3 tips to do 70% of your best in 2024


New Year is often the time people decide they’re going to do more of something, less of another, transform this or ditch that. While I’m not one for resolutions, I can appreciate there are certain times of year when it’s easier to find motivation for healthful behaviours than others. (The rhyme isn’t the only reason Dry July is much more palatable concept for many than Dry December!)

If there are any Default Parents reading this and thinking about setting personal “goals” or “intentions” for 2024 but feeling demoralised before they even begin, I have three tips for you.

  1. You don’t have to constantly try to “improve” yourself. If you don’t want to make a goal, don’t do it. Ignore the rest of this article and move on.

  2. If you do want to change something or prioritise that thing you want to do, don’t wait for the perfect time. Sure, there are better and worse times to make changes, but a “good” time rarely (if ever) comes. If I’d waited until my child didn’t cry every time I left the house to take a moment to myself/host mothers’ circles/visit friends kid-free again, I would still be waiting. She’s nearly five years old.

  3. Either set the bar low, or be prepared to be forgiving with yourself. Once upon a time I was involved in physical activity research. We’d measure a volunteer’s strength, endurance etc., train them up for 6-12 weeks, then retest them. When it came time to assess the effectiveness of the training program, the particpants’ results could be included in the analysis so long as they’d completed about 70% of the prescribed training sessions.
    I figure if the research studies only expect formally enrolled research participants to do the things two thirds-ish of the number of times they’re meant to, that’s good enough for us too. Kids get sick, we get sick, stuff happens, right?

    I started a postnatal rehab program in April this year. Every week I aim to exercise five times for 15-40 minutes. I usually manage three of those sessions. It feels like slow going sometimes, but I can see now just how far I’ve come by doing what I can, when I can.

    Translating that to a longer term plan with a different type of aim, if you hope to read a book a month next year, you may want to set your bar a little lower. A more achievable goal could be 8 or 9 books/audiobooks for the calendar year - any extras are then happy bonus reads. If you stick with the “one a month” aim, be prepared to be flexible and forgive yourself if it takes a couple of extra months than you expect to hit that magic number 12. (If more reading is your aim, this short video “How to read more books in 2024” may be helpful.)

    I would love to hear what you’re hoping to prioritise to a level of approximately 70% during the less-worse times this coming year! That is to say - please share your 2024 goals/intentions here if you’d like to, and if your plan is to have no goals, I’d love to read about that too!


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