Happy new year, and welcome to my favorite day of the year. January 1 brings a new calendar year and a chance to start fresh. It’s a new dayplanner with nothing crossed out yet, a clean blanket of snow with no footprints in it (metaphorically, at least), an opportunity to reinvent myself. Sorry, Andy Williams, but this is the most wonderful time of the year.
And so New Year’s resolutions are among my favorite things, as I seize the fresh start that each new year offers. On any given New Year’s Day, I have at least a dozen resolutions. Each year I strive to improve my health, my finances, my housekeeping, my friendships. Sometimes I succeed; sometimes I fail. But when my resolutions pay off, they pay off big.
Of course, you can make a fresh start any day of the year. But the neatness of starting on January 1 appeals to me. And apparently I’m not alone; several contributors to Columbia Moms Blog have made New Year’s resolutions as well. Read on to find out what we’ll be striving to change in the new year; and check back for our updates as we report on how we’re progressing toward our goals. (If New Year’s resolutions aren’t your thing, you’ve got company too; check out Simone’s post on why she doesn’t do resolutions.)
My resolution: Charting my path back to full-time work
Five years ago, when I was newly pregnant, I had a vague plan for my work life after baby. I’d leave my full-time publishing job when the baby was born; I’d do some freelance writing and editing when he was young; and then when he started school I’d go back to work. Those years flew by; now he’s due to start kindergarten in August, and that means my time to go back to work is approaching.
My goal for this year is to make a plan for returning to work, whether that’s in an office or as a full-time freelancer. I may not be fully back in the workforce by the end of 2015, but I want to have an idea of how I’ll accomplish that long term. That may mean taking part-time work, going back to school or just waiting for the right opportunity.
Whatever my path back to employment, I know it’s important that I find it. I’m glad I had the opportunity to focus on parenting during my son’s infancy; but I love what I do and I’m ready to devote some time to work as well. If you’re considering a return to work this year, follow my posts over the next few months; it’ll be good to have company on this journey.
Lori‘s resolution: Reducing debt
As with all good goals, I wanted to be specific. So, my husband and I decided that we would reduce our credit card debt by 20 percent over the next year. We spent several years with both of us in school, so the credit cards were used more often than they should have been. We certainly live on a budget nowadays and all of our bills get paid but we really wanted to attack the credit cards this year.
We analyzed our spending habits and found we used the credit cards the most to eat out and travel. So we have set up reasonable parameters for eating out and are planning ahead for travel. We also designed our monthly budget so it would allow us to apply more than the minimum payment to our credit card bills. We are paying the highest interest rate cards down first and will just not be using them this year.
With college tuition for our daughter looming in the near future, this goal seemed appropriate and timely. We will let you know how it goes!
Kristen‘s resolution: Cutting cable
My New Year’s resolution is to go off the grid. Kidding, that would just be ridiculous for a family of 4. But I am going to attempt to get rid of cable for good, which is basically the same thing as going off the grid. I am going to measure my success by accounting for the money I am saving, the impact on our family time and my ability to peruse the channels without crying that ESPN is no longer available in our home.
I definitely have to psych myself up for this, as I finished the year binge-watching every trashy cable TV reality show, and I don’t even watch those kind of shows. The real test is when college football starts and I am crying in my potato skins clutching the Time Warner number in a cold sweat, resisting the temptation to pay a ridiculous monthly fee for just four games. I’m nervous I’m going to end up at Applebee’s for hours on end, spending hundreds of dollars at the bar as I get my cable-TV fix. And I can’t even address the devastation I feel about missing the airing of Lance Bass’ wedding on E! in February. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. Stay tuned to hear how I’m doing!
Barbara‘s resolution: Losing weight
This year, my New Year’s resolution sounds a lot like many women’s: Lose weight, get healthy. For me, this has a deeper meaning: As I struggle with a chronic illness that helped me put on the extra 70 pounds I am now carrying, my resolution is so much more than eating healthy. It is admitting to myself that I have an illness, which to many is invisible.
You can’t possibly know I am growth-hormone deficient just by looking at me, but you will know that I am obese. You may judge me and think I am fat, lazy, any number of things associated with being obese. The truth is that for many years, I thought I couldn’t help it. I would diet and starve myself and attempt to exercise until I hurt, and the weight would not budge. Then I reached a point of giving up trying to lose weight, and that stage was acceptance of the status quo. This year, I am taking a stand and saying “status quo is no longer good enough for me!”
I am taking steps to advocate for my personal health. I am sticking to my treatment, and yes, I intend to really crack down and track everything. My resolution this year is to reach my Weight Watchers goal and become a lifetime member by 2016. I resolve to continue to be an advocate for my own health, so I can continue treatment and be a better parent to my kids and wife to my husband.
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Share yours in the comments.