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Parenting and Resolutions: Resolve Not to Resolve.

If you’re my age, you probably remember the 80’s movie War Games which starred Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.


If you don’t, the plot revolves around a government supercomputer that runs through all the possible scenarios for bilateral nuclear war, finding they all lead to global annihilation. It calls nuclear war “a strange game” and concludes, “The only winning move is not to play.”


That’s how I feel about New Year’s resolutions. The only winning move is not to play (or make them).

Kinda of a dark “take” on it but it’s powerful enough to drive the point home.


Resolutions are great in theory but never live up to the promise in practice. They are fun to make, and in some cases even track, but the reality is that for all but the super motivated, they will be a distant memory by week two.


Everyone will talk about how it makes you feel bad because you didn’t live up to them, however, my mind goes directly to the stress and mental energy you expended to define them and for a (little) while try to live up to them.


My conclusion: Resolve Not to Resolve.

Particularly for parents and caregivers. With everything else going on in the life of busy parents and caregivers, adding the pressure of a “resolution” may not be wise. It could be that one thing that tips you over the edge.

Hopefully we’ve all been off for a few days (or weeks) and have had some time to relax, reconnect with our families and friends and maybe even have a little fun. 

What’s next?


I think not.

I don’t know about you but the fact that you would spend such joyous time in that manner and then willingly engage in a stress inducing activity like brainstorming a laundry list of goals to be measured by a scale or a calendar takes the wind right out of my sails.

Am I saying you should ride into 2024 on the coattails of your 2023 achievements and rest on your laurels or accept defeat in that things may never change from where they are today?


But if you’d like to make a few changes, feel better, and improve the quality of your life, without the looming deadlines, there are many other ways to start the New Year anew.




Instead of making resolutions, spend some time reflecting and looking at what you would like to see change in your life. There will likely be a few things and they don’t all need to change at the same time.


How have they gotten this way? What part did you play in where you are currently whether it be your health, career, creativity, spirituality, or your parenting? Track what’s going on and look at steps you can take to make changes in these areas over time.


Planning and Resources


If you can see where change and growth can benefit your life, start thinking about what you need to make those things happen. Do you need to join a gym? Do you need to start thinking about a new job? Maybe volunteering and getting out will help with what you need.


Now, who and where are the resources that can help with these things? Take time to identify the right people, programs, plans, and mindset that can help in getting you started and keep you committed.


Time, Acceptance, and Grace


These are the weak links in making resolutions. We want what we want now. We’re unhappy with someone, ourselves, or a situation and we can’t change it now. We get angry with ourselves when it takes too long, and we don’t see or feel the change.


Give yourself the time you need in life to take the big and small steps. All that matters is that you continue to move forward.


Accept and love yourself for where you are right now, it’s never perfect, and it never will be. The ability to accept ourselves, our situations, and our loved ones where they are right now and hope for better in every situation is the key.


Along with acceptance will come grace. The ability to say, “I didn’t get it done today, I’ll try again tomorrow, and that’s okay,” without judgement or guilt. Knowing that progress will lead to change, change will come with consistency. Acceptance will give you continued hope and keep you striving for what you need.


You will get no such allowance from resolutions:


  • Resolutions watch the clock.

  • Resolutions judge progress.

  • Resolutions keep score.


The results all lead to global (personal) annihilation. “The only winning move is not to play.”


So, resolve not to make resolutions and commit to staying open to change and trust the process.


Trust that you will know what’s needed and will do what needs to be done to make that change. If part of the change includes parenting or caregiving, neither will benefit from the adoption of resolutions.


Everything can benefit from less stress.


Happy New Year!🎉


Take care and be well,



Mother and daughter celebrating New Years sparklers.
This year, instead of making resolutions put your faith in progress.


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