Monday, December 30, 2013

Did You Keep Your 2013 New Year's Resolutions?

Don't just forget last year's New Year's resolutions. Evaluate them and use them as a guide for this year's resolutions. For 2014, you can renew the good resolutions from 2013, revise the okay ones, and ditch the impossible ones (or the ones you've fulfilled). Most of all, ask God for his help in setting and achieving these goals. He wants us to be better people with stronger wills, and he wants us to keep our promises to ourselves. So don't give up. Every new year is a second chance to accomplish good things and become the people God wants us to be.

With that back-drop, let's see how I did on my 2013 New Year's Resolutions. I'll even grade myself. You can do the same for yourself, if you like. I made one resolution for each member of my family, and I definitely achieved greater success with some than with others.

Resolution #1: Help to manage my 12-year-old daughter's ADD. Grade: B

We managed to find a kind and empathetic child psychiatrist, who put my daughter on a medication that worked for her. But the end goal is for her to do well without medication, so we tried the first trimester of the new school year without it. The results were disappointing, so we're going back to the medication regimen again. Action: Renew It!

Resolution #2: Study more with my 10-year-old son. Grade: B-

We tried studying at 9 pm, after the other children had gone to bed, but we were both too tired to accomplish much that late at night. Weekends or immediately after dinner might work better. Teaching him strategies for studying on his own is also key!  Action: Revise and Renew It!

Resolution #3: Show more love to my 8-year-old daughter. Grade: A-

When my daughter asked me to show her more love, it nearly broke my heart! What meant the most to her was my singing her a Spanish lullaby every night. She told me I was doing a great job keeping that resolution. But ... now she wants me to spend less time on the computer when she and the other kids are home. Action: Mission accomplished! New resolution: No computer usage from 3 pm to 5 pm when the kids get home from school, and limited computer usage until they go to bed.

Resolution #4: Help my 7-year-old daughter to read better. Grade: B+

My 7-year-old struggled a bit in kindergarten, but she's doing much better in first grade. She told me, "Nothing is really that difficult for me any more." Sometimes time and practice do the trick. She asked me to help her with backbends and other moves from her gymnastics class instead. Action: Mission Accomplished! New Resolution: Help with gymnastics goals.

Resolution #5: Teach my 5-year-old daughter how to read. Grade: C

With my older kids, I tried to teach them to read in the summer before kindergarten or definitely in the first trimester. Classroom teaching never sufficed -- they had to learn one on one. My 5-year-old knows her letters and letter sounds, together with a few sight words, but she can't read even a simple book yet. She always reminds me that we need to study her sight words, instead of me reminding her! I could definitely work harder and help her more here. Action: Renew It!

Resolution #6: Teach my 3-year-old daughter how to talk and use the bathroom. Grade: C for talking and A for potty training

My littlest one can pee like a pro now, but you still can't understand a lot of what she says. Her nursery school teacher recommended that we seek free speech services from the county, but pre-school services are pretty inconvenient. Before age 3, the speech therapist will come to your home, and after age 5 the speech therapist will go to your child's school. In between those ages, you need to go to the speech therapist's office twice or sometimes three times a week. With my other children's needs and extracurricular commitments, plus my husband's health issues, we simply can't devote that amount of time. Which means it's up to me. There are videos like Your Baby Can Read and iPad apps that help with annunciation, all for home-based learning. The older kids can even help, so we're going that route instead. Action: Drop the potty training resolution, and renew the resolution to help with her speech.

Resolution #7: Get the kids to pick up their shoes. Grade: D-

This was all my husband asked from me, and it was a pretty big fail. He hasn't noticed a bit of difference in the water level of mismatched shoes strewn around every room in the house. Action: Renew It! Really, really renew it!

Resolution #8: Pray more. Grade: B-

This resolution fell into the classic trap of way too vague to ever motivate real change. So, let's get down to specifics. Once upon a time, I could fit in 10 minutes of mental prayer and 10 minutes of spiritual reading every day, plus at least one decade of the rosary with my husband. I should be able to do it this year, too. Action: Revise and Renew It!

May God bless all of our resolutions in the new year and make them fruitful. Not for our own glory, but for the good of the family and the greater glory of God!

Photo Credit: bjornmeansbear via Compfight cc


  1. What a neat idea to have a specific resolution for each kid!
    I have had some needed progress last year in my home with getting kids to pick up using Judy Helms Wright's ideas of a Family Council and her "Kids, Chores, and More". My kids were throwing their food wrappers around the house. Recently, I started collecting the trash in a container and presenting them at our weekly Family Council. charging them $..30, $.20, and $.10 for a trash collecting fee per wrapper I collected when it was time to give them their allowance. Amazingly, they started picking more up on their own once it cost them some cash!
    Christina M Weber

    1. We used to charge the kids for leaving their shoes around the house (see resolution #7). Maybe we should start that again!

    2. I love your analysis of last year's resolutions! Last year I made my resolutions public by joining a "transformation forum" online. They offered online video training, and more importantly a community where we could post our daily progress and receive encouragement and accountability from others. I did great for the four months I was in this program. Then I backslid a bit.

      It got me thinking - wouldn't it be cool to create something for Catholics who want to make a resolution (during any time of the year) to grow in their faith? I noticed you gave yourself a B- for increasing prayer. I think having a public forum where you can receive encouragement, training, and accountability would really help.

      Creating a daily prayer habit was one of my goals. I give myself a B+ for it thanks to the online accountability.

      This kind of accountability groups would fit into my project at really well. I think my New Year's Resolution for this year might be to create this kind of program.

      What do you think?

    3. I think it sounds like a terrific idea! Accountability is key to positive behavior changes. And a lot of Catholics are particularly interested in making resolutions about their spirituality. The type of online group you mention is a fantastic way to tap into the "horizontal" nature of the Church, where we all support each other in our striving towards closer union with God.

  2. Reviewing your resolutions is a great idea! If I made resolutions, that would work well for me. I like reflection, introspection, and accountability (well, that last one is good for me, anyway). I should do that with the resolutions I make throughout the year.

    1. So glad you liked the post, Lindsay! Please visit again some time.