As if the holiday season wasn’t fraught enough with kids exploiting Santa’s limitless budget, toys coming in impossible to wrap packages, and family expecting a three-course meal followed by a cookie buffet, the New Year rolls around just in time to remind you of all the ways you could improve as a human being, a woman, and a mom. Some years starting over with a blank calendar feels refreshing—like when you take a chance on a face mask that actually seems to work—but other years facing a fresh batch of 365 days can be intimidating, especially if you’ve just had one of those warp speed years that seems to have flown by before you had the chance to enjoy it.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to come up with lofty resolutions that seem like the foolproof way to have a happy, healthy and successful year, but when making these resolutions, we have a tendency to overlook the minor victories in favor of focusing on all the battles we lost. Before writing out a laundry list of resolutions this year, try to keep these nine things in mind:
1. No one’s going to report you to the authorities if dieting and weight loss aren’t among your resolutions. It’s going to be hard to escape everyone on Facebook bragging about the new gym membership they started or the new Tree Frog Perspiration Cleanse they’re doing, but don’t let any of that convince you that there’s anything wrong with your body. Maybe your weight is just fine exactly where it is.
2. If your goal in the new year is to save more money, expect that every major appliance in your home will break and your roof will suddenly need replacing. Life always sabotages your savings, so try starting smaller, like saving enough to replace your phone the next time your toddler drops it in the toilet.
3. Before you break up with bread, be sure that you’re ready. Is it really over, or is there a solid chance you’re going to be willing to forgive rye by mid-February? Nothing’s more humiliating than explaining a gluten rebound to your friends and family.
4. Making plans to do more traveling is a nice idea, but don’t forget about all the unexpected adventures you had during the past year. Think of that time the GPS took you way offtrack on the highway going in the opposite direction of your destination while you sang, “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” or that time you went to the Target in a city 30 minutes away because your location didn’t have the school supply your darling child needed last minute. You’re well-traveled already!
5. Mainstream organization is overrated. Some people use files to order all their junk, and some people use piles. There’s nothing wrong with being a pile person. You (mostly) know where your stuff is, and that’s truly all that matters.
6. Learning a new language is a popular New Year’s resolution, but you’re always learning new words. Remember when you finally Googled what “bae” and “FOMO” meant? Besides, using emojis is kind of a second language.
7. Exercise isn’t all treadmills and crunches. Joining a gym is great if that’s what you want to do, but don’t underestimate all the exercise you’re doing already, like walking back and forth from your desk to the coffee machine, carrying the heavy laundry to and fro, and reaching deep under the couch to retrieve a lost toy car. You could probably make your own workout DVD.
8. Spending time with family doesn’t always look like a Hasbro commercial for family game night. Some days, togetherness means that you’re on Facebook, your partner is watching TV, your son is playing PS4, and your daughter is scrolling through Instagram all while sitting in the same room. That doesn’t mean your family isn’t connected and that you’re an awful parent. They can’t all be Monopoly nights, and that’s OK.
9. Just forget about “drink less” as a resolution. Wine isn’t what’s holding you back from being your best you, and it’s wrong to take out your frustrations on a bottle of innocent grapes.
Give yourself a pat on the back for surviving another year and don’t be intimidated by a blank slate. You’re doing the best you can, and even if you aren’t, chances are you’re fooling the people who matter.