Developing Goals for the New Year

December 30, 2016
This year is coming to a close, and if you’ve had a baby within the past year, you know how quickly time goes. You’ve seen your baby go through amazing changes, and you’re proud and thrilled. Personally, though, you may not feel like you’ve achieved everything you’ve wanted to since your baby was born. For 2017, Stork has rounded up some experts’ best tips that can help you create and reach your goals.

Be Good to Yourself
Set aside five minutes a day to do something nice for yourself. That could be having a special treat, or simply using a facial masque that you love. It can be anything that has no other meaning than to pamper yourself. Anyone can find five minutes! When you are good to yourself, you are a better person in general, and definitely a better mother to your baby!
– Varda Meyers Epstein, parenting expert and editor of Kars4Kids

Redefine Your Life
The best way to get you feeling a little more like the person you were before you became a parent is self-care. The redefinition of your time, energy, and body can be overwhelming, and most new moms do not make enough space for their own basic self care. Physically, you should get plenty of sleep and rest, eat nourishing foods, and get exercise or some kind of movement that you enjoy. Emotionally, you’ll need a little time to yourself, but you should also spend time with friends (at least on the phone!), connecting to others who can give you positive support. Spiritually, do whatever nurtures your soul and brings you joy.

Depending on your baby's age and your situation, most of these can be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes a day. Taking better care of yourself enables you to give better care to your baby and ultimately, feel more like you did before you were so focused on mothering.
– Beth Salerno, Postpartum Doula  

Create Enjoyable Moments
All too often parents neglect their own health when they are charged with the job of caring for a new baby. This leaves them feeling depleted, fatigued, and sometimes even resentful. Setting the goal of daily self care is not only foundational to your health, it will also help you feel sane during the most hectic of days. I advise new parents to set a goal of doing one thing they enjoy in the day and one act of self care. Modeling self care is also an excellent way to teach children to make health a priority.
– Dr. Jolene Brighten, author of Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth

Connect to Your Pre-Baby Self
It is important to acknowledge all that you are already doing as a parent. Take some time to write down all the little things you think aren't important. You’ll realize that just taking care of your little one, balancing going back to work or adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom, are all huge accomplishments.

In 2017, consider doing one small thing each day to put yourself first. I love keeping a gratitude journal and just writing down a few small things I am thankful for at the end of each day. Take a few minutes and pick just one longer-term goal that would connect you to your pre-baby self. Brainstorm a few small things you can do on your own or with your baby to connect with that image. Above all else, be gentle on yourself! You are already achieving incredible things as a new mom.
– Maya Henry, health coach and chief meal planner at Meals with Maya

Start S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Goals are very personal and differ greatly from person to person. However, when it comes to new parents, there are certainly common themes. The important thing is to keep S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stand for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time frame. For the new year, these may be some S.M.A.R.T. goals:
  • Once a month, get someone to take care of the baby for one hour so that you can engage in a self-care activity.
  • Go on one special date with your partner every month, preferably without the baby.
  • Engage in one social activity each month.
The important thing is to remember is that the more specific the goal, the easier it will be to tell when you have reached it. The more initial successes one can have with meeting these goals, the better, because that will facilitate setting new and slightly more difficult-to-achieve goals.
– Dr. Julie Davelman of Births, Babies, and Beyond

Carve Out 20-Minute "Me Time"
A happy mom is the number one ingredient for a happy baby. A weekly 60 minute massage or date night is just not going to happen for lots of moms! But it IS important that you take time to feel like a real person, and should just take a realistic approach to making that happen. Make a list of five activities that make you happy and take 20 minutes or less, like painting your nails, drinking a cup of hot chocolate alone, or flipping through a magazine.

Have your partner do the same thing! Put your lists next to each other on the refrigerator. Once a week, schedule 20 minutes when your partner will take the baby, and you HAVE to do something from the list. Don’t cheat and use this time to do laundry! This is your time to feel normal. You can always surprise your partner with an extra unscheduled 20-minute "me-time."
– Dr. Bridget Young, perinatal nutrition expert and founder of resource website