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I love the clean slate feel of the new year. And so, I am a resolution-maker. Every year, I tell myself – this will be the year I get it all together. I will exercise more. I will run a 10K. I will make more friends, get my apartment completely organized, closely follow a budget. This year I will make more money and buy a house. I will be a nicer person and never say mean things about anyone behind their back. This will be the year I finally achieve my lifelong goal of writing a book. I will also connect more deeply with my faith and read through the entire Bible.

This has been my self-talk every new year for awhile now. And I finally have to laugh at myself and realize that it’s not realistic to accomplish all of this in any given year, especially while raising two small children. Maybe I need to lower my expectations a little bit.

2015 was a good year for me. I wrapped up a travel editing project in February with a big client. I finally learned how to do my taxes and was self-sufficient enough to prepare a freezer full of meals during my pregnancy. My son was born in March and when my daughter turned 3 in April we celebrated with a party at the trampoline gym. I wrote a couple of travel articles about Lexington, Kentucky, and I got a new part-time job as publicity coordinator for my daughter’s children’s choir. Spencer took a month off from work in the summer and helped me at home with the kids. We visited the beach several times; Marie went to ballet camp and swimming lessons. In September, Spencer transitioned to a new job that he really enjoys.

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Fun at the beach with my daughter. Photo credit: Spencer Crawford

2015 was a hard year for me. When my son was one-week old, I developed a postpartum uterine infection and was readmitted to the hospital through the ER for 24 hours. It took me about a month to physically recover from childbirth and my complications, and I struggled with postpartum mood disorder for the second time (though not as severely). After my son was born, I had to sign up for WIC to help make ends meet. My husband struggled at work and ended up quitting his job without having another job lined up, and without me having a job.

So my year was amazing and it was also difficult. I did not run a 10K, write a book, or buy a house. Maybe in 2016 I’ll accomplish at least one of those things; time will tell. I know there are many joys ahead as well as many challenges, and I’m looking forward to the journey. As for my resolution this year?

It seems to work best if I have one, achievable resolution. Recently I heard about a dad who had resolved to take his 4-year-old son camping once a month throughout the year. While cold-weather camping isn’t my thing, I like the idea of creating a special tradition with my child. So, I’m resolving to do a community service project once a month with my daughter. I discovered a local nonprofit called Little Hands Can that does service projects with parents and kids, and I’ve already signed up for a project in January. I’m excited to start a tradition of service with Marie.

What’s your resolution for 2016?

 

Running, is once again, one of my goals in the new year. Perhaps there's a metaphor here?

Running is, once again, one of my goals in the new year. Perhaps there’s a metaphor here?

New Year’s has always been one of my favorite holidays. I like reflecting on the past year and looking forward to what’s ahead. I enjoy making New Year’s Resolutions but I rarely end up keeping them for the entire year.  Last year I set two goals for 2013:

1) Read through the entire Bible in a year

2) Run a 10K

Did I accomplish either of these goals? Alas, no, I lost interest in both. But — I did stay on track with the Bible reading for about 6 months. I realized I wasn’t getting much out of it because the reading schedule was too intensive. To read through the entire Bible in a year you need to read three or four chapters per day. Lately I’ve been trying to read one chapter a day and that is working well, so I plan to continue that.

As far as running goes, I have been running off and on throughout the year. I’ve noticed I feel much better when I run regularly. For about the last month, I’ve been running twice a week, but I’d like to increase that to three times a week.

So what was 2013 all about for me, if not completing my resolutions?

1) A Mommy Year

2013 (and 2012, 2014, 2015, etc.) was mostly about caring for my sweet little one. It’s been amazing to see all the changes she’s gone through in the past year as she’s changed from Baby Bear to Toddler Bear. In 2013 she learned to walk, clap, sign, talk, dance, run, and climb. From her first word (Mama) to her first sentence (“Read the book!”), it’s been a joy to watch her language development.

2) Becoming a Writer

In 2013 I’ve made the transition from being an aspiring writer to being a writer. Although it’s been years since I graduated from college with my BA in journalism, this is the first time I’ll be putting “writer” as my occupation on my tax return. And that feels pretty great, even if it doesn’t pay much – yet. I’ve completed two freelance editing projects and have published a collection of parenting articles on sites like eHow, GlobalPost Parenting and ModernMom.

3) Moving

This fall marked a move that has been very beneficial for me. We’re now in the same town as my parents, and have an apartment that boasts a dishwasher and is (mostly) mold-free. Hip hip hurray!

Goals for 2014:

Goal-setting is important to me, as it makes me feel like I’m purposefully moving forward in my life. Explicitly stating my goals helps put them into a clearer focus and greatly increases my likelihood of accomplishing them. I’d encourage you to also have goals for the year, even if some of them seem unrealistic right now. Dare to dream. Here are mine:

1) Write and self-publish my young adult novel.

I just completed an excellent online course on writing young adult fiction. I’ve wanted to write a YA novel for some time, but never knew how to structure it. Now that I’ve taken this course, it seems an achievable (though challenging) goal.

2) Buy a house.

I’ve already completely Step 1 towards this goal — just bought a book about becoming a first-time homeowner. Yay!

3) Run 3 miles in 30 minutes.

Currently I can run 2.5 miles in 30 minutes, but I think if I increase my running to three days a week it will be fairly easy to reach this goal.

4) Make new friends but keep the old.

Focusing on relationships is always important to me. I’m shy, so it is a challenge for me to make friends, but necessary since we don’t know many people in our new town. And I want to continue investing heavily in my old relationships — particularly with my husband and the little one.