Yell Less, Hug More, and Other 'Good Mother' Tips

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Although the idea of New Year’s resolutions intimidates many — and the reality of keeping the resolutions is fleeting at best, no matter what they are — each January does offer a clean slate.

Instead of declaring a major life change or a wildly unreasonable goal, let’s set our sights on straightforward, doable ways to be better mothers, wives, friends and citizens — ways that are within our grasp.

We’ll call them New Year’s Intentions.

1: Happiness is often a choice. Choose it.

2: Let go and laugh.

3: As a really smart grandmother once said, “Read something interesting every day.”

4: Listen more closely.

5: Yell less. Hug more.

6: Take longer walks with the dog (who could also use the cardio) and stop and chat with the neighbors. You never know what you’ll might learn, share or inspire.

7: Let go of relationships that no longer bring happiness. Negativity takes up too much space. Move on.

8: Reach out to new friends who are likely to provide meaningful relationships.

9: Drink the good stuff, but less frequently. Maybe MUCH less frequently.

10: Take care of that crucial first line of defense: the body. Every day.

11: Travel as much as possible, even if it’s just to a new neighborhood or across a state line. Expose the kids to new experiences, places, and cultures.

12: Put the phone down and play with the kids. Tomorrow, they will be adults.

13: Keep trying healthy new recipes, at least once a week.

14: Book a sitter and have a date night with your spouse at least once a month. If nothing else, go for a long walk.

15: Maintain at least one clean room in the house so that neighbors, friends, or anyone who drops by feels welcomed.

16: Breathe deeply when stressed. Especially when stressed.

17: Curb your cursing. We can express ourselves so much better.

18: Invite more kids over for playdates to foster a real kid community.

19: Create a chore schedule for the children and make them stick to it, no matter what. Remember you are teaching habits for a lifetime, not just for an hour, a day, or a week.

20: Always have music playing at home, and dance when the mood strikes.

21: Make more of an effort to visit with your extended family. We all need and benefit from those relationships.

22: Say “yes” more, but say “no” when it matters — and be firm about it.

23: Go to church more often. Our children need the foundation, and we all need the community and the reminder that life is much bigger than our little households.

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