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78% of people fail to stick to their New Year's resolutions—try this instead

A whole new approach to making positive changes in your life, mama.

78% of people fail to stick to their New Year's resolutions—try this instead

I wrote detailed New Year's resolutions for years, spending the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve detailing every possible change I would make. I had specific categories with my resolutions related to each listed underneath. The point was to keep my mind focused all year long on what I hoped to accomplish, whether it was learning a new language or exercising a certain amount of time a week.

The problem was I couldn't keep my resolutions. I put a ton of effort into placing words on paper only to not accomplish them year after year.

According to researchers, the reasons we fail to keep New Year's resolutions are many. We set unrealistic goals. We set goals that we're not actually ready to keep, hoping that the magic of making them will overcome our lack of effort. We also make too many resolutions. Change is hard, and even focusing on one major life change a year is difficult. Expecting to change in many different areas in one year is unrealistic for most of us.

There's also the disadvantage of jumping off from a negative point. We make resolutions because of what we're not. We're not in shape, so we resolve to work out. We're not financially responsible, so we resolve to budget. Every resolution we make is a reminder of where we've already failed.

Even when resolutions don't fail, which is rare because 78% of people were found to bail on their resolutions in one study, resolutions require a focus that may not be healthy. A person who wants to lose weight may go to dangerous extremes to do it because they've lost the ability to view the entire picture. Keeping this one resolution is all they see, and they can't comprehend that what they are doing to reach the goal is not worth it.

Resolutions narrow our focus instead of broadening it to encompass an overall fulfilling life.

A new approach

Frustrated with the time I was wasting on resolutions, I decided to change my approach a couple of years ago. Instead of a never-ending list of well-intentioned resolutions, I chose to pick a focus word. Last year I chose “gratitude," and this year I chose “simple." There were no long lists or constant failures piling up. One word encompassed my plans for the year in every area of my life.

The well-roundedness of the one-word approach was the greatest appeal for me. Focus words don't leave me neglecting quality time with my family while I run on a treadmill for hours trying to lose weight. They don't require me to neglect certain portions of my life to excel in others. A focus word offers balance.

Focus words are also easy to remember. This year, every day when faced with a decision, I grasped the word simple. This practice had profound effects. We chose simple food, simple budget approaches, simple pleasures. I discovered minimalism and hygge, giving me other ways to embrace simplicity. What would not have been simple was writing down a list of resolutions of how to achieve simplicity and then forgetting them, complicating my life even further.

Focus words make room for progress, not just performance. When we don't write that novel by a certain date or lose those pounds by a certain time, we feel lost. However, when we embrace a focus word, the entire year is about progress. It's not a one-time commitment but a focus on everyday life changes that stick.

I know I have to get up every morning and think about my focus word to set the agenda for the day, and there is no end to it. Unlike resolutions, focus words fold into life, seamlessly offering us development instead of just results, or in most cases, no results.

Finding inspiration

How do we figure out one word to help navigate an entire year? It's a big responsibility and the task can feel daunting. Luckily, there are tools to help.

My One Word offers three easy steps to choose a word for the upcoming year. The approach is positive, with the first step asking us to think of the kind of person we want to be. We need to search beyond the base ideas of what we want to do, such as make more money or finish a degree, and think of who we actually want to be.

We then choose words to describe this kind of person. What characteristics do they have? Disciplined? Kind? Joyful? From that list of characteristics, pick the word that encompasses that person and make it your focus word.

I loved my word for this year. It's not an exaggeration to say that focusing on simple has changed my life. Now that I understand how to achieve simplicity, I am ready to become the kind of person who stays dedicated to the causes I've found to fit into my simple existence. I want to be a follow-through person, committed to what I choose and not too overextended to show up for my life.

My word not only helped me fulfill many goals, but it also led me to my focus word for next year. Instead of making the same resolutions all over again because I didn't keep them this year, I'm moving on and spending next year focused on perseverance. It feels like a natural progression, and progress is what we're supposed to achieve in life. The do-or-die perfection demanded from resolutions isn't realistic, but the natural progress a focus words offers is possible for anyone.

Becoming Mama™: A Pregnancy and Birth Podcast by Motherly

The essential pregnancy + birth companion podcast to the groundbreaking book, The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama.

Becoming Mama ™: A Pregnancy and Birth Podcast by Motherly is the essential pregnancy + birth companion podcast to the groundbreaking book, The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey, the evidence-based, women center book you have been waiting for.

Host Diana Spalding is Motherly's Digital Education Editor, a certified nurse-midwife, pediatric nurse and mother of three, and she wrote The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama. Each week of your pregnancy (and beyond), Diana shares insight, support and non-judgmental guidance about the things that matter most to you.

Please remember that Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This podcast does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Learn about all episodes of Becoming Mama ™: A Pregnancy and Birth Podcast by Motherly

Introduction

Becoming Mama™: A Pregnancy and Birth Podcast by Motherly is the essential pregnancy + birth companion podcast to the groundbreaking book, The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey. Meet your host Diana Spalding, Motherly's Digital Education Editor and certified nurse-midwife and learn more about what to expect in each episode.

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Episode Overview Quicklinks:

# 1: Pregnancy and self-care

In the very first episode of the Becoming Mama Podcast, you'll meet your host Diana Spalding and learn more about what to anticipate in each episode.

Diana talks about the importance of self-care through pregnancy. We live in a society that makes us feel like self-care is selfish, but really it is the least selfish thing you can do, especially when you are on the brink of motherhood.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: If I wrote your 'before you were born' letter now, here's what I'd say

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# 2: Getting pregnant

In this episode, Diana talks about getting pregnant, and one of the most important concepts to know when you're trying to get pregnant: Timing is everything. Plus, you'll learn about an important sign that you are ovulating.

Sign up for our newsletter and get Motherly's fertility worksheet.

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# 3: Miscarriage

This episode is dedicated to women who are experiencing a miscarriage if listening feels right. Miscarriage is perhaps the most intensely personal experience a person can go through. There is no right way to feel, except the way that comes up for you naturally—just know that you are deeply and lovingly held and supported.

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# 4: Week 4: Foods to avoid

If you've just found out you are pregnant, in addition to hundreds of feelings (!), you may be wondering about what you can and cannot eat. In this episode, we'll give an overview of the foods that experts usually recommend avoiding during pregnancy.

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# 5: Week 5: Choosing where to get prenatal care

It may seem impossibly early in your pregnancy to start thinking about birth! But where you give birth influences where you get your prenatal care, and you'll be having your first prenatal appointment soon. In this episode, Diana will give an overview of your options.

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# 6: Week 6: Baby development

This podcast is about you, but you are probably curious about what your bay is up to in there. This week, check in and see what is happening with your baby's development at 6 weeks pregnant.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: How pregnancy taught me to love my body

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# 7: Week 7: Pregnancy village

Pregnancy is an amazing but vulnerable time. So it's essential to surround yourself with people that lift you up. In the episode, Diana shares some ideas when considering who to have in your pregnancy village.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: Motherhood helped me learn who my real friends are

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# 8: Week 8: Pelvic exams

It's week 8, which means you may be having your first prenatal visit pretty soon. In this episode, Diana discusses what to anticipate at that first visit, and shares some tips on making pelvic exams more tolerable.

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# 9: Week 9: Pregnancy nausea

If you are following week by week and are nine weeks pregnant, nausea may really be starting to take hold, as it does for most pregnant women. Diana shares some ideas to make it better and offers emotional support for this very difficult symptom.

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# 10: Week 10: Baby development and nutrition

It's time for a little "what is your baby up to" update! The 10-week mark of pregnancy is an exciting milestone because it is the last week of the embryo stage. We'll also talk about your concerns related to nutrition when you have pregnancy nausea.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: The most surprising thing about my pregnancy was how powerful I felt

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# 11: Week 11: Sex and intimacy

Sex and intimacy during pregnancy can feel mysterious—but it doesn't have to! In this episode, Diana talks about how to stay safe, how to (gasp) enjoy it, and shares a note on feeling comfortable about your body with your provider.

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# 12: Week 12: Registry

This is the time when many parents start to think about their registries and the items they'd like to acquire for their babies! In this episode Diana shares some tips for creating the perfect registry.

Check out Motherly's Essential Baby Registry!

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# 13: Week 13: Pause and reflect

Let's pause and reflect on everything in your life that's led you to this very important moment in time. And, Diana encourages you to try to "release the not enoughs, the can'ts, and the doubts," so that you can step into your true self and power.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: Our kids are watching—let's teach them how to love who they are

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# 14: Week 14: Pregnancy and work

Making the decision about what work looks like for you after the baby comes is super personal. In his episode, Diana addresses a common concern for women: telling your employer or co-workers that you are pregnant.

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# 15: Week 15: Baby development and baby kicks

Let's check in on your baby's development at week 15. Diana also shares a way to bond with your baby this month, and some info on when you'll get to feel those first baby movements.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: This is the last time I'll ever be pregnant

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# 16: Week 16: Exercise and cravings

In this episode, Diana reviews the benefits of exercise during pregnancy and shares some insight into pregnancy cravings—why we have them, and some ideas for healthy foods.

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# 17: Week 17: Parenting

It may seem far away, but remember that at the end of all of this, you will have a baby! In this episode, Diana talks about beginning to think about how you'll want to be a parent to your child—and the most important piece to remember.

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# 18: Week 18: Defining your values

Values are essentially your guiding principles—the concepts that are the most important to you as you go through your days and years. Defining those values during pregnancy can be incredibly helpful so that you can stay true to yourself as you transition into motherhood.

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# 19: Week 19: Baby development and sleep

Let's check in and see what's going on with your baby! And, Diana shares tips on getting enough sleep as your pregnancy progresses, your belly gets bigger, and sleep is harder to come by.

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# 20: Week 20: Ultrasounds, and when they find a problem

Many women have their big anatomy scan, a long ultrasound that looks at all the parts of the baby around this week. Sometimes, ultrasounds reveal a concern. This episode is focused on supporting you should that become a part of your story.

Here is The Motherly Podcast episode with Kristen Bell that Diana mentioned.

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# 21: Week 21: Doulas

Doulas can be an incredibly powerful member of your team. In this episode, Diana talks about what doulas are, how they can help, how to choose one, and how doulas can be instrumental in improving disparities in maternal health.

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# 22: Week 22: When pregnancy is hard

Pregnancy is amazing—but sometimes it can be very hard. In this episode, Diana offers support and love to women experiencing difficult pregnancies (for any reason).

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: Dear mama: You're not doing it wrong, it's just *that* hard

Listen now:

# 23: Week 23: Birth overview

It's time to start talking about birth! Diana gives an overview of what happens during the first, second, third and fourth stages of labor, and what you might experience during each of them.

In response to COVID-19, Motherly's Becoming Mama ™ Online birth class is free.

Listen now:

# 24: Week 24: Baby development and hobbies

In this episode, we'll check in with your baby's development, and talk about the importance of having fun—both during pregnancy and in motherhood.

Listen now:

# 25: Week 25: Preterm labor

In today's episode, we are going to talk about preterm labor—the signs and symptoms, and what to do if you are worried that you might be going into labor early. Plus, Diana shares some support for warrior NICU mamas.

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# 26: Week 26: Relationships

Let's talk about relationships. You are approaching the end of the second trimester, which means that things are getting very real. If you have a partner, let's think about what your relationship is all going to be like when the baby is here.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: Dear husband, I miss you

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# 27: Week 27: The placenta

The placenta is a wildly cool organ, with very important functions during pregnancy—and some very interesting potential uses after.

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# 28: Week 28: Fetal movement

It's important to pay attention to your baby's movement—in this episode Diana shares one way to keep track. Plus, she invites you to marvel at this important pregnancy milestone—the third trimester.

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# 29: Week 29: Baby development and umbilical cords

Let's do our first check in to see what your baby is up to in the third trimester. Plus, Diana shares some comforting insight into the common concern of umbilical cords being wrapped around the baby's neck, as well as information on the practice of delayed cord clamping.

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# 30: Week 30: Nourishment and movement

Anemia can be more common during the third trimester, so let's talk about the symptoms, and some ways to increase your iron intake. We'll also talk through diaphragmatic breathing—how to do it, and why you might want to.

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# 31: Week 31: Breech and transverse babies

In this episode, Diana discusses breech and transverse baby positions, ways to encourage them to move to a head-down position, and what to anticipate if they don't.

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# 32: Week 32: Fear

Today, we are going to talk about fear, specifically the fear of birth. Diana discusses when to seek help for fearful thoughts, and share some ideas for making your fear feel less powerful.

Listen now:

# 33: Week 33: Baby development and birth plans

Your pregnancy is 33 weeks along, so let's check in with their development. And, Diana talks about why you might want to consider developing a birth plan for your upcoming birth.

Sign up for our newsletter and get Motherly's birth plan worksheet.

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# 34: Week 34: Pain and the epidural decision

Today we are going to talk about pain and the epidural decision—in a completely non-judgmental way, of course.

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# 35: Week 35: Immediate postpartum and postpartum bleeding

We've spent time in recent episodes talking about birth, and today we are going to talk about what happens just after birth. Plus, Diana talks about what to anticipate when it comes to postpartum bleeding.

Listen now:

# 36: Week 36: Prepping for postpartum

Start thinking about ways you can create a postpartum haven for yourself—a place where you can just rest and heal and take care of your baby in a way that feels like you are being cocooned in love and nurturing goodness.

Check out Motherly's Fourth Trimester Challenge with LiveItUp!, hosted by Motherly co-founder, Jill Koziol.

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# 37: Week 37: Baby development and big babies

In this episode, Diana checks in with your baby's development one more time, and shares some comforting words regarding the common concern around giving birth to a big baby.

Listen now:

# 38: Week 38: Cesarean births

Diana discusses what happens during a Cesarean section, and reminds us that Cesarean births are very much births.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: My birth story: A scheduled repeat C-section

Listen now:

This episode is sponsored by Target. Shop Target Baby Month Deals now and get 10% off one Nursery Furniture item from 9/13/20-9/19/20 by entering "BABYMONTH" in your checkout cart. *exclusions apply, must be capitalized when entered.

# 39: Week 39: You can do this

You. Are. So. Close. Let Diana offer you some inspiration and comfort as you get ready to give birth. You've got this.

Here is the Letter to my Baby Meditation that Diana mentions in the episode.

Listen now:

This episode is sponsored by Target. Shop Target Baby Month Deals now and get 10% off one Nursery Furniture item from 9/13/20-9/19/20 by entering "BABYMONTH" in your checkout cart. *exclusions apply, must be capitalized when entered.

# 40: Week 40: Going past your due date

Most first time mamas go past their due date—but that doesn't make it easy. In this episode, Diana offers some encouragement, and a way to stay positive during this potentially tough period of time.

Here is the article Diana mentioned in the episode: To the mama about to give birth—there's magic in the waiting

Listen now:

This episode is sponsored by Target. Shop Target Baby Month Deals now and get 10% off one Nursery Furniture item from 9/13/20-9/19/20 by entering "BABYMONTH" in your checkout cart. *exclusions apply, must be capitalized when entered.

# 41: Week 41: Baby blues and postpartum mood disorders

Today, Diana talks about your emotional wellbeing after giving birth, specifically the baby blues and postpartum depression and anxiety and other mood disorders.

Check out Motherly's guide to postpartum mood disorders.

Listen now:

This episode is sponsored by Target. Shop Target Baby Month Deals now and get 10% off one Nursery Furniture item from 9/13/20-9/19/20 by entering "BABYMONTH" in your checkout cart. *exclusions apply, must be capitalized when entered.

# 42: Week 42: Postpartum physical recovery

Let's spend some time talking about your physical recovery from birth, specifically your vagina and pelvis.

Listen now:

This episode is sponsored by Target. Shop Target Baby Month Deals now and get 10% off one Nursery Furniture item from 9/13/20-9/19/20 by entering "BABYMONTH" in your checkout cart. *exclusions apply, must be capitalized when entered.

# 43: Week 43: Bonding with your baby

In today's episode, Diana talks about the sweet new addition to your life, and some ways that you can bond with them.

Listen now:

This episode is sponsored by Target. Shop Target Baby Month Deals now and get 10% off one Nursery Furniture item from 9/13/20-9/19/20 by entering "BABYMONTH" in your checkout cart. *exclusions apply, must be capitalized when entered.

# 44: Week 44: Feeding your baby

Today we are going to talk about feeding your baby, and what is perhaps the most common worry is among new parents—how do I know that my baby is getting enough to eat?

Listen now:

This episode is sponsored by Target. Shop Target Baby Month Deals now and get 10% off one Nursery Furniture item from 9/13/20-9/19/20 by entering "BABYMONTH" in your checkout cart. *exclusions apply, must be capitalized when entered.

# 45: Week 45: Becoming a mama

In this final weekly episode, Diana spends a few moments talking about evolution, specifically the way that your life and your motherhood journey are going to continue to evolve.

Listen now:

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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