It’s hard, isn’t it, to live up the expectations of a new year?

As of Thursday, you’re supposed to have turned a new leaf, started fresh. By now, you should be three days into a life-changing new diet and exercise regime, halfway through organizing all your closets and mastering those calming yogic breaths.

Om? Or “OMG, no,”?

The New Year’s resolution is a myth. Let’s start there. The promise of renewal on the first of the year is itself a lie. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will be the new-and-improved you, especially if you partied the night before and you’re struggling just to answer your kids’ cries for breakfast.

So let’s flip the script.

Instead of making a resolution — you’ve probably abandoned a few already, right? — let’s set a few goals. The result is the same, but the approach is different.

Instead of pretending you can become a new person overnight and live out the year that way, give yourself the entire year to achieve what you want.

  • Make new friends … Watching Olivia chase after her cousins and our friend’s son during our Christmas vacation left me wishing she had a few more pint-sized playmates. We’re still a year away from preschool, so forming little friendships won’t happen unless we strive to find some kids her own age to hang with. Playdate, anyone?
  • …Keep the old. Another goal inspired by Christmas. I filled out too many cards this year with messages like, “We miss you,” “Hope to see you in 2015,” and “Can’t wait for you to meet Olivia!” If we want our kid to value her friendships, we need to model that for her. With friends scattered all over the place, maintaining those relationships isn’t necessarily the easiest task. It will require putting some miles on the car. Which brings me to our next goal.
  • More travel. Having a kid slows things down considerably. The extent of our travels for the past two years has been limited to ping-ponging back and forth across the state to our parents’ homes. I’m ready for a new route, so we’re going places this year. We’re going to see, do and eat new things in new cities. I might even be compelled to go camping. We’ll see what the year brings.
  • More learning and growing. Literally. One of my favorite things last year was picking tomatoes and blueberries in the summer with Olivia. Watching her eye up grandma’s cherry tomato bush and declare, “Hmm, lunch,” convinced me to bring that experience home. So we’re going to learn about gardening in our backyard this year. We’re already learning how to keep houseplants alive and we’re composting our kitchen scraps.

Isn’t that better? A little more aspirational and motivational. A lot less prone to abandonment. Here we come, 2015.