Re-Solutions: A New Look at Goal Setting and Planning

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Resolutions get a bum rap, but if you think about them in a different way, as solutions to problems that you need to address once again, you’ll find that, yes, you do need to make resolutions after all.

A girl standing by a gate in a field in Bath, UK.

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FishChick11 is very much a mini-me, both in looks and in temperament. This means that the next 10 years will be incredibly interesting. Ahem. Kidding aside, though, she’s smarter than I was at 11, and a whole lot wiser. Because smart and wise, are not the same. Am I right?

Often our conversations lead me to rethink my assumptions and how I’ve been doing things. She is quick-witted and fast-thinking, a lover of consistency and quick to call me out when I’m not quite so consistent. Ahem.

So, last week when she asked me how to spell resolution, she answered her own question before I got three letters out of my mouth, “Oh! It’s re-solution, isn’t it?”

She went about her merry way, and I sat there contemplating something I now know that I didn’t before.


I knew how to spell it, yes, but you see, resolutions get a bad rap. I’m not sure why that is, because the very people who don’t make resolutions always follow it up with a speech on goal setting and why that’s important. It’s splitting hairs at best.

That said, I love this new way to think about goal setting, planning, and yes, resolutions.

Flatlay of Mission statement worksheet next to mug of pens.

The Fresh Start Planning Kit

Re-solving something.

One might ask, “Why solve something again that you already solved?”

Remember what Mr. Incredible says in the opening minutes of The Incredibles,

No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for… for ten minutes!

To which I say, “Obviously, YOU are not a parent. Or at least not a mom.”

I think this is what we do. This new word pretty much sums up our existence as moms. We re-solve problems. Why? Because we in this household, particularly those under 30, are constantly growing and changing. What worked so well to soothe a frustrated child doesn’t work so well ten, five, or even one year later. Does it?

In our lives as mothers, we are constantly re-solving problems and troubleshooting challenging situations. And in some ways, that is how it should be. The problems and challenges are a little more nuanced and grown up because our children are. Because we are.

A boy cleaning the bathroom in front of a mirror.

For instance, let’s take chores and kids. Kids grow and change and increase their abilities to contribute to the running of the household. Their messes evolve from toddler toys to Duplos to Lego to make-up/keys/gaming devices/etc.

How you handled chores when your kids were toddlers must be different than how you handle chores when your kids are teens. Yes, you may have solved the chore dilemma five or ten years ago, but it may need to be revisited. Re-solved.

I write this to encourage you. You are not going crazy. You may need to revisit your systems of doing things. You may need to re-solve some problems whose previous solutions are no longer working. And this is okay.

Consider this: you may not be dealing with the same challenges you were months or years ago. It’s that the solutions you found months or years ago, no longer work as well as they once did.

Off with the old and on with the new. Let’s make some re-solutions this year. Without fear.

What will you Re-Solve this year?

New Year accessories with text overlay: Re-Solutions: solving problems that need new answers.

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  1. This is such a great way to think about New Year’s resolutions! Your daughter is a genius 😉 Thanks for sharing this–and I’m inspired by your list!

  2. This was a great reminder!!! Thanks, Jessica. Sometimes I let the resolving of problems drive me batty… but I think it’s OK.

  3. Bless you, for a thought provoking article. I am one who gave up on resolutions because they never seem to work. So I said no, but I do have intentions. I think the real difference is in the wording.

    Resolutions for most of us seem to be like “I will not eat candy, or I will follow the diet and lose x number of pounds”. Usually an unrealistic number as well. Then when we don’t follow the diet or eat some candy, we give up. Intentions for me are I will try to eat more vegetables and fruits and less candy. That is workable. And I have found that long term small permanent changes to my lifestyle make it easier to create lasting changes. So, I am exercising more, since I pay for that gym membership, I’m going to use it, and slowly working on a healthier diet.

    May the year ahead bring you joy and laughter.

  4. Oh yes, new problems new solutions required as our youngest turns 13. The easy going tween has turned into the stereotypical sullen, surly teenager. And of course, whatever the problem is Mom either created it or is making it worse. Sigh. She has always been very independent, but I think more one-on-one time with mom is in order so the to do list needs to adjust to allow more time for that top priority.

    1. I think you are absolutely right. I have found that when the kid looks like he’s threatening to go off the rails, spending some down time together and talking about stuff seems to really steady him. Good luck!

  5. I read your goal as “mindread more.” it took me a minute, after thinking, well, how the heck is she gonna do THAT? haha. excellent post. definitely thought provoking.