Yell Less, Hug More, and Other ‘Good Mother’ Tips

Forget those big, overwrought resolutions. Little efforts every day can yield huge change.

Although the idea of New Year’s resolutions intimidates many — and the reality of keeping the resolutions is fleeting at best, no matter what they are — each January does offer a clean slate.

Instead of declaring a major life change or a wildly unreasonable goal, let’s set our sights on straightforward, doable ways to be better mothers, wives, friends and citizens — ways that are within our grasp.

We’ll call them New Year’s Intentions.

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1: Happiness is often a choice. Choose it.

2: Let go and laugh.

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3: As a really smart grandmother once said, “Read something interesting every day.”

4: Listen more closely.

5: Yell less. Hug more.

6: Take longer walks with the dog (who could also use the cardio) and stop and chat with the neighbors. You never know what you’ll might learn, share or inspire.

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7: Let go of relationships that no longer bring happiness. Negativity takes up too much space. Move on.

8: Reach out to new friends who are likely to provide meaningful relationships.

9: Drink the good stuff, but less frequently. Maybe MUCH less frequently.

10: Take care of that crucial first line of defense: the body. Every day.

11: Travel as much as possible, even if it’s just to a new neighborhood or across a state line. Expose the kids to new experiences, places, and cultures.

12: Put the phone down and play with the kids. Tomorrow, they will be adults.

13: Keep trying healthy new recipes, at least once a week.

14: Book a sitter and have a date night with your spouse at least once a month. If nothing else, go for a long walk.

15: Maintain at least one clean room in the house so that neighbors, friends, or anyone who drops by feels welcomed.

16: Breathe deeply when stressed. Especially when stressed.

17: Curb your cursing. We can express ourselves so much better.

18: Invite more kids over for playdates to foster a real kid community.

19: Create a chore schedule for the children and make them stick to it, no matter what. Remember you are teaching habits for a lifetime, not just for an hour, a day, or a week.

20: Always have music playing at home, and dance when the mood strikes.

21: Make more of an effort to visit with your extended family. We all need and benefit from those relationships.

22: Say “yes” more, but say “no” when it matters — and be firm about it.

23: Go to church more often. Our children need the foundation, and we all need the community and the reminder that life is much bigger than our little households.

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