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You guys it’s 2021!! How about that 2020 though, am I right?! I mean jeez guys, 2020 taught us a lot. It taught us the importance of slowing down and being with those that you love. It taught us the importance of giving to those in need, supporting small businesses, and emergency preparedness. It taught us that life can change in an instant.
However 2020 has changed you, I hope that it has brought you closer to your loved ones and a little closer to realizing what truly matters in life. Because of 2020, my New Year's resolutions are a little different for 2021. This year, I am taking what I have learned from 2020 and creating a theme to focus on each month of the new year.
For some reason when I create New Year's resolutions they are often too lofty and don’t always pan out. This year, I am going to take it month by month. Here are monthly family goals for 2021. I hope you join us in the new year!
I’ve learned the importance this past year of positive affirmations and stating those affirmations out loud. So “This is my year” is one I am going to repeat during the month of January. What does that look like for you?
For me, I am going to take control of my schedule rather than letting my schedule control me. I am going to do things that I have always wanted to do. I am going to be the mom I want to be for my children (which includes more play time) and the wife I want to be for my husband. I am going to serve more. I am going to be more present and on my phone less. This is my year and I am going to be in control.
I have always loved and been intrigued by penguins. They pick their partner and stay with that partner for the duration of their life. The father takes care of the egg while the mother looks for food, both making great sacrifices for their little family.
Sometimes to help us remember our goals or affirmations a symbol can help. So place a penguin somewhere you can see it everyday to remind you to love hard. Slow down and play with your kids a little more. Stop stressing as much about the things that are of little consequence and make quality time for the things that are of greater worth like your family.
I actually don’t really believe in “luck.” I believe in blessings. I believe our decisions greatly determine our “luck” in life. So this month, carry around a small good luck mini four leaf clover in your pocket to remind you that you CAN make your own luck. Believe in yourself.
Trust that what you do matters. Sometimes as a stay-at-home mom it’s easy to forget that I make a difference. I often have to remind myself that in actuality, I am doing some of the greatest work. I am shaping souls. Believe that you determine the outcome of your life. This isn’t to say that bad things won’t happen, but it’s to say that when they do, you will be able to rise above whatever life throws at you.
I love what spring represents. I love that the rain brings flowers. Rain can represent our challenges or our trials that we have to face in this life, and the flowers can represent the fruit of those challenges. Isn’t it interesting that growth happens during some of the most painful conditions?
That fire and broken ground lead to rebirth and renewal. I love seeing all of the baby animals during the spring, its another testament of this time is a period of rebirth and regrowth.
Your symbol this month is a baby animal. Place it somewhere to remind you that it’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to try again, to be made new. If the Earth can be changed and made new and all the creatures along with it, then so can you.
Mother’s day is in May. Mothers go through a lot don’t they? The act of giving birth alone shows the strength within women. When I had my first child I couldn’t believe that the hospital was just willing to send me home with this tiny infant, trusting that I would be able to take care for her and meet her needs.
I remember thinking, “Wow this is so hard! I have never done something this hard in my entire life, and women have just been doing this since the beginning of time?” I am also fascinated to see how mothers protect their children, both among animals and in human kind. Sacrificing themselves for their child and defending and protecting them even until death if necessary.
So this month remember how strong you are. Remember how tough you are. Remember that you are fierce and stronger than you think you are. I chose the lioness and cub to display for this month. Symbols are powerful.
I am definitely a play advocate. It is what I constantly share on my personal blog and social media accounts. But, play isn’t just for kids. It’s just as important for adults too, and I think sometimes we forget that. Set aside time to play. Book the vacation. I’m not the best at this one.
My husband and I are often staying home for the sake of money, but I’m realizing how important it is not only for my kids, but for us as parents to play more. Think about it, all of the greatest discoveries in the world were made through play. Through experimentation, through discovery, through exploration. So take time to play. Safari’s coral reef bulk bag is my symbol for this one. The scuba diver represents someone full of adventure to me.
Be proud of where you come from and where you have gotten. You might not live in America, but I do, so I am going to focus a little bit more on my personal component of what being proud means to me this month. My husband is a first generation American. I have heard his parents say over and over again that they came here to give their children a better life, one full of opportunities and education.
July is the month in which we celebrate Independence Day in America. I’m proud to be an American. I am grateful for those who have fought and continue to fight for the freedoms of our country. I am grateful for my husband’s parents for their sacrifice in bringing my husband to the United States of America, and I am proud of his accomplishments in being a first generation American with immigrant parents. I am proud to be the great granddaughter of Swedish immigrants myself. Be proud of who you are and where you come from! The independence TOOB might be a good reminder for you to display this month, for yourself and your children.
Don’t forget to take care of you. As a mother I think this has been something that I easily forget. It’s something I have to consciously be aware of or my needs are no longer met and my happiness begins to dwindle. What does taking care of you look like for you? For me it means time to reflect and be alone. It means time to write in my journal or read a book. Taking care for me often means a vacation with my spouse without my children. Taking care of me could be a simple candle and a bath with music. Create that space for yourself. Take time for you.
I am so grateful for the ability I have to learn. Isn’t it amazing that there is always more to discover, more to learn? I was definitely that child who looked forward to a new school year each year. 2020 was hard. Many teachers and parents were struggling with the changes that were required of them. This year whatever the school year may look for you and your kids try to approach it with a sense of opportunity. Opportunity to learn more and to stretch a little further.
My 6 year old has computer skills I couldn’t have even imagined at her age because of distance learning. So whatever the learning opportunities look like for you this year, embrace them and enjoy that you have the ability to learn and grow even as an adult. My safari symbol this month is going to be an animal that I don’t know a lot about. I am going to encourage my children to also pick an animal that they don’t know that much about so that we can research and learn more together.
Kids are the best at this aren’t they? My six year old is determined that when she gets older she is going to be an “astronaut, a paleontologist, a singer, an artist and a scientist”. Never stop dreaming. Never stop imagining and exploring. I think this can be in a literal sense meaning you have dreams for your future, or in a more figurative sense such as playing imaginative games.
I love seeing the world through my children’s eyes, and I never want to lose the magic that comes with imagining what it would have been like to have been the first man to walk on the moon, or what it would feel like to speak to a large audience in a Tedx talk.
Whatever your dreams are think about them, role play them, discover them a little deeper. An activity my children always love is going on a Backyard safari or bug exploration. We will take Safari Ltd figures out in our backyard and dress up like explorers or scientists and find them.
Whatever your journey looks like don’t forget to give thanks. I have been dealing with a chronic illness. For the longest time I could not utter any sort of gratitude for the condition I was in. After about a year and a half into it, I started naming things that I was grateful for that the illness had brought me. On the list: service and love from others, a new perspective on life requiring me to slow down and appreciate the little moments with my girls, and good health days that were the exception not the rule.
Once I started giving thanks even in the midst of a trial, I found greater happiness for myself and a greater appreciation for others and the life that was given to me.
I think one of the most amazing things about this season is the spirit of giving. December always feels magical, and I think it’s because we start thinking of ourselves less and others more. We focus on our blessings in November and then we give back to others in December. I think if we truly look we can always find someone who is struggling more than ourselves. Don’t forget to give to others and end 2021 with that kind of selfless love.
Whatever your 2021 New Year resolutions look like for you, I hope you can talk about them with your children. Inspire them to make goals and have a desire to be better each month right along with you. I wish you blessings and a renewed sense of peace and hope as we enter 2021. Happy New Year!
About the writer
RyLee Matangi is a Child Development Specialist & Blogger. Find her work on purposefultoys.com