Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler.
I‘m usually the annoying person at New Year’s Eve parties asking people about their goals for the new year:
“So, what are everyone’s resolutions?” I asked brightly at the last one we went to.
“I have resolved never to make new year’s resolutions,” my husband proclaimed. “And I’m pretty sure I’ll keep it this year.” Sigh.
I will admit, though, that he has a point. If I’m honest, by February, my resolutions have dissolved in a puff of smoke. The new school schedule has been shelved, neither my children nor I have made any progress on our reading lists and we’re deep in winter doldrums.
Because here’s the thing: who really wants to keep resolutions coming off a big party at the very time when the weather is working against us? Who wants to go running, lose weight, be kind, read more and save money in January? It’s pretty much the Monday of the year.
So here’s a thought: Try spring.
I find spring to be like a Thursday evening. Yes, there’s still Friday and a little work to be done, but there’s the promise of the weekend.
It is a milder, kinder time of year. A time of hope.
From a homeschooling perspective, it’s the best time to reassess what worked in the last year and especially what did not. This information is invaluable come summer when we actually do the hard work of picking curricula for the next year.
Spring is also the perfect time to begin something new. Everywhere we look, plants are growing. We’re in the mood for spring cleaning. Old cobwebs disappear – even the ones in our thoughts.
There is a freshness in the air and it catches us. Don’t waste it!
Tips and tricks for resolution making
Don’t try to do too much
Yes, making resolutions is exciting and can make us a little overzealous. It is important not to try to do too much. Even Charlotte Mason, who had much to say about making good habits and keeping them, insisted that you only work on one or two at a time.
So take a page from her book and think hard about the one or two things you would like to improve.
Be true to who you are (and who your kids are!)
This is where most people will say you need accountability, but I disagree. I actually tend to do worse when I am faced with accountability and competition.
So assess and know yourself. If you are the kind of person who works best alone, devise a plan for that. If you need accountability and work well with others, get a group to help you.
The same is true for your children. Work with their strengths. I have a daughter who can be given weekly work that is done neatly within three days. My son, on the other hand, needs me standing at the table in front of him for his daily work.
Both of these situations work for us because we take into account their personalities.
Keep the time limit short
I find that the shorter the time limit, the easier it is to achieve our resolutions. Three to six months seems to be about the right time limit for us, but you can pick whatever works for your family.
I write out our schedule for three months at a time. It’s long enough to give us something to sink our teeth into but short enough to keep my children motivated. This is another reason I am beginning to dislike new year’s resolutions – a year is a very long time!
Now, go – spring forward!
Stop feeling guilty for not keeping your new year’s resolutions and have some fun making new ones! Have you shelved your plan from December 31st? Bring it out, dust it off and give it another try.
This is a lovely time of year to renew and refresh ourselves. Use it to its full potential!
What resolutions come to mind instantly as you read this? Which ones sound exciting? Tell us in the comments!
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Such a good idea! 🙂
Anne’s latest post: A Week, Briefly (3/5/18)
I can’t stop laughing at January being the Monday of the year. It’s so true! Thanks for the inspiration!
Sarah Badat Richardson
I didn’t make New Year resolutions but I did set out a goal to work out 4/week for 20 minutes for 20 weeks (which coincides with my birthday). I was depressed and figured that exercise could help. It did! I will set a new goal when the 20 weeks are up (in 2 weeks) I haven’t missed 1 workout so far!
Sarah Badat Richardson’s latest post: Hope for new moms
I love the idea of a 3 month goal! It would match up with the seasons, which feels so natural to me. Also I SO appreciate what you said about knowing yourself and that you don’t do well in groups and competition. I don’t either. I definitely do worse!