year. I’d like to wake up each morning and make an active choice to come from a place of grace or curiosity, of joy or focus, of compassion or love.



I find when I stop to think about why I am reacting or doing something in a certain way, it helps me. So if I am annoyed or angry, and I stop to ask how I want to approach the issue, I can actually make a choice. This definitely helped me stop nagging as much. I may still choose nag occasionally, but at least I’m doing it consciously! ;)

Another idea I like right now is to come up with resolutions about my parenting. A few ideas I have:

  1. Say “Yes” more. With all of this time together in Covid, life slowed down and I was able to find more ways to say yes. Yes to playing games, yes to finding a show we could watch together, and yes to letting things go instead of escalating the situation.

  2. Worry Less. I don’t want my worries about the world right now to drive my life or my thoughts. Instead, I want to find ways to encourage myself and our kids to explore what’s around us actively (while still being covid safe). I want to find new adventures.

  3. Listen More; React Less. I think active listening is essential in parenting. I want to be able to listen, pause and then respond--not just react. Doing this improves communication and deepens your connection.

As far as personal resolutions, I have many ways I can improve, but again, I hope to come at them with a somewhat different tack. Instead of trying to make changes that allow me to fit whatever mold I should in my mind’s eye (and mirror), I’d like to shift how I think about it and myself. So I guess I’m making intentions instead of resolutions. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Connect More. Take steps to maintain and enrich my friendships, and stay connected with family and the community. Especially important when we have had so much isolation this year.

  2. Find Balance. I find that balancing life, family, and work is challenging. I need all of them in my life to feel good, and often I go all-in on one and not the other. So for me, maybe that means I schedule my time--put exercise on my calendar, meet a friend for a hike or a glass of wine each week (the wine part will have to remain on zoom for now), or find a new way to network. I’m not that good at setting a schedule for myself...yet.

  3. Make Choices. I want to be conscious of how I am approaching the day, or an event, or a client or myself. I’d like to be able to ask myself, “Is this necessary?” I’d like to choose to meditate, stretch, and savor my coffee each morning. I’d like to make the most generous interpretations I can of others’ behavior. I want to be present.

I read something this morning that Megan Markle (don’t ask me why) wrote for New Year’s one time, and it really resonates with me.

“For this new year, the only thing I aim to do is to approach life playfully. To laugh and enjoy, to keep my standards high but my level of self-acceptance higher,” she wrote. “My New Year’s resolution is to leave room for magic. To make my plans, and be okay if they sometimes break. To set my goals, but to be open to change.”

I’m wishing you all a very healthy, happy, and compassionate 2021. Thank you for supporting me and for letting me support you in this parenting journey.

© 2023 by Dana Baker, Parenting in Real Life