New Year’s Resolutions are for the birds. Here’s what to do instead.


Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I love a fresh start.  An official time where my slate feels wiped clean. A time to regroup and bring my undivided attention to things I will make happen.  Dreams that need dusting off; goals that I will achieve.

Against all odds.

This is the unspoken truth about New Year’s Resolutions: they feel like goals that must be made and achieved… or else we are failures.

So many of us feel this kind of excitement and motivation at the beginning of the year, but statistics show that by January 15th, 90% of us have given up on these dreams, because we’ve made mistakes or there have been hiccups along the way.

And, for us moms, I have a hunch that this percentage increases by that date.

Why? I have a theory…

Because we are hyper-focused on the needs of others, our goals or dreams can take a back seat.  We can be very forgiving of other people’s timelines when there are delays:  

“Oh! No problem! I totally understand that you weren’t able to make it happen.” are words we frequently say to others, because we DO understand. Life is tricky. It is bumpy and unpredictable. The flexibility and understanding we extend to others, we hope they would extend to us, as well.

We just need a reminder to extend that level of flexibility to ourselves, while not giving up on that big dream or goal.

This is why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions.  I call them “Themes” instead. Last year was the first year that I tried this method out… and you know what? It worked!

My “Themes” for 2016 were, #1 be in the best shape of my life and, #2 learn how to cook like a grown adult, instead of a Kindergartener.

At first, ‘the best shape of my life’ had superficial meaning. I wanted a firm everything. But as the year progressed, I realized I had so much inner work to do. Through therapy in various forms, as well as dancing again in my workouts, I felt lighter…healthier. I don’t have the tightest buns in the world, but I have the ability to set boundaries and be kind to myself in a way I didn’t have the year before, and I feel more joyful as a result. Mid-way through last year, I came to understand and realize that I was in the best shape I’d ever been, just not in a physical/superficial way.

And, I learned to cook! Last year at this time I was making chicken strips in the oven for dinner… a lot. Fast forward 360 days and 2016’s Christmas dinner was a feast that I couldn’t believe I actually made all by myself.

I didn’t achieve my “Themes” for the year because I was seeking perfection. Quite the opposite! My “Themes” allowed for life’s inevitable bumps in the road. It allowed me the time to practice. There were weeks when we had frozen pizza for dinner more nights then I would like to admit, or when my anxiety was so high, I sought the help of medical professionals. But, what happened afterwards was different than any year before: I found my way back to my themes and continued to make progress.

This is how life works: you achieve true fulfillment when you stay committed to your vision, while being open to the possibility that you will get off track sometimes. You won’t be perfect. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it means life happened. I’ve learned that this path is not only normal for most of the great ‘achievers’ in life, it is the healthiest way to go.

So, here’s to us! May our dreams, goals, and themes for this new year come true, again and again!

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Ashley Chandler is a mommy to her boisterous 5-year old daughter and a 2-year old son, a proud wife to her music and nature lovin’ husband, and the ultimate lap for her 6-year old kitty. When she isn’t knee-deep in hummus, or pretending that a workout is in the cards by wearing yoga pants all day, she actively cultivates opportunities to connect with other moms, women, and families through her work as a writer, teacher, and mentor. She is also the Founder of STORYTELLHER; an online platform featuring interviews of everyday women sharing stories of resilience. Ashley’s main mission is to keep it real, while shining a light on what it really means to be a successful woman and mother in today’s world. She is thrilled to be a part of the DMMB community! You can also find her here:


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