New Year’s Revolution: 4 awesome alternatives to making resolutions

Kinderling News & Features

Shevonne Hunt hosts Kinderling Conversation every weekday at 12pm.

I love New Year’s Eve; I love the idea of a line in the sand, an excuse to start afresh and all the possibility that this holds.

But New Year’s resolutions can be a b!tch.

You start with the best intentions but by the end of the first week you’ve accepted defeat, knowing that there’s no chance you’ll get up at 6am to run every day, or that you will eat less chocolate and drink less alcohol.

Because you’re a parent and that means you have enough on your plate (like making three meals a day, changing nappies, toilet training, Lego-making, park playing, the list goes on) without adding more to the mix. Which is why I found this conversation with clinical naturopath Emma Sutherland and mindfulness coach Amy Taylor-Kabbaz so inspiring.

Let me break it down for you.

You don’t need to make resolutions

Emma says that we can make some really unrealistic resolutions, and when we can’t meet our goals it can lead to negative self-talk and criticism. She says it’s more about small steps.

New Year’s Eve for Amy is a time that parents can finally stop and take a breath. Rather than setting specific goals like losing five kilos or making more money, it can be a time to reflect and think about your priorities.  

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Focus on feelings and reflect on achievements

Amy uses an approach made famous by Danielle LaPorte where you create “goals with soul”. Instead of focusing on attaining things like buying a house, you focus on how having a house would make you feel.

“Then you’ve got a much more soulful focus for the next 12 months… we want to feel secure, we want to feel successful, we want to feel like we have a real home for our children. How can we do that, even if it’s not buying a house?” Amy says. “These are great conversations to have with your partner. What do you want to feel this time next year? Then build out the goals from that.”

Emma likes to look back and recognise all the amazing things she has done herself, on her own and with her daughter, and then bring that positivity into the New Year.

Start with small steps

Emma says that busy parents need to take baby steps, to ensure they stick with their own goals. That might be committing to drinking eight glasses of water, eating two pieces of fruit every day, or drinking herbal tea an hour before bed.  

“It’s the snowball effect. You take one small step of self-nurturing in relation to your health, [and] you start feeling that little bit better, you start getting that little bit more energy and then that self-perpetuates.”

Amy says to give yourself pockets of calm. And while committing to mindfulness can sometimes feel too hard, a simple and easy way to start is to combine it with Emma’s steps above.

“As you’re drinking those glasses of water and that cup of tea before bed, don’t look at your phone, don’t do anything else, don’t start planning the next day, just focus on your breath, focus on your feet on the ground,” she says.

Saying goodbye to 2017

So. The kids are finally in bed and you’ve got the bubbly out for your sneaky drink before you crash out on the lounge or in bed. What are the final bits of advice for parents on New Year’s Eve?

Emma says to make a list of the top five things you’re most proud of for the year and stick it on the fridge. Amy encourages you to dream a little with your partner (or with yourself, if you’re a single parent) and think about how you want to feel this time next year. She says, “What do you want to have achieved, what memories do we want to have created? That’s so much more important than those particular goals.”