You have big responsibilities that necessitate your time. There are "musts" on your list, essential and nonnegotiable parts of your daily experience. But within your life, within your day, there always are areas where you can make choices.
What kind of choices are you making?
Do you do what you want to do or do you do what you think you should do? Do you volunteer because it makes you look like a great parent or because it sounds fun? Do you accept an invitation to a party because you want to be there or because you're afraid to say no?
Step back, take a breath, and notice what goes into your decision making. It's wonderful to help others, but not if you are sacrificing yourself in the process. How can you give of yourself authentically if you are overwhelmed or depleted? How can you have fun at a social event if you really want to be home relaxing?
This year recognize your needs and practice listening to them. Let go of being everything to everybody so you can pay attention to yourself.
If you don't, you may end up resentful of those who ask for your time. But they shouldn't be blamed for asking; it's your responsibility to answer them genuinely.
Maybe this year you practice saying no. No to the things that don't feel good. This creates space for things that do feel right-a night out with your partner, a long conversation with your child, an afternoon nap.
Yes, a nap. You deserve it. How do I know this? Because we all do.
We all deserve to be cared for, honored and respected. Instead of looking to the outside world for this validation, why don't we validate ourselves? Guilt may make an appearance, but you can take a deep breath and let it go. Guilt is based on an old way of thinking; an unnecessary self-depreciating martyrdom. Nobody can make you feel guilty-you choose to feel it and only you can let it go.
Sound impossible? Then practice. Make this the year you kindly say no to unwanted obligations so you can say yes to the things and people closest to your heart.
Make this the year you focus on how you feel on the inside rather than focusing on outside perception.
This is your time; this is your life-make the choices that honor who you are.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.