No! I’m saying no to traditional New Year’s Resolutions.

No To New Year’s Resolutions.

Maybe I’ll just revisit previous promises or go with the flow. But I cannot elongate my to-do list! It already has babies. And sticky-note grandchildren.

I see them lying around everywhere: those lazy aspirations! Beyond the handwritten intentions, there are stacks of books, a colorful recipe and its rotten ingredients, musical instruments, exercise equipment, art supplies…oh hiking shoes, you give me the blues! Pieces of potential both haunt and inspire me.

Does anyone else suffer from self-disappointment induced by over-achievement? Perhaps, we set our expectations too high. Sure, it’s good to have goals, to reflect on what we each can do better, and to strive for success, but I often feel like I let myself down by regularly reaching up.

I bet many moms can relate.

My Struggle

Personally, I am task-oriented (possibly because I was in the military) and purpose driven (probably because I prefer mono-tasking). I’m also a substitute teacher who loves a lesson plan. I’ll admit: I’m practically addicted to productivity! And I’m a recovering perfectionist. Plus, I struggle with flexibility. When on a mission, I’m determined to finish it, cross the item off my list, AND earn an A for my efforts! But the cost of an incomplete assignment is self-criticism.

The truth is, other than professional and contractual responsibilities, most of what I aim to do is arbitrary. Sure, it’s valuable, stimulating, and worthwhile (in my opinion). But not necessarily needing to be done or turned in on time. Right?

I realize some people admire and applaud ambition, while others are annoyed by it. Depending on the day. However, I will say that my kids appreciate lists, chore charts, and structure. It gives them guidance. I wouldn’t quite compare myself to Rick Moranis in Parenthood, though. Remember that movie? If not, go back and watch it…as a parent.

Let’s Lower the Bar

Part of what drives me comes from wanting to make the most of every moment, to maximize mom time in an ideal way. It’s a tall order. And I’m a short person. Plus, we all know circumstances come up, especially with students and children, which can interrupt and interfere with an agenda.

In summary, I’ve decided to lower the bar and standards I set for myself.

I am reading The Happiness Project, and I like Gretchen Rubin’s suggestions to take ourselves lightly, remember love, “be serious about play,” practice attentiveness, pursue passion, and to keep a contented attitude (of gratitude).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking all New Year Resolutions. Making one in 2017 (“I will write a novel”) led to the completion of my first book in 2021. I’m proud of the accomplishment and publication.


So, if a resolution is supposed to bring about happiness, I know what I need to do after 2022. To create an “atmosphere of growth,” I can try to foster flexibility, allow interruptions, prioritize family, embrace downtime, cultivate calm, accept imperfections, detach from concrete plans, use self-compassion, and look for the good in each day’s count.

*These abstract objectives feel hopeful, rather than impossible, stressful, or defeating.*

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you envision yourself this year? Here’s a link to a reflection exercise. It was featured in a Women’s Magazine.

May the past propel us forward.

New Year's Resolution

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Tamara Miller Davis
Tamara Miller Davis is an author, mother of two kidz with Z names, pet owner, fire captain's wife, substitute teacher, parent club volunteer, dance enthusiast, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran from Michigan. Tamara published her debut book "Despite the Buzz" in 2021. The colorful novel is a cautionary tale about tech's influence. She is a member of other local writing groups: the Writers and Publishers Network and Ojai Poetry Series. Tamara enjoys reading, rollerblading, downhill skiing, boogie boarding, biking, tubing, kayaking, walking her dog, listening to podcasts, traveling, going to concerts, supporting causes, and finding common ground with a variety of people. She also likes making lists. Tamara appreciates this quote from Stephen King's memoir "On Writing": "You must not come lightly to the blank page."


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