We have just come off the craziness of the holidays and it’s the start of a new year. Some of us have resolutions or ideas for change we would like to see this year, while others of us may have no New Year resolutions at all.
And fair enough. Resolutions can be so tiring. With actionable steps necessary to reach our goals, resolutions can take a lot of time, organization and effort to achieve.
So instead of starting in the unknown territory that are New Year’s resolutions, why not start with the familiar? What if we started with the life that we live every single day, instead of starting with a list of goals for our dream life? What if instead of focusing on a list of resolutions, we simply choose one thing to say "NO" to this new year?
Signs it’s time to say "NO"
So why would you embrace this idea of “no New Year resolution”? How do you know if it’s time to say "NO" in your life?
These are some scenarios, feelings and general examples that it’s time:
You are out of touch with your needs and wants. They have become faint whispers. Everyone and everything else comes first.
Your family is constantly calling you every time they need something. You’ve made it so you are always needed, instead of empowering others to take ownership.
You spend the little free time that you do have on things that don’t enrich your life, but serve as an escape or distraction. Clicking in and tuning out.
You don’t set limits and boundaries when it comes to your family, children, colleagues and friends accessing you. You’re always available.
You make goals and resolutions each New Year and by February they seem to go out the window. You may think, “Who has time, space or energy to meet their resolutions anyway.”
If any of this resonates with you, then it may be time to set some boundaries. Think of it as saying "NO" to those things that:
Drain your well.
Aren’t in line with your values.
Take joy away from you personally or the life of your family.
What Saying "NO" may look like for you
Think of a “no New Year resolution” as minimizing, weeding out and setting limits on that which takes away from your daily joy, happiness and possibly sanity as a parent.
Saying "NO" looks different for each person. It may be:
Saying no to people.
Saying no to bad habits.
Saying no to certain acts of selflessness. Think of being selfless at the expense of your constant happiness and wellness as an act of selfishness. You’re only hurting yourself and those around you in the long run.
This may look like:
Interacting less with a friend who vents regularly and leaves you feeling totally drained. It’s great to be kind and caring but friendships shouldn’t leave you feeling tired and resentful.
Being able to say to the kids, fellow parents and/or colleagues: “I am not able to do that right now” or “I am not able to take on more at the moment” or “No for now and I’ll let you know if anything changes”.
Setting limits while empowering the “asker” to figure it out. For example, when your child asks to do an activity with friends outside of the house, your response may sound like, “Yes that could work. You are in charge of figuring out the carpool and speaking with parents and I’m happy to drive one way.”
Not responding to “Moooommmmm” being yelled from across the house.
When the kids ask for things or for you to do things, you instead show them where something is or how to do the task themselves. This may sound like, “From now on, you will be able to get the apples from here and use the apple corer all on your own.”
When you think to yourself, "I really have been wanting to make time for yoga/working out/morning walks/etc.", you now do it. You may think there is no time. Well, tough love sista. Make the time. Making the time for self-care may look like waking up a little earlier, asking your partner to take the lead at that specific time (and doing the same for him/her) and/or explaining to the kids that during this time they will play quietly. Plus, this is awesome for your kids to see. You are setting the example that it’s important to take care of yourself and that adults need their alone time too!
Going cold turkey or setting some serious boundaries on a habit that doesn’t make your life richer and fuller. This may look like limitations around email, social media and/or streaming services.
So what are you saying "NO" to this New Year? I would love to hear from you!