Naturally, the new year is a time to make changes. I don't like to call them "resolutions" because I think that dooms all of us to failure when we don't meet our goals. But "changes" can be big or small. It can be something as simple as getting more sleep or something major like changing careers. And, unlike a diet, which is usually temporary, a change means something permanent.
Every year around this time, I try to examine where I am and really think about what changes will make the most positive differences in my life. My list always includes the obvious: Eat better, sleep more, write more. But I'm not talking about the standard fare. I'm talking about real change, the kind of change that improves your quality of life exponentially.
For me, it's about what I'm not doing and what I could be doing better. It's pretty simple. I would like to focus more on being present in the moment, especially with my children. Instead of always thinking about what's next, scanning my to-do list in my head or scrolling through non-important items on my phone, I really want to engage wherever I am, no matter what I'm doing with the people who are right there in front of me.
I have friends who do this really well. It's a gift: the lack of distraction, the ability to completely engage with the person in front of you. It's something children desperately need from their parents, but in a world where our smart phones seem to have a monopoly on our attention, this is becoming even more rare.
So, here it is. I'm saying it out loud so that you can hold me accountable. I vow to make every person I speak with feel like there is nothing more important I need to be doing in that moment, especially my children. I won't promise that I will be able to do it in every single second of my life, but it is my intention to try. Without intention, real change is not possible.
What do you want to change? Make a plan and do it.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.