head over to my instagram for a H U G E giveaway that i'm doing today with walker edison furniture and arvo wear

| pics by roxana b photography |
i stink at making and sticking to resolutions.  there, i admitted it.  anyone else feel the same way?

in the past i used to set these HUGE, unrealistic goals for myself at the start of each new year and would get so overwhelmed by them toward the middle of January that i completely gave up and said i would try better next year.

fast forward to now, 2016, and i once again have some things i want to work/improve on in my and my families' life.  but this time, i really am determined to stick with it!  even it is almost february. ha!  so i decided to scale things back a bit and really work on setting realistic goals that i knew i could ace.

so, to make sure i actually was successful at this venture, i decided to figure out what the two most important things were to me right now, and focus on just those.  at first, i thought this would be hard to do because there are just so many things i always want to work on. 

but the more i thought about it, i realized that the two things i'd been thinking about most recently were ways to improve the moments when my family sat down to eat meals, and how to better manage my time as a mom.

two HUGE goals, but ones i felt were great when it came to my task of setting realistic goals because i could easily manage them and work on them in baby steps.  plus, i knew i wouldn't have 500 other goals that i had worry about focusing on.

if these are two things that you want to work on too, here's how we're doing it.

setting realistic goals

tips for having more meaningful mealtime as a family

1.  choose one meal a day where everyone in the family can sit down together and eat.  

dave and i recently purchased what we like to call our "grown-up" table.  for years, we had one of those run of mill $120 four person tables from ikea.  it served it's purpose, but wasn't what we knew we wanted to use forever.  so, years later when we finally purchased our 7 ft. custom made table and white metal cafe chairs from walker edison furniture, i began to frequently daydream about when my entire family could sit down at the table together.  and for us, dinner works best.

2. involve the kids with meal prep and table setting.

3. have some specific topics in mind that you can talk about at the table. 

for us, two things dave and i always ask our kids at dinner is a) what was you favorite part of the day?  b) what was something kind that you did?

*we stick to just these two conversation topics right now, because it's all our young children can handle.  but, if you have older kids.  you have a lot more options.  for example, a mom that i know in my neighborhood has a conversation jar.  each member of the family writes a topic they want to talk about on a piece of paper and sticks it in a jar.  then, when the family sits down to eat, they put the jar on the table, and one person draws a topic out of the jar and the family then talks about it while they eat.

4.  everyone stays at the table until they are excused. 

before doing this specific thing, dave and i just let the kids stay for as long as they wanted.  which meant they were usually there for about 5 minutes and then they were off playing with toys.  sometimes, this still happens.  but when dave and i are on our a-game and the kids have obliged to be good listeners, we can get them to stay at the table until almost everyone is done eating.  

5. everyone helps with the clean up.

i hate getting stuck with all of dinner clean up.  and so does dave.  so we make the kids pull their load too when it comes to this task.  for now, that just involves the kids taking the dishes to the sink and helping wipe down the table on a good day.  but, as they get older, they will be able to do more.  and though this phase of dinner could be seen as just regular clean-up responsibilities, it can also be an extension of the family spending time together.

tips for better managing your time

1. think of each day before it begins.

for me, i like to this by going over a "to-do" list that i have stored in a notes app on my phone.  i read it over each day and choose the top 3-5 most important tasks that have to be done that day.  once i have done that, i go over everything else that has be done that day (taking kids to school, appointments, etc.) and plug in when i can work on my selected daily tasks.

really, there are tons of ways to keep track of things.  mine is definitely not the most detail oriented or organized.  but it works for me.  so, find a system that works for you and stick with it.

2. allow yourself some down time each day.

i am mainly a stay-at-home mom, but i view what i do in life as a real job.  which means that i give myself a work break every day.  so, just like a paid job, i take 30 minutes-to and hour to my self each day (depending on the kids naps and other things that may be going on) in which i can sit back and give my brain and body some time to clock out and reboot.  otherwise, i get easily exhausted, unfocused, and grumpy.  which completely throws off my mojo and leaves me wanting nothing to do with anything else that needs to be accomplished for the day.

3. stick with the plan, but be flexible too.

once my day is laid out, i try not to deviate from it too much.  but if something comes up, like a much need trip to the bakery with my kids, a neighbor who needs some help, or whatever else, i make room for it as best i can.  life isn't perfect.  it's messy, and things come up.  so for me, i think one of the best things i can teach my kids, is learning how to go with the flow.  because we simply can't control everything.

4. do you best to keep track of the time.

i used to be horrible at this.  only checking the time when i wasn't lazy enough to dig my phone out of my purse/diaper bag or near some form of a clock.  and since my life is currently filled with raising a young family, it was super easy for me to get distracted and loose track of time. 

 so, i decided to get in the habit of wearing a watch (my favorite brand is arvo because they are durable and easily go with anything i wear) so that i always had the right time.  and doing so, has made a world of a difference for me.  sure, i still loose track of time every now and again, but not nearly as much i used to, and because of that, i am able to get more done in a day.

and that's it!

though we still have 11 more months to go in this new year, i have seen a world of difference in how i have been able to achieve my new year's resolutions.  and that's all because i chose to simplify things and really focus on setting realistic goals that i know i can become a mom boss at by the end of this year.  

and you can too!  

white metal cafe chairs: walker edison furniture

watch: arvo