December 31, 2019

The Self

December 31, 2019

New Year’s resolutions don’t work. At least that’s what the research says. Eat healthier? Read more books? Start exercising more regularly? These are all things that no doubt would add value to your life and lead to more fulfillment, so why do they fail? I bet Google will tell us: 

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I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018. It’s one of my favorite days of the year because there is often very little going on, I am still off of work (thanks teaching profession), and I have time to reflect on the past year.

Overall, I feel like I’ve had a great year – our twins were born in March, we spent lots of time as a family this summer, and we learned how to adjust to balancing life with three kids and two working parents. But, there are some things that I may have done differently with the perspective I have now. I wouldn’t call these regrets, but I want to use them to inform my decisions in the coming year.

Rather than make some resolutions that will likely fail (based on my historical track record), I’m going to try something a little different this year.

On December 31, 2019, I want to look back on the previous year and be proud of the growth I made as a dad, as a husband, and in my professional life. I am going to look into the future and write as if I were actually writing on that day. These won’t be specific and measurable goals, but rather general feelings and statements about how the year has gone. I will no doubt need to set goals that will help me get there, but that’s not what this process is about.

We grew together as a family because of the quality time we spent together, no matter where that quality time occurred.

In 2018, one of the things that always bothered me was that we didn’t “go places” as often as I would have liked. It took me a long time to come to the realization that time spent at home can be just as valuable; the location does not matter.

There are certain factors that make it quality time that I want to focus on: Do something fun. Don’t be distracted by phones or other obligations. Spend money in a way that enhances our time together.

Kayla and I grew in our love for each other because we were intentional about creating time for just the two of us, including a vacation together.

We love our kids, but they’re exhausting! Sometimes we need to get away and spend time just the two of us. In 2018, we were extremely fortunate to have family willing and able to watch the kids so we could get away for an occasional date, but we’ll both admit that we didn’t take full advantage of those nights. We spent too much time figuring out where to go and what to do and not enough time enjoying each other’s company.

I hope that 2019 can be the year that we took our first vacation as a couple since Hudson was born. This will require planning both financially and with child care, but we want to make it happen.

I feel great about my overall health because I recommitted to running consistently.

2018 was the year of complaining about not working out. Kayla and I both expressed our desire to be more active on a daily basis. Now some of this came down to how chaotic life was as we figured out how to take care of our three kids, but we also often lacked the means to do so. Before the girls were born, Kayla cherished her yoga membership and used it religiously. I made time to run outside, but that changed after Georgia and Wynnie stormed onto the scene.

This month we finally decided to finally pull the trigger on buying a treadmill in order to make working out more practical and I pray that we get a lot of use out of it in 2019.

I became a better teacher for my students by being more disciplined in my planning and focusing on the most important factors for growth and achievement.

I felt pulled in many directions in 2018 without being able to commit fully to the most important things. My teaching was one of those things and there were many days that I did what was required of me, but did not strive for my best.

After having some time to figure out our new life with a family of five, I feel that I can be more effective in my work and serve the students I have been called to serve.

While this “New Year’s resolution” lacks concrete goals, I like the fact that I can always refocus and realign toward my end-of-year vision. Rather that losing steam in February or March (or, let’s be honest, January) and feeling like a failure, I understand that there will be peaks and valleys throughout the year and will be free to work through them.

As the new year approaches, what are you focusing on? Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!

About the author
I am a professional dad of three. Let me clarify - I'm not a professional dad. I am a professional. And I'm a dad. I have a career that I love as a high school social studies teacher. And I am a dad of three to a two-year-old son and twin baby girls.

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