Belated Not-So-Lofty “Resolutions”


One thing I’m learning to accept in recent months is that sometimes, I need to shoot lower.

It’s not something they’re ever going to engrave on an decorative tile to hang in your kitchen: “Don’t try quite so hard – just lower your expectations so they’re easier to meet. S’okay.”

But that’s the verdict I’m coming to. I’ve always been pretty ambitious with my self-expectations. My M.O. is to have too much on my plate and just finish what I can, as if somehow having more goals means I’m likely to accomplish more of them. Like buying more lottery tickets to increase my odds. I’m not sure it’s logically sound.

It’s just that I hate quitting things or giving things up. Sticking with things and seeing things through to the end are very important to me. I feel sad about things I neglect (examples: my flute, my figure skates). But then I keep adding stuff. Without wanting to let anything go, I get new hobbies, new friends… and KIDS of course, who could potentially use every waking moment of my life if I allowed it. So with the same number of hours to work with, the math is all out of whack. (wack?)

Since phasing into this life as a mother with two living children and a job (and a blog), I have realized that achieving my goals is no longer really up to me. I can say, “I’m going to clean out my closet today, for sure.” Then, almost without fail, I will come to a crossroads where I need to choose between doing that thing I said I was gonna do, and doing my job as a parent. Parenting always wins. Finding the bottom of my closet, the top of my dresser, or the edges of my basement loses EVERY TIME. Similarly, I can say I’m going to make a minimal time commitment to do something (e.g. exercise) every day… and then the same damn thing happens.

I don’t like falling off the wagon and being disappointed in myself. And it bothers me a lot when I know I’m doing a mediocre job at something (like my job, for instance) because I simply haven’t put the required time and energy in.

La la la. All this blabbing to announce that I’m not making proper new year’s resolutions. I’m not declaring that I will get super-fit or cut out sugar or walk a certain amount every day or write a novel or finish my symphony or revolutionize my teaching. My main resolution is AIM LOW, DILOVELY. For the win.

Then, I will do my best to be my own enabler in positive ways. To dispose myself to self-improvement in tiny increments. NOT to decree that I will be perfect at these things, NOT to beat myself up when I miss something, but just to do as well I can.

(I am not used to this.)

Here’s what I’ve thought of so far.

  • Take my probiotics, whenever I can remember to. They say that gut health is linked to many aspects of overall health, including mental health. I eat pretty well, but I could always do better. This seems like an easy way to assist my system.
  • Do three simple things when I feel draggy (instead of complaining and/or caffeining): 1) take a few complete breaths, 2) get some blood to my brain with a stretch or a few jumping jacks, and 3) drink a full glass of water. Then see how I’m doing.
  • Take Candy Crush Saga off my phone. (Already done, just before New Year’s.) I started to play it while nursing, when it’s hard to do anything else, but now that Baby AB nurses less frequently and fast-food style, it’s just enough time to start on a level – and then… your addiction makes you finish it. And implores you to start the next one. I hate seeing myself distracted from life like that. Let it never be said that I missed my son belly laughing or my daughter saying a new word because I was trying to get myself a stripey one.
  • Don’t make everything into an opportunity to multitask. I think smart phones and the internet (much as I love them) are actually designed perfectly to degrade the attention span, what with the infinite tangents you can go on… and sadly, it’s working on me. Especially since I already lean toward multitasking. Nursing can just be nursing. Waiting in line can just be waiting.
  • Try to notice what I’m doing, and do that. It goes with the attention-span thing. If I’m doing email, I don’t have to go look up that movie that guy was in just because it pops into my head. If I’m doing dishes, I don’t have to get my kid a snack just because he’s hungry… wait, yes I do. Ahem. Anyway.
  • Pay attention to my own sleep window. I concern myself so much with my kids’ sleep windows and trying to get them sleeping at the opportune times, but I have come to know that I need that too. If I want good sleep (and I do. Blimey. I really really do), I need to make a better effort to avoid the second wind.
  • Don’t take up a new TV show. We have no channels at our house, only Netflix. If you have Netflix, you know how easy it is to binge-watch a show you like. And as much as I’d like to believe that quality TV truly enriches my life, it does not make me more likely to blog, do the dishes, fold the laundry, play my ukulele, or pay attention to things like sleep windows. So now that I’m done all five seasons of Chuck*, I am going to resist the temptation to begin one of the other shows that I’m sure I’d love (Dr. Who, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, etc.). I can’t complain about the things I don’t have time to do if I’m actually watching sneaky Netflix on a regular basis.
  • Get a massage. Preferably more than once. I have a very kinky neck-and-shoulder area; my insurance covers massage. I even have a friend who happens to be an excellent massage therapist with whom I also love to chat. Why on earth has it been almost two years since I got a massage?? I don’t know. Something lame, like inertia.
  • Embrace the living-room dance parties. Both my kids love music and dancing. Me too. There is no excuse for not shaking our tailfeathers as often as possible.
  • Don’t worry if this list is not finished. Sometimes you just gotta post the dang post already.

Et voilà. No jocular New Year meme for me this year, just a decidedly unambitious list.

Secretly, I’m hoping that these little things will add up to me figuring out how to WIN AT LIFE.


*So yeah, Chuck. Silly spy show with nerd factor. Got a wee bit obsessed and now it ranks up there with Buffy and Scrubs and HIMYM and Firefly: Shows That Have Touched My Heart And Make Me Wish The Characters Were Real So I Could Somehow Find Them And Become Their Pal. I’m ready for my Nerd Herder, please.

Lots of reasons I shouldn’t have liked it (in particular: lots of violence, hints of jingoism, and the girl always wearing 4-inch heels at highly impractical moments) but SUCH loveable characters. I’m not much of a LOL-er at TV, but this show made me giggle all the time. And choke up numerous times. Plus… Zachary Levi, for whom I’ve had to modify my laminated list.

Mr. A, I’m confident I could now handle any Chuck reference you could dish out, in T-shirt form or otherwise. Just so you know.



12 thoughts on “Belated Not-So-Lofty “Resolutions”

  1. Rachel M says:

    unambitious, eh? Not sure about that… 😉
    Being the night owl that I am, if I could get control of my own sleep window that would be HUGE!! (thank goodness I don’t have a job to get to by 9am and my kids usually sleep till at least 8am!)
    Thankfully I’ve got the massages down, although even there every other month just isn’t enough somehow…
    And I can completely relate to the having a goal (not even a big goal) to accomplish for the day and not managing to achieve it due to the choice between doing a good job (or at least decent) at parenting or not…sigh…there seem to be so few moments between this need and that need with 2…
    Robin and I are hoping that we’re now at a point where both kids can go away for a weekend so we can get a few this winter/spring to tackle some of the more major projects around the place again! 🙂
    Wishing you all the best in doing the best you can and not feeling guilty about the rest!!

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Rachel, don’t you just marvel at people who have three kids or more? I’m glad to hear you are responsible about massages… and I very much understand about “getting control” of your sleep window. It’s hard to be disciplined, especially when you finally get to that part of the evening where the kids are sleeping and you finally have some time to yourself.
      Good luck with your weekend projects! I’m still nervous about the idea of overnights away from Baby AB (even though we sleep separately now, she still demands an early-morning snack)… but it’s probably just me. 🙂 Wishing all of you the best too. xo

  2. Amanda says:

    I have given up Netflix’s for just the time sucking addictive qualities you mention. You might really be on to something with aim lower for the win. I am going to try less multitasking (she says while waiting on hold, watching the end of a movie and responding to this blog). Even if you never finish that to do list, pick up your skates or take your probiotics everyday I still think you are FAB-U-LOUS!!!

  3. Helen says:

    First, I want to agree with your “Chuck” fondness. I watched most of it as it came out on TV. And you might want to save some time for “Call the Midwife”–love that show! So what about aiming not to binge-watch…think about it as a good thing for multi-tasking moments, because I think there are times when multi-tasking is OK. Standing in line doesn’t have to just be standing in line, or being on hold doesn’t have to just be being on hold. Perfect time to stream something, unless your multitask is to parent while standing in line or being on hold. As a non-parent, I look at you parent people and see you multi-tasking almost constantly without you even realizing it, because standing in line with a kid is not the same as standing in line. Trust me, standing in line as an adult with no kid in tow is BORING, and feels like a waste of time, and could use a little multitask to keep it interesting. It’s like listening to the radio while driving, you don’t think of it as multitasking, but it is, because it divides your attention just enough that you don’t zone out and crash into someone. So make your multitask worthwhile and somehow fulfilling, like chatting with E or watching a good show, not playing an addictive game…
    Anyway, I say all this to applaud you for aiming lower. It’s like the AA saying, “one day at a time.” We do it in Weight Watchers, too, encourage people not to think about the 100 pounds (45.5 kg) that they want to lose, but think about what healthy choices they’re going to make at their next meal, or how they’re going to go for a walk this afternoon, not run a 5K. So I like all your small changes, they make sense, and they’re achievable, and you’ll feel so good when you can proudly say you’ve done them.
    Now go pop a probiotic 😉
    Helen recently posted..New Year, New BalanceMy Profile

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Glad to hear other pacifists like Chuck too. 🙂 And maybe I will watch Call the Midwife, if I can just figure out a way to make myself go to bed at the proper time in spite of it.

      I agree, parenting IS multitasking most of the time, and I think that’s why, when I’m not with my kids, I need to JUST stand in line or whatever sometimes, to have a little bit of not thinking, not really paying attention, just zoning out. Because during the rest of the day, there is no chance to zone out. (I do like listening to the radio in the car though. And listening to TED talks while doing dishes.)

      I like the WW perspective. I need to keep that in mind too, in terms of healthy choices, and what small thing could I do/eat(/not eat) in the next hour that would be good for me. Thank you for outlook.

  4. Q says:

    So many gems in this post! I toooootally get what you’re saying and know how you feel even though I don’t have kids yet. I started making ‘attainable’ New Years resolutions. Last year was learn to use chopsticks (I did!). This year it’s to take three dance classes. Any dance classes. Just three. In one year. Attainable, right??? When my mom was overwhelmed at her job an consistently giving 110 or 150%, someone told her to try giving 80%. I think about that alllll the time. Sometimes giving 80% is enough.

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Chopsticks! Perfect!! And yes. Three dance classes. So if you do more, it’s just gravy (healthy gravy). And you’re right – 80% is still an A- in secondary school. 🙂 Quite a good mark/effort. I’m going to keep that one in mind. <3

  5. Auntie CL says:

    The first three responses echo mine: make time for Call the Midwife (and it’s not that long a series; it ends); 80% of what You can give is still more than most.
    Looks like you are working towards living more in your moment, which is a very good idea. You never know when that moment might be cut off, or how many more you’ll get, or how precious this one might turn out to be after all…
    AND parenting is certainly continual multi-tasking; but it is full of never-to-be-repeated moments, and you are very skilled at appreciating that! you go, girl!

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Oh, Auntie, you don’t know how many times a day I think about that – how precious a moment might turn out to be, especially if I didn’t get as many as I was expecting. And even though it’s impossible to fully soak up every moment, it does help to blog about it (since I don’t seem to have time to journal anymore!). xoxo

  6. Mama says:

    I don’t think there’s anything I can add in response to this brilliant post that those who’ve already responded haven’t said! EXCEPT that I adopted a similar strategy for alternate New Years ages ago. (What do I do on the other New Years? No resolutions at all! Just keep on truckin’!)

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