If you’re like 40% of Americans, you may have made a new year’s resolution for 2015. And if you’re like over half of those who actually make resolutions, you may wind up throwing in the towel before February. It sucks, right? That’s why so many of us don’t even bother to set goals—we know that sticking to resolutions is really hard. I mean, I always decide I’m going to start dieting in January, and by springtime I’m back to bingeing on my kids’ Goldfish crackers.
That’s why I’ve had to change my thinking and focus on smaller goals, like, say, trying to eat clean when I can…when it’s easy enough to do. If I had some broad “no carbs, no sugar, no fat” plan, it would just leave me with too many opportunities to screw up! And when I veer off course, which always happens, I feel like a failure and then give up because, clearly, it was too hard.
In order to stick to my clean eating, though, I’m going to plan ahead, anticipate the potential hurdles, and steel myself against temptation. That means all of the processed junk in my pantry has to go, much to my family’s dismay. Buh-bye fake ice cream and Diet Coke!
I asked some of my mum friends how they plan on staying the course with their new year’s resolutions. Let me tell you, these ladies have some brilliant ideas that might actually work.
Here’s how 12 real mums are REALLY sticking to their New Year’s resolutions:
In the past, I’ve always made resolutions that were sort of all or nothing. So, of course, they failed because it’s really hard to be that strict about anything for more than a week or two. Now, I just reframe how I think about my resolutions. Instead of saying, definitively, “I’m going to cut out carbs, no more carbs for me!” I’ll say, “I’m going to try and cut down on my carbs,” the operative word being “try.” That way, I’m resolving to put in the effort, but won’t be so hard on myself when I cheat here and there. — Melissa, Chicago
I’ve been really trying to work on my patience with my kids and even joined a “no yelling” challenge over the summer. I’m going to extend that into 2015, but I find that the hardest part is following through in the moment. One of the things that has helped is to wear some type of red band or bracelet around my wrist to remind myself to take a deep breath, count to ten, reevaluate the situation, and think before I act. I’m also going to stick little notes for myself in places where I get really frustrated with my boys, like one that says, “They’re only three,” on their bedroom door or “1…2…3” in my car. — Jana, Miami
For 2015, my resolution is to spend quality time with my husband. With kids, work, and friends, we’re really busy, and the swirl of activity has lessened our connection. So I’m going to pull it together and refocus on strengthening our marriage. To do that, I’m going to start saying no sometimes—we don’t have to go to everything we’re invited to. And we are going to commit to a regular date-night babysitter so we force ourselves out, even when we’re tired. — Racquel, Tucson
I’m a personal trainer and I’m five months pregnant, so I think of every excuse in the book not to work out. Even if you don’t feel like exercising—which is me every single day—you have to make it a part of your daily schedule. I was so nauseated during my first trimester, but I put it in my calendar almost daily and made the time. To stick with it in 2015, even as I get bigger and more tired, I set an ongoing reminder on my iPhone for the same time every day, and will hit snooze until I actually start my routine. That way it’s like an annoying voice forcing me to do it, and I’ll feel the satisfaction when I actually get it done. — Ali Moyer, Los Angeles, www.FitwithAli.com
My husband and I are both total sugar addicts, so we decided together that we were going to cut it completely out of our diet in the new year. It’s going to be so hard, so there’s no way we would be able to do it unless we were both committed. To stay motivated, we made a bet with each other—if one of us cheats and has sugar, they have to do the dishes for an entire week. We’ve been together since we were teenagers, so it’s impossible for us to lie to each other. And we both hate, hate, hate to do dishes, so we’re hoping this keeps us on track. — Leslie, Reading, PA
As a mum of three kids under four, I don’t always have the energy to put myself together like I used to. My resolution, though, is to put in more of an effort. To stick to it, I’ve made one rule: I can’t leave the house without makeup. Once you start with the foundation, you sort of have to finish the job and do your eyes, cheeks, and lips. And once my face is all made up, I don’t want to ruin the effect by throwing on a frumpy outfit. Hopefully I stick to the makeup rule and from there the rest will continue to fall into place. — Rosalyn, Westchester, CA
My resolution is like most people’s: to get healthier, watch my diet, drink water, and exercise more. I’m really into making to-do lists the old-fashioned way, with paper and pen, so it helps me a lot to be able to check things off the list. I found this really cool notepad on Etsy where you can make a list of tasks, log what you’ve eaten, how much water you drank, what exercise you’ve done, etc. I’m hoping it’ll keep me on track and also hold me accountable. — Kelly, Seattle
I love my grandma so much, and I don’t get to see her nearly as much as I should. I’m a stay-at-home mum and so busy with the kids, I just can’t always make the time. She’s almost 90 years old, though, so I know that I need to have quality time with her while I can. So at Christmas I gave her a coupon that entitles her to two lunches every month, on me. I feel like by making that commitment, on paper, I’ll have to get out to see her twice a month. If not, I’ll totally hate myself…for good reason! — Stacy, Bethesda, MD
I’m a single mum with a one-year-old, and I’ve started to realise that I need to start saving for his future. My company works with a payroll company, so I had them divert a certain amount of every paycheck into a savings account. That way, the money is put aside without me even having to think about it…and before I can spend it on something stupid. There’s no way I can break this resolution, unless I want to deal with more paperwork and the mummy guilt of not doing this for my child. — Michele, Austin, TX
I resolved to get my house in order this year and really organize all of our stuff. With kids, there’s always crap everywhere. And our bills and papers are piled up high on the desk. I’m over it! The whole thing seems way too daunting, so I decided just to focus on one area every week, rather than look at it as one big project. Dealing with just one bookcase or just one set of drawers feels so much more manageable, and I’m hoping it’ll keep me motivated. — Charlotte, Rye, NY
My husband got me a FitBit for Christmas, which tracks my steps and my activity levels, and allows me to log in my food. It makes me feel like Big Brother is watching, so I better stick to the plan! I’ve only had it for a week and I’m already taking the stairs more and parking farther away, just to make sure I get in my 10,000 steps. — Jo, San Diego, CA
We get takeout way more than we should, which is hard on our budget and not all that healthy. I’ve decided I’m going to do more cooking at home, but it’s hard to get motivated after a long day of work. So, I sat down with the kids at the computer, and we printed out a ton of recipes from Pinterest that we all wanted to try. I put them in a binder, and at the beginning of each week, we will pick out which ones we want to make and head to the supermarket together. It’s like a family activity, and the kids are really excited about it, so I don’t want to let them down. — Aimee, Brooklyn
This post was sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus
image: Getty / Jamie Grill
More New Year’s Resolutions: