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One Thing Parents Should Resolve in the New Year In Order to Bring More Joy

The time has come once again to make those much anticipated/dreaded/needed/worthless New Year’s Resolutions.

Every year, many of us make the same resolutions.

This year, I will exercise more. This year, I will eat healthier. This year, I will read more and watch less TV. This year, I will focus less on work and more on my family. This year, I will put more of my paycheck into the savings account and spend less eating out and shopping online.

We all begin with the best of intentions. We join that gym. We stock the fridge with fruits and veggies. We leave work right at 5 p.m. We plan out our monthly budget.

January comes and we start out strong, but then February comes, and our resolve starts to fade – if our resolve isn’t already gone by then!

A commonly quoted statistic says that only around eight percent of people keep their New Year’s Resolutions. That means that the other 92 percent of us will fail at changing our ways and fall right back into our old routines and habits.

So what about this year? What resolution can we, as parents, make that will actually stick?

I don’t know if mine will stick, and it’s certainly much less simple than it sounds, but my resolution for 2018 is to find more joy in my life right now and to stop comparing myself, my kids, my marriage, my relationships, my job, and my life, to others.

Especially to stop comparing my life to the perceived lives of others on social media.

Social media can be a beautiful thing that allows us to keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues that we never would hear from otherwise. However, it also opens a window into the lives of others that can never give us a complete picture of what their lives are really like behind closed doors-and that’s okay. We don’t need to know everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets to be happy for them and enjoy what they share.

I love knowing that people are taking fabulous vacations, getting married, having babies, raising amazing kids, buying their dream home, getting that promotion, moving to a new city, etc. I want the best for people in my life, but nothing and no one is perfect. The accomplishments and milestones of others in no way diminish or improve the accomplishments and milestones of my own life.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

In order to find true joy in our own lives, we have to stop comparing them to the lives of others.

If I can manage to find joy in my life as it is right now, then, all of those other things (my diet, my finances, my relationships, my job) will somehow not seem in need of such a drastic resolution or overhaul. I won’t have to worry about falling back into old habits and routines because those things won’t seem quite so bad.

That’s not to say that I shouldn’t still improve in all of the above areas, but those resolutions in and of themselves can never bring me real, lasting happiness if I don’t first let go of comparing my life to others and focus on the good that is already there.

Wishing you a new year filled with joy and free of comparison! You and your life are pretty amazing just as they are right now. Make it your resolution to recognize that.

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