How Did You Get To 2013?

It’s that time of year again.  It seems quite natural to survey one’s life at the beginning of the New Year to consider what needs changing.  Many of us look at the way things are and see only those places we would like to change or improve, hence, New Year’s resolutions.  I would like to turn that idea on its head today.  If you look back on the past year, what can you say has gotten better?  How is life better in your family than it was one year ago?  How did it change?

Now I realize that some people will have to say that things are really worse—like people who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy, or people who have been afflicted by terrible diseases.  Yet just before Christmas I met a woman whose home had been flooded by the hurricane who said with honesty that the outpouring of support she felt from friends and strangers had enriched her life.  Pretty neat.  I think that ability to find something for which you can be honesty grateful, even in the midst of disaster, allows people to go on.

What were your challenges?

First, consider what hurdles your family had to confront in the past year and consider how things have turned out.  Chances are you can see that there are some challenges that you met and got past.  Can you call that a success or are you considering the fact that you had to face a hurdle a failure.  Every family faces challenges.  A child comes to a new stage of development and his needs change and often we as parents are unprepared for the transition.  This can happen with the first homework, with the first request for a cell phone or with the introduction of a new electronic device.

Congratulate Yourself!

All of these bring unforeseen challenges in my experience.  Did you get through it?  Did you find a new way to manage new responsibilities for your children?  Then congratulate yourself!

What Worked?

Now, think about how you got past those hurdles because that will help you plan for the year ahead.  Did the disorder get to a point that you were really angry and unhappy?  OK, that probably means that you should be more proactive in the future.

Did you eventually come to some agreement with your partner about how to handle an issue, say bedtime, screen time, whatever?  OK, put that one down.  It always helps to present a united front.

Did you involve your child’s concerns in the solution?  With older children you probably had to.  If it worked, put it down.

Did you consult with an outside helper like a parent coach or child psychologist?  And was that helpful?  Great.  Remember that.

Resolutions, Maybe

Now you might move on to resolutions if you wish, but you have actually already set out an action plan because you have found what worked in the past.  More about planning for the year ahead next time.


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Photo credit:  Jeff Moser/ on Flickr


4 Responses to “How Did You Get To 2013?”
  1. Carolyn,

    I’m a huge fan of this post–we all need reminders that we already have the basic tools we need to navigate challenges, because we’ve navigated challenges in the past. Thanks for your positive perspective and reminders.


  2. Rachelle Norman says:

    This is great! I love the idea of looking back to identify successes and reframing challenges as successes when we got through them.

  3. JoAnn Jordan says:

    Looking back can be powerful in viewing success and in learning what did/didn’t work for you.

  4. Huge fan of this post as well! As you know, my 2012 was fraught with challenges. My mom developed her ALZ to the point she had to be instituionalized. I had a relaspe of my vertigo, horrible condition it is. My family really pulled together for my mom’s health crisis, my siblings dividing up the tasks (although I do most of it). I was angry ALOT. I I finally expressed the anger, not in an elegant way, but in a rant. I had tried to express it diplomatically, to ask for help, etc, It just wasn’t working at all. I had a rant and then everyone started to listen more and do more. Sometimes that’s what it takes. An expression of strong feeling. I was afraid to express my anger as I took a long time to learn how to control it, but it is sometimes ok to just let it rip (without fighting dirty though). I also found I was very proud of my 18 yo son who really stepped upt to help us with this situation. He’s quite a wonderful caring young man.