New Year’s Goals for My Imperfect Life

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Well, we are a month into the new year and I congratulate all of you who are still going to the gym. Not for the first time, I spent New Year’s Eve awake and alone, watching the ball drop while the rest of the family slept. As many of us do at the turn of the year, I considered what I wanted to change for 2018, if anything. There are always the traditional resolutions – exercise more, eat healthier, get more sleep. While these are great choices (albeit somewhat unrealistic with three little kids), I wanted something that truly would benefit me, my family, and my community. So here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Kiss my wife more. We hung a mistletoe for the first time ever this past Christmas season, and it made me realize that I don’t kiss my wife enough. So, my #1 goal for 2018, is to pucker up more regularly.
  2. Get outside more. Sitting behind a desk for most of the day isn’t good for anyone’s health. And with the continual advance of technology, we are passing on the sedative lifestyle to our children. This year, I want to spend more time outdoors with my family and not just at the playground. I want to get off the beaten path, splash in the stream and feel the mud between my toes. I want my girls to have a connection with nature and understand that spending an afternoon lying in the grass and watching the clouds float by is perfectly acceptable.
  3. Start a new tradition. Traditions are great. They are what memories are built on. I don’t yet know what that new tradition might be, but I want to create a yearly memory that we can build on as a family.
  4. Learn a new skill. This is a fun one. You can always learn something that would be useful throughout your life like automotive maintenance, photography, or woodworking. But why not also try something purely for the fun of it like archery, fencing, or water polo.
  5. Volunteer. My wife and I are always talking about ways that we can give besides financially. With three young kids, taking the extra time away to volunteer is difficult. But recently I read about volunteer opportunities with your kids. I think that this a great way to get the whole family involved in giving back to the community. However, if this is not a possibility, then think about starting just outside your front door – mow your neighbor’s lawn, bring them a meal, or walk their pet. If we all simply loved our neighbors more, this world would be a better place.
  6. Be grateful (and complain less). That’s right, put on an attitude of gratitude. Most of the things that we complain about anyways are “first world problems,” right?! With three kids and one income at the moment, we are not living the high life. While we don’t have everything that we want, we are blessed with everything that we need. And I am grateful for that.
  7. Teach my kids patience through my own actions. You have all heard it, kids learn more by watching us than by what we say. It’s our actions, not our words that will have the lasting effect, so if you want your child to learn a lesson, then live the lesson. I have always been a patient person, but my kids have pushed me beyond into frustration land (I may have even snapped a couple of toothbrushes in half once or twice). It’s time to recapture my patience and my control so that they can learn it too.
  8. Keep it simple. While this is listed last, it really should take precedence over all the others. Put away the Pinterest and Facebook, and stop trying to live the perfect life. Instead, accept the imperfect one that you have right in front of you. Whether you are in a season of abundance or one of the sleepless nights, be content and find the joy in it.

Whatever your goals are, have an awesome 2018!

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Michael Pistiolas is a father to three little princesses: a bossy 7 year-old with a voracious appetite for books, a comical 3 year-old with a stubborn streak, and an adorable 2 month old with a full head of hair. Along with his superhero wife of 10 years, and a philosophy of “love thy neighbor”, they walk through life, homeschooling, and parenthood in general. During the week, Michael works as a Landscape Architect with The Kleingers Group where he designs outdoor spaces for campuses, schools, parks, and local communities. He is a longtime runner with aspirations to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon; however, currently settles for treadmill time in the early mornings or late evenings when the household is asleep. Additionally, Michael has a passion for all things fantasy and sci-fi, and spends his free time reading and playing tabletop games. He has already successfully converted his eldest child to a Star Wars fan and eagerly teaches her any game she is willing to play with him. His favorite color is blue, his favorite food is spanikopita, and his favorite Disney princess is Belle.