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New Year's Resolutions Any Mom Can Make

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With the arrival of the January 1st comes the arrival of the dreaded New Year's resolution—you know, the one that you're all gung ho about at first but seems to get ditched eventually. Luckily, some resolutions are actually doable. This might not be the year that you get back your old bikini body, but it could be the year you become a better parent. Make your family the beneficiary of your resolutions and you might be more apt to stick to your guns.

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By Jae Curtis

With the arrival of the January 1st comes the arrival of the dreaded New Year's resolution—you know, the one that you're all gung ho about at first but seems to get ditched eventually. Luckily, some resolutions are actually doable. This might not be the year that you get back your old bikini body, but it could be the year you become a better parent. Make your family the beneficiary of your resolutions and you might be more apt to stick to your guns.

Put the Smartphone Down

Beware of parenting with a phone clenched in your hand. A 2009 study from Stanford University, published in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," found that chronic multitaskers actually performed worse when it came to cognitive tasks than someone just focusing on one thing at a time. Give your child the quality time she deserves by making an effort to put the phone down and focus on just being a parent.

Invest in Healthier Eats

Okay, so healthier eating isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff when it comes to New Year's resolutions. But while you might nosh on an apple instead of chocolate, what’s your family snacking on? Make healthier eating a house-wide goal. While you're at it, a resolution to make just one dinner—no special requests for pancakes when you've made a veggie lasagna—can help simplify your life and get your child accustomed to more nutritious foods.

Go Outside

See that door attached to the front of your house? It's not just for collecting mail or letting your dog out—it's the portal to a world of discovery, exercise, and quality time. It might seem too simple, but getting outside—sans your tablet and smartphone, of course—gives you a distraction-free space for face-to-face fun with your little one. Whether you kick a ball around, build a snowman, or head to the park, your child gets one-on-one time, fresh air, and exercise. Awesome mom moment!

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Slow Down

If you nearly have a panic attack every time you look at your calendar, you might have a problem with simplifying things. Sure, you might want your tiny superstar to be a world-class gymnast, dancer, soccer player, violinist, and everything else, but what's the cost for all of that overscheduling? See what extracurricular activities you can cut for a cleaner calendar. Choose one or two must-haves and free up some time to spend together.

Make a Family Bucket List

Go to the beach? See a play? Carve pumpkins at Halloween? Every family should have a yearlong bucket list. Not only will you get to map out your current traditions, but you can also think up some new ones as boredom busters. Pick a bucket list item for each month and put the list somewhere you can see it often. That way, when you have a free weekend, you can choose an adventure and make some memories.

Discipline Smarter

Hey, we've all been there: Your kiddo misbehaves and you punish more out of anger and embarrassment than an actual teaching moment. But a smart parent makes a plan with her disciplinary tactics. Instead of defaulting to a time-out, which may or may not work, think of smarter consequences that actually fit the crime. Your little one won't put her clothes in the laundry basket? Then she probably won't have her favorite skirt to wear to preschool. Take the time to create a disciplinary plan and follow it through, making positive reinforcement part of that plan as well.

Be Good … Not Perfect

Who cares if Little Susie's mom makes her all-organic homemade granola to take to school as a snack? Going with store-bought is totally fine if that's more your style. Try your best and know when “good” is good enough. As long as your little one is fed, sheltered, clothed, hugged, and tickled, you've got the whole parenting thing in the bag. Give yourself a break and don't get bogged down with things that don’t really matter.

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They say that when it's a new year, it's time for a new you. But since you're already a stellar parent, you probably don't need a complete personality makeover. Instead, choose a few simple resolutions that make your life easier and you might be able to actually focus on and achieve the goals you set for yourself. Hey, your high school jeans still might not fit—but parenting-wise, you'll be in great shape.

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