Taking stock

Lazy summer days offer a moment to grab your journal and pen, get comfy in a hammock, or outdoor chair and reflect on what you’d like to do differently this year, suggests Tracy Manu

Lazy summer days offer a moment to grab your journal and pen, get comfy in a hammock, or outdoor chair and reflect on what you’d like to do differently this year, suggests Tracy Manu

A huge percentage of new year’s resolutions are not achieved because our brave new goals are simply piled on top of all the other activities we already perform each day. Life just gets too hectic. Instead, we need to prepare for our success by giving our goals space to flourish. 

For example, we can’t expect to enjoy a more positive outlook if we continue to criticise ourselves. We can’t declutter our homes if we’re not willing to let go, just as we can’t help our children be responsible if we keep on doing everything for them. 

I experienced this firsthand the other day through the arrival of our adorable new puppy Otis. Adopting a pet is a huge undertaking and one I couldn’t hope to manage on top of everything I already have going on. I realised that before I could add a puppy to the mix, I first needed to offload a few things. 

I sat down and made a list of everything I do throughout the day, right down to folding the washing and packing the dishwasher. What an enlightening experience! Our blended home is full of teenagers who are very capable of cooking a meal and cleaning up after themselves, but somewhere between running a business and being a wife and mum I’d taken on responsibility for almost everything to do with our meals.

Next I went through my list and decided which chores I could reasonably delegate to different members of the family. As well as being a useful exercise for me, going through this process had many other benefits – including the children making the link between helping to keep the home functioning and the reward of having a puppy to enjoy. As a result, our children are learning to be more responsible, I have a little free time, and we all get to spend quality time together as a family with Otis. That’s when he’s not weeing on the carpet or chewing something precious! 

This year, if you’re thinking of joining another committee or taking on new commitments or goals, first consider how you can make some space. Think delegate, delete or complete

Maybe you have negative thoughts that play in your mind, such as I’m not good enough, I’m a terrible parent, or I’ll never lose that extra weight. What we think about, we tend to bring about. But when you identify and counter these ideas, you’re getting rid of what’s holding you back from achieving your dreams.

When you make space, you’re more likely to reach your goals. Reflect on the last year. What worked well? What were the challenges? Try writing an outline of how you want 2012 to be. Get creative, imagine and dream … you may even like to write a story about your upcoming year in the present tense (as though it’s already happening) or make a vision board representing the things you most value. Keep them handy so you can look at them on a regular basis. 

Whether it’s making time to get fit, committing to a new project or even adding a new puppy to your household, preparing first will make the coming year that much easier.


Tracy Manu is a mother of a blended household of five teenagers, and a lifestyle coach who loves helping clients find balance in busyness and achieve their goals. Find out more at www.blossom.net.nz.

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