Tag Archives: New Year’s

I Resolved To Bake Better Cookies – It Was a Tough Year

Yesterday I called a friend near the time his clock would tick over to 2013 to wish him Happy New Year’s. I was informed in so many words that, while happy to hear from me, he doesn’t buy into the whole New Year’s thing. This set me thinking.

Today resolutions abound. We all know that tomorrow most will be broken. In fact, one study from 2009 showed that a full 88% of resolution-makers fail. So, why keep trying? Why make such a big deal of New Year’s Eve and Day?

I too think they are overblown; you certainly won’t find me celebrating on Time’s Square. But, I do enjoy the chance to reflect backwards and to look forward. As I wrote, in my very first blog post on January 1st 2011, it seems better to assess our life’s path as we walk it rather than on one night a year. However, there is a nice symbolism to the passing of one year into the next that provides many of us the focus required to pause and reflect.

I have often resisted making a resolution. Last year I made one and succeeded gloriously! My resolution, broadcast far and wide, was to move through my cookbooks, recipe by recipe, to find, make and perfect my favorite cookie recipes. It took a lot of diligence; it was hard but now, my work has paid off: I have my perfect versions of chocolate chip, oatmeal, ginger, black and white, almond and snicker-doodle cookies. My kids loved it – they were thrilled by watching their possibly insane, semi-perfectionistic mother make batch after batch until she was happy. They, in turn, kept telling me more work needed to be done, that whatever one I had just produced wasn’t quite right, that I needed to try…just one more revision.

Was this resolution silly? Perhaps. It was a fun-loving way to make myself take more time to do something I love with and for those I care most about. Less work, more time with the kids. Who cares about the extra cookie weight? If I were a person who went in for making much of New Year’s Resolutions, that might be the one for 2013.

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And, now if I am ever asked if I ever made a NY’s resolution I kept, I can say “Yes!”

 

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New Year’s Resolutions For Kids? Seriously?

A few days ago the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) parent education site Healthy Children published a list of New Year’s resolutions for kids. They ranged from “I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong” for preschoolers to “I will resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol” for teens. My first and lasting reaction was “Seriously? New Year’s resolutions for children?” You see, to me New Year’s resolutions have always smacked of being insecure and impetuous – certainly not traits I wish to instill in my children. While the first day of the year is a powerful time to sit back and take stock of one’s self, I would rather have my kids work on an ongoing and even basis to improve their actions. It seems making resolutions once a year sets one up for failure. Why not simply assess our path as we walk it?

Better perhaps, to explain my thinking by looking at my own past history with resolutions. As a teen and 20-something the resolutions I made were the usual ones: “I will lose 10 lbs” or “I will exercise everyday”. They to me conveyed a sense of dissatisfaction with myself or an insecurity that was only fed by the inevitable “falling off the wagon”. I mean really? Who exercises every day? Eventually I came to a comfortable place of completely swearing off New Years resolutions completely – no unrealistic goals and no inevitable failure to start the year off with. Much better! I have broken my no-resolutions-resolution a few times. Twice I resolved to stretch daily…and, you guessed it! I failed after about two weeks both times. Last year, I loudly resolved in front of my family to NOT answer anyone who was yelling to me from another room or part of the house. If they wanted to talk with me they would learn by my stubborn silence to come talk with me face-to-face. It has had mixed results. They still try to yell but I feel a sense of liberation as I ignore them!

Returning to the AAP’s list of children’s resolutions, instead of teaching our children that on one night a year we make personal goals I have a different idea. As parents let’s plan to make family dinners a priority and enjoy the discussions that bloom when we eat together. At those dinners talk about goals and actions. Work into our weekly lives self assessment and improvement. Children will learn more from looking together with us at specific daily examples (playground tussles, hallways taunts, forgotten homework) and answering our questions of “how can you do this better tomorrow?”. Taking self-improvement in small steps sets them up for success and a lifetime of being comfortable admitting their faults and failures and used to taking steps to “make it right” – every day, not just at New Year’s.

A few years ago a close friend at our yearly dinner party on New Year’s Eve announced that her resolution was to start a Facebook page! “What? Why?” We all asked with giggles around the table. She explained that she wanted to stay current, to see what all the hoopla was about and enjoy the fun. I realized her wisdom. The resolution did not show insecurity but rather strength, it was fun and humorous. It was certainly easy to stick to – we all know the addictive power of Facebook (I wonder did she resolve to spend less time on FB the next year?).

Now, having thoroughly dissed New Year’s resolutions here…It looks like I am starting a long thought-about blog. Is this perhaps my 2011 resolution made in the spirit of fun and exploration that my friend resolved to join Facebook?