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Especially during the holiday season, it can be really hard to stick to a diet. Snacks are everywhere, and all of them have enough sugar to drown a medium-sized dog!

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And you all know this is the face you make when you’re indulging in one of those treats! 😛

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I love the holidays and I totally wish Christmas lights were acceptable decor all year round, but after the stress of present shopping/wrapping, elf hiding, decorating, big gatherings, cooking, baking, and tons of other things I’m forgetting, I’m ready for some normalcy even if it means I lose the Christmas lights too.

Coming out of all that stress, I think it’s easy to start the new year with no energy and no motivation, completely losing sight of what you hope to accomplish for the year. I have to admit I spent the first few days of the new year waking up with my husband at 4:30 and then going back to sleep until the kids woke me up around 9. This basically killed my productivity for the entire day because once they’re up it’s not likely that I’ll write, workout, clean up, or shower. I don’t regret it because I’ve been really sleep deprived lately (my toddlers have decided they won’t go to sleep before midnight under any circumstances the last week or two) and I think my body needed it, but I’m ready to be a productive member of society again. 😛

Even though statistically most new year’s resolutions fail, I still think it’s a good practice to set goals to motivate me through the new year. I do want to make sure they’re meaningful and successful though, so I think it’s really important for resolutions or goals to be specific, realistic, and to have a well thought out and doable plan behind them. For me this year, I have a couple of specific goals I’ll share with you:

  • Stick with a 100% gluten-free diet. This one is really important to me, because eating gluten makes me feel really sick, messes up my stomach, makes my junk food cravings CRAZY, makes me super tired, and seriously kills my motivation to do just about everything. I know most diet gurus preach moderation in all dietary rules, but I think that if eating an Oreo or a bite of stuffing is going to make me ill I should find it in me to always resist it.
  • Stay active every day, especially with the kids. This is important to me on more than one level, because I want to be a good influence on my children. I want my kids to see me getting outside and enjoying myself, and getting in shape without being miserable about exercise. I want my boys to prefer riding bikes to cartoons and my daughter to be willing to walk to the store with me instead of driving a quarter-mile. When they’re bored, will they turn on the TV or ask to go to the park? They’re all young enough that I can influence them to naturally tend towards being active. And of course I’d like to finish getting back to a size and fitness level I’m comfortable with, and not sitting on my hiney watching The Flash will help get me there.
  • Start my days early, working out, writing, and if possible cleaning a little before the kids are up. Even though this is its own goal, it’s the practice that will all of my other goals possible. If I sleep in until 8 or 9 every morning I’ll never have time to accomplish what I need to finish to make my days successful. It also feels awesome to have so much done so early, and I find it super motivating throughout the day. When I sleep in, it’s really easy for me to find excuses to take a nap or sit down and watch TV for way too long.
  • Find 2-4 hours per day to write (including freelance projects, blogging, fictional projects, and transcription). I want to be able to stay at home with my kids, but the reality is that living on one income with 3 kids is really hard. By actually scheduling in time for money-making projects I can help pay off some debt and make life a little bit easier for our family.
  • Work every day to get a little more organized and a little less cluttered. I tend to go in cycles — things will get super cluttered, and then my inner minimalist and neat freak will lose its mind and I’ll clean, organize, and purge like crazy. Then birthdays, Christmas, random gifts, random purchases, and life all happen and we’re back where we started. And clutter will accumulate, and I’ll ignore it until I snap. Totally healthy, right? I’ve started following the Fly Lady (seriously, check her out) and I love the idea of the 2 minute timer. Every day you pick a disaster area, set a timer for two minutes, and do what you can for that time. It takes the pressure off to completely finish, and it (hopefully!) prevents the need for a 7 day decluttering and purging session every few months. I want to be more mindful of my surroundings and make the environment we live in more peaceful for the whole family, and I’m hoping this is a good plan to help that.
  • Take regular time for myself. I can’t necessarily do this every day, but I’m not doing it at all so anything is an improvement. I haven’t read a book for pleasure in months (or maybe a year, I seriously can’t remember), I don’t craft anymore, I don’t sing unless it’s at bedtime for the kids, I almost never read adult scriptures because I read the children’s version to the kids, and the last 5 or 6 movies I saw in a theater were animated. I don’t expect to have a ton of time to myself with 3 kids, especially when two are toddlers, but it will make me a better mom to at least find a little.

When I look at these goals they seem like a lot, but I really think I’ve kept it pretty manageable and realistic. On a day-to-day basis this doesn’t add a ton to my schedule, it just requires me to organize my time, not procrastinate, and stop checking social media or playing Angry Birds when I should be doing something else. I’m actually debating deleting all of the games off my phone, because I think I’d be horrified if I knew how much time I waste every day on them…

It’s also time to get a little more structured with homeschooling Micah, so I feel like organization and structure will be very important in the coming year. I don’t believe 3-year-old boys should sit at a table for an hour practicing letters and numbers because it’s just not in their nature to be still for so long, so having a structure to our day will help me make sure I find other ways to get that learning in. So far play doh has been great for this, but I want to be organized enough to branch out and find new and fun ways for him to learn.

One of the main reasons I chose these specific goals is because I’m uniquely motivated to accomplish each one. I could have said I want to lose another 50 or 60 pounds, but the promise of being a size 4 again isn’t always enough to keep me on track. Being a better mom and wife, being a good example for my children, and making life for our family a little easier and more pleasant on a day-to-day basis are all very motivating for me, far more so than having a smaller butt. I’m trying to stack the deck in my favor as much as possible, and when it’s 4 am and I want to snooze my alarm I’m hoping that the idea of my freelance projects funding an anniversary trip for me and the hubby, or having the time and energy to skate or bike with the kids, or being able to invite friends over without panic-cleaning for 2 hours will be the extra motivation I need to get out of bed and get moving.

Did you make goals or resolutions this year? If so, how do you plan to make sure you keep them?