Skip to main content

I am always extremely motivated at the beginning of a school year. It’s a fresh start. New faces. So much potential and possibility. The room is clean, lockers are organized, and pencils are sharpened.

I’m the same way at the beginning of a new calendar year. I make resolutions with full optimism and intention to keep them. I love a fresh start. This year I had six resolutions (which is way too many). These were my resolutions this year.

  1. Live within our means. My husband and I are about to enter our fifth year of putting our daughter through college without debt (four-year bachelor’s degree plus one year teaching certificate). It’s a struggle on two teacher salaries, but so far we’ve done it, and we have one year left.
  2. Lose eight pounds. (I have a goal like this every year, it seems.)
  3. Finish photo albums. This is another goal that I also had last year. I finished some last year, but there is still a long list. I take tons of photos every year.
  4. Publish something. That is where my website and blog come in. I’ve had this goal since 2022.
  5. Read for 30 minutes every day.
  6. Cut down on my screen time and social media time.

Well, now it’s May. The newness of a fresh start has worn off. How are my resolutions going?

  1. Living within our means. We are failing that goal. We have had to get into our savings account every single month so far this year. We’re lucky we have savings, but I’m not sure it will stretch another year at this rate. It’s not as though we’re being extravagant and wasteful. We’ve cut out vacations except once a year to visit my daughter in her college town. We set a budget every month. My husband and I are both working in the summer in addition to our teaching jobs, and my daughter will be working this summer too. It’s just difficult to pay for two households right now, ours and our daughter’s. There are so many expenses. We have a goal to get her through college debt free. She’ll graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree but needs a fifth year to get a teaching certificate. One more year. I hope we can finish strong and before all our savings is gone.
  2. Losing eight pounds. I’m down five and a half pounds since the start of the new year. I haven’t really stuck to the 10,000 steps a day rule I set, or the tracking of calories, and I haven’t gotten 7 hours of sleep a night or drunk enough water every day, but I have managed to lose a few pounds this year so far. My husband and I did cut out alcohol on school nights, though. I used to have a glass of wine (or two) every evening. My husband used to have a beer (or two). We cut that out on weeknights and that’s really the only thing we’ve done differently, but it seems to be slowly working. Now if we can just keep that going during the summer when there are no school nights.
  3. Finishing photo albums. I’ve only finished one so far this year. I’m working on the second one, but it’s a huge one that summarizes my daughter’s first 18 years. It’s a special album, but it’s slow going. This is the goal that gets ignored some weeks when life is just too busy to fit it all in.
  4. Publish something. This goal is taking up a lot of my time now. I have been trying to publish a book I wrote, A 2020 Story, for 2.5 years now. Last year an agent recommended that I start a website and “build my platform.” So, I did that last summer. I hired a designer to build a website for me, and now I write a new blog post every Sunday for my website. I also send out a monthly newsletter and post things to my author Instagram and Facebook pages. I send queries to two new agents per week as well. This all takes a ton of time, and it may all end up being for nothing because this goal of getting published is such a long shot. But something compels me to keep trying.
  5. Read for 30 minutes a day. I would spend all my extra time doing this if I didn’t have all my other goals. I love this goal. It is relaxing to read outside in the summer or in the clawfoot tub in the winter, and now I read instead of watching TV when I’m on a plane. I started making this goal in 2020. It has caused me to finish 20 books or more every year. Before I made that resolution, I would usually only read a few books a year. I don’t always get 30 minutes a day, but I try, and sometimes I read for hours.
  6. Cut down on screen time and social media time. I quit this goal last month. It was in direct opposition to my “publish something” goal. As an aspiring published author, I need to build my social media platform, and that takes more time, not less.

I started out strong at the beginning of 2024, and now I’m fizzling out. It happens every year at this time when the end of the school year approaches. There is so much going on at school right now: graduations, retirements, and everything. This year there is the added emotion of a trip to go see my daughter’s college graduation. Everything seems so intense right now, and I want to enjoy every minute and not get overwhelmed. It’s tough, though, because we have something on the schedule for every evening this week. It’s all good stuff, but it can get to be too much.

But, I can do this. I can finish strong. There has been so much progress made on so many fronts.

  1. My students have come a long way this year.
  2. My daughter is going to have a bachelor’s degree! This is huge. It’s what we’ve all been working so hard for, her and us. And my husband, my parents, and I all get to attend her graduation this time. That was not the case at her 2020 high school graduation.
  3. I’ve lost some weight.
  4. I’ve had people share my blog posts, request me to write and speak for them at special occasions, and some of my writing seems to be bringing about some needed change in some places in my world.
  5. I’ve read so many good books this year. There is a teacher on my team who is about my daughter’s age, only a few years older. She has the best recommendations for books to read. They’re fast-paced and they draw me right in, even when I’m so distracted by everything going on in the real world.

So, while I’m not winning on all fronts in my resolutions for this year, there is progress. I need to not be blind to that right now when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I think this blog post was a pep talk to myself and anyone else who needs one right now. We can do this. We can finish strong.