050: How to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Work Both for You and Your Young Child

IMG_1995Today’s episode is a real milestone: Episode 50! I can’t believe we’re already here, 50 episodes in. I really wanted to do something special today, to mark the big 5-0, and since it’s so close to the first of the year I got to thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

Then an instagram follower, writtenandbound, got in touch to ask me how she could best help her three-year-old daughter overcome a huge fear and go in the ball pit at gymnastics, and I knew that goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions needed to be our topic today!

To read about my 2015 resolutions and how I did with them – and for the advice I gave to writtenandbound – click here to go to this episode’s show notes.

At the beginning of 2015, I heard an episode of Mike Vardy’s podcast, The Productivityist, In which he and a guest outlined their goals for 2015 and, more broadly and incredibly usefully to me, they discussed how to think about goals in general.

People really struggle with setting goals and then failing to follow through; it produces guilt and sadness and a feeling of not being able to complete something even if it’s very important to them. (I know this firsthand, and I bet that maybe you do too.)

Mike and his guest suggested thinking differently about goals, and in a way that really resonated with me: they encouraged me to think about the roles I inhabit on a daily basis, my life goals for each, and what I can do about each in the coming year. So, that’s what I did!

Today I read out each of the roles I inhabit, my life goals for each, and my goals within each for 2015. Then I share about how I did, and finally I share a few of my goals for 2016.

Here are my 2015 goals and how I did with them:

  • my life goal for my role of Self: Physical is to be strong and healthy, able to do all the activities that are most important to me, like skiing, walking, hiking and swimming, knitting, tech use, writing, cooking and baking
    • in 2015 I wanted to: STOP overdoing it on the tendons and soft tissue; while I have not completely achieved this goal, I have made some progress
    • take joy from what I can physically do now, especially skiing, walking, and strengthening; I have achieved this goal and I’m so grateful for all the things my body allows me to do (in the 4 1/2 years since I developed my Mystery Tendon Disorder)
    • eat well, emphasizing high-quality protein, vegetables, healthy fats; this is another toughie that I have not completely achieved, although I do have a better relationship with food than I have in the past
  • my life goals for my role of Self: Mind is to love and accept myself as I am, and to always be a learner
    • in 2015 I wanted to: smile – instead of scowling – in the mirror; this was such a challenge, and I’m happy to say that, for the most part, I’ve achieved this goal
    • recognize self-criticism and change it to be more positive and supportive; this is been possibly the most important goal that I’ve set and achieved in 2015, because it’s made me feel so much better about me and my abilities… If you set just one goal for 2016, I would ask that you consider this goal, it’s been so helpful!
    • keep learning through books and deep conversations, two of the best things in the world; one of the best things about We Turned Out Okay is it’s given me the opportunity to have fabulously deep conversations with people I would never have met or spoken to in my pre-podcast life, this was a fun goal to achieve in 2015
  • my life goal for my role of Family: Wife is to be a true partner to Ben, giving love and support to him always
    • in 2015 I wanted to: contribute my brainpower for everything that Ben is doing now as a substitute for me with my mystery tendon disorder – the cooking, the cleaning, the homemaking in every sense – I want to contribute through planning, organization, corralling of children, striving to lighten his load and make these tests more pleasant for him; I’m certainly a lot better at the end of 2015 with this goal than I was at the beginning! I’m calling it achieved, and working to improve in this goal in 2016
    • give Ben time to pursue his favorite things, like fishing and carpentry; I was not able to give him as much time as I wanted to, but things are better in this category than they were at the beginning of 2015; I will keep working in 2016 to give him more and more time for his favorite things
  • my life goal for my role of Family: Mother is to help the boys grow up to be strong, creative, and joyful
    • in 2015 I wanted to: give them opportunities for classes, social gatherings, and alone time, which I did achieve and continue to do
    • really listen to them, help them know that their ideas matter, which again I did achieve and continue to do (and we have a great relationship as a result)
    • spend time with them, exercising, talking, playing around, laughing; we’ve always done these things with our boys and continue to, to our benefit as much as theirs
    • try to be a good example for them about how to overcome challenges and find joy; I can only hope I’m achieving this goal, will have to wait a few more years yet to find out 🙂
  • my life goal for my role of Family: Daughter, Sister, In-law, Family-I-have-chosen is to spend quality time with these people that I love
    • in 2015 I set the goals of: cheering on the young people at their sporting events, which I’ve achieved, in that I went to more of their sporting events than ever before – but I want to do better at this in 2016
    • hike, camp, ski – be out in the world together; this one I did achieve, and have a goal of continuing to work on in 2016 because I believe you can’t do too much of this stuff with the people you love
    • go to and host gatherings with these special people; be so thankful that they are in my life! Always, always.
  • my life goal for my role as Entrepreneur: to create a successful business that helps people and supports my family
    • in 2015 I set the goals of: starting a fun, supportive podcast for parents of young children – which, done 🙂
    • remember to take tiny steps, just a few each day, and be patient – I can only go at my body’s pace; despite some setbacks, I have achieved and continue to work at this goal

Looking back, 2015 was a wonderful year, and setting these goals and working towards achieving them is a big part of why it was a wonderful year.

I hope that my goal-setting exercise helps you as you are dreaming about what 2016 could be!

And now for writtenandbound’s question of how to help her daughter overcome her fear of the ball pit; first of all, I love that three-year-old Lauren (I started calling her Lauren, just for giggles and because I thought I had read that name over at writtenandbound’s website) asked her mom “I want you to help me jump in the ball pit.” That truly is Lauren’s goal, and I love that her mom’s response is to help in any way she can!

In this episode, I suggest creating a book about a girl named Lauren who gets up one day, goes to gymnastics class, jumps in the ball pit more than once and is so happy… as a preschool teacher and then as a mom, I found that when a child can read a book about him or herself – or look at the pictures and have it read to her if she’s preliterate – that child will begin to see herself as a person who can do this. Plus, they just love to read stories about themselves!

I recommend a website called toondoo.com if Lauren’s mom wants to create a graphic novel of the story, and I ask her also to remember that done is better than perfect; even just a few pages of printer paper folded over, with a sentence on each page and a few stick figure drawings is so helpful.

Writtenandbound, if you take my advice, please drop me a line and let me know how it goes! Best of luck in helping Lauren achieve her goal of jumping in the ball pit 🙂

Key Links:

For Mike Vardy’s podcast, The Productivityist, click here.

Click here to visit Michael O’Neal’s podcast site, solohour.com

Want to make a graphic novel about or with your child? Click here to go to toondoo.com.

I made you a present! Grab my free 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents here, on my website.