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I love New Year's resolutions. I love them so much I find all sorts of new starts throughout the year to make resolutions- lent, my birthday, the change of seasons, the beginning of a new month. Each and every day offers the promise of a new start. I love new starts. I love the promise resolutions hold.

I am always amazed by people who say they do not make resolutions. Politeness has kept me from saying what I always think-- "Really? There isn't a single thing in your life you need to change or improve?" Of course, this isn't true. I think a lot of us think ahead to the second or third week of January when a slip is inevitable and just give up before we even start. And that is too bad. We are too hard on ourselves. We don't give ourselves room to make mistakes. Why?

As parents, we are continually coaching our kids as they learn new skills. Keep trying. Don't give up. It just takes practice. You can't let one bad game keep you from doing what you love. Your teammates are counting on you. You can do it. Why don't we give ourselves the same pep talks?

I think all parents should be required to make resolutions- to try something new, to risk failure. After all we ask our children to do that every day. At the same time though, we need to be kind to ourselves (and our children). New things aren't easy at 5, 15, or 45. So this year- as always- I will make resolutions. And this year when I falter- as always- instead of throwing in the towel, I am going to pick myself up, dust off, give myself a little pep talk and hop back to it. 

So without further ado- my resolutions for 2011.

To take my health more seriously by doing three healthy things each day. Examples would be eating breakfast, eating at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetables, exercising, getting 8 hours of sleep. "AHA!" you say, "That is awfully vague. Anyone can do that." "AHA!" I say, "You are right!" I don't set my kids up for failure so why would I do that to myself? It is a step in the right direction with a enough flexibility to ensure success.

To have more fun. I am a pretty serious person. (My husband says I watch too many documentaries.) Between causes I care about and the nitty-gritty of keeping home and family on the tracks, I can be quite the curmudgeon at times. So this year I AM going to have lunch with my friends at least once a month. I AM going to ignore the laundry at times to play games with my kids. I AM going to do something fun once a day.

Donate an item a day to the local food pantry. I am stealing this idea from a member of my church. It's a small act that can make a big difference to others. My friend buys the items and donates monthly, I think I will do it weekly.

Buy a toy or two each month. Every Christmas I wish I could donate more to local toy drives. If I do this, I can without breaking the family bank in December. (It also gives me stash that I can "borrow" from if a birthday party pops up at busy time.)

So there are my resolutions. What are yours?