A Mindful Parent: More then a New Years Resolution

Every year most of us begin our year with good intentions to follow through on our New Years Resolution, yet somehow the days, weeks, and months get away from us and before we know it the year has passed, and we feel discouraged and disappointed with our lack of success. Our kids have grown another year and we reflect back on all those moments we wish we could have slowed down and just enjoyed them more. The good news is the year is not over yet and we do not need to wait for another year to begin to get started. This year I encourage you to do something different; to act now instead of look back on all the things you wished you had done differently! Below are five steps to get you started. I realize some of these things may be familiar to you, but this year I encourage you to DO them instead of just think about them!  


Before reading any further, STOP, pull out your writing or typing materials and get ready to write your goals! Because you know as well as I do, that as a busy parent if you do not stop and do it right NOW there is a good chance you will not do it at all. If you absolutely cannot stop and do it now then I encourage you to create a reminder for yourself and decide on a specific time when you will do it. 


At the end of the day, the year, your life; what truly matters to you? Who do you want to be as a person and a parent? When your child is 25 years old how do you hope they look back on their childhood and describe you as a parent? What qualities do you hope that your children possess, and what are you doing now to help nurture this?


Write what you want to do, not what you do not want in each area of your life, not just with your family. How do you want to be in your other relationships and interactions, with your physical and emotional health and spiritually. Write as though you are already accomplishing these goals or as if you know you will! Include specific action steps you will take or that you are taking to live intentionally.


Many things can come up when you ask these questions, including mixed emotions such as guilt, fear, and regret of perceived short comings. If you allow yourself to get carried away with these thoughts and feelings you most likely will lose the motivation to complete this exercise and it will interfere with your confidence and hope. Instead of directing your focus towards guilt beatings, use your perceived failures and mistakes as learning opportunities. 

What have you learned from these experiences? What has gotten in the way of reacting as the mindful, intentional person and parent you want to be in these moments? What were your triggers? Have there been times when you have been triggered and still handled things the way you would like to and what helped you in these moments? How can you use this as information to help you be more intentional in the future. 


Once you have this on paper post it somewhere you can see it daily. This step is key! Otherwise our goals are out of sight, out of mind and how easily we go through our days and our lives just going through the motions, unmindful of what truly matters.

In summary, our intentions and goals matter, and writing them down really does make a difference. Without defining your values and goals how do you know where you are going? Goal setting is what helps make your dreams a reality. You might think that you could never forget the kind of parent or person you want to be, but think about how easily you do actually forget when the kids are fighting, screaming, throwing food and life is pulling you in a hundred directions. Take the time today to write down your intentions and the goals/action steps you will take to make sure you are directing your focus towards what matters most!