Let’s Schmooze!
Like Me, Pretty Please!
Subscribe to the Tribe!

Enter your e-mail address to get Mishegas of Motherhood in your Inbox:


Ring In The New Year With Life Changing Resolutions

As if the holiday season isn’t stressful enough with shopping, baking, decorating, spending, overeating, and overall frivolity, I impose yet another to-do list on myself—New Year’s resolutions.

What’s new about this year’s goals is that I based them on characteristics of highly successful people. It seems as if the way to achieve happiness, both personally and professionally, is to think out of the box, yet be realistic, bite off more than you can chew, yet watch what you eat, and, finally, check off your goals as you accomplish each one. Then again, there’s always next year.

To start with, most New Year’s resolutions include eat right and exercise, which explains why the parking lot in the gym is so jam packed in January. With more than 66 percent of adult Americans overweight or obese, it’s no surprise that losing weight is the most popular aspiration. Your best shot at sticking to a weight loss program is to set reasonable expectations and stay focused. Better still, throw out the scale.

When it comes to shedding pounds and inches, exercise is key. Pus, you’ll reduce the risk of some cancers, increase longevity, enhance mood, lower blood pressure, and even improve arthritis. But did you know that housework burns calories as well, especially vacuuming the steps and dusting ceiling fans?

Also ranking high on the list of New Year’s resolutions is to spend more quality time with family and friends. According to recent polls—don’t ask me which ones—more than 50 percent of Americans promise to show greater appreciation for their loved ones. Then again, more “me” time sounds good, too.

Here’s some other ideas on how to improve the quality of your life:

Never Stop Learning. It’s never too late to learn something new or start a hobby. Whether you take a scuba diving class, knit a scarf, make challah, speak Hebrew, read a great American novel like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, make a book out of favorite family recipes, collect coins or stamps, hike the red granite Sinai mountains in Israel, or start training for a half marathon, you’ll add a new dimension to your world when you actively use your brain and body.

It’s Not About You. Mitzvahs are trendy during the holiday season, but volunteerism is a way of life all year round. A few ways to help in the community on a regular basis with your family include stock canned goods at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish food pantry, exercise dogs at the Missouri Humane Society, participate in a community project at your temple, deliver hot dinners to the homebound through Meals-on-Wheels, plant a tree in Forest Park, or come up with your own special way to give back, something that really touches your heart.

Clean Up Your Act. Once you start organizing your stuff you can’t stop. Start with something easy—your sock drawer. Next, move on to your wardrobe closet where there’s probably clothes that you haven’t worn since your honeymoon. While you’re on a roll, clean out your medicine cabinet and straighten up your spice rack. Also, unless your kids are still using empty cardboard boxes in the basement to build forts, it’s time to recycle them (the boxes, not your children). Finally, put scattered photos in an album or scrapbook before your great grandchildren get stuck with the job after you’re dead.

Escape Your Comfort Zone. For a youngster, it might mean trying brussel sprouts for the first time, and for an adult it can be changing career paths or resolving a conflict with a loved one by making the first phone call. Taking risks leads to rewards, whether it be stretching in a Pilates class, striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know, or sending a manuscript to a publisher. Show your kids that success in life doesn’t come without failures, albeit a double negative sentence, it’s a philosophy we never outgrow.
Listen more, talk less. The old adage about one mouth and two ears is generally true, don’t ask me where I heard this or what it means. Basically, I think it means for parents to listen better to what their kids are saying; they may want a sounding board, not advice or problem solving. By doing so, we may empower them to solve their own problems. In the words of Stephen Covey, an influential management guru, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Not sure what that means either, but it sounds good.
Lighten Up. Finally, don’t take life so seriously, and don’t sweat the small stuff. When striving for success, don’t get bogged down with the details because it’s all in the journey, not the destination. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Laughter actually relieves stress, loosens muscles, lowers blood pressure, and may lower levels of hormones that create stress and weaken immunity. When you laugh, your body moves blood to your heart and lungs, boosting your energy level and making you feel better instantly.
And that beats exercise.

“Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Have a happy, healthy New Year! Visit her website at www.mishegasofmotherhood.com.