Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering!

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don’t Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month’s topic is Natural New Year’s Resolutions. Be sure to check out all of the participants’ posts through the links at the bottom of this page.
Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to write for next month’s carnival.


I have always been a person of resolve. I’ve been setting and chasing goals for as long as I can remember. (Nerd Alert: I read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People when it was first published – I was 12!) But, over the last few years I’ve made a major shift in the way I set goals, and it has dramatically improved my success rate.

For so long, my goals were all about what I didn’t want. Weight. Anger. Stress. Pain. Tension. Waste. Debt. They were “healthy” goals, but they were all focused on the wrong thing. Instead of mentally moving toward something, my goals had me running away.

With every step forward, I had one eye looking ahead while the other was watching the monster chasing me. That scattered focus limited my progress.

Now, I’ve learned that a good goal has gravity. Like a mother waiting with open arms for a hug from her child, they draw you in. Good goals empower and encourage.

Today, when I set goals, I focus on what I’m moving in the direction of. Almost magically, the stuff I’m moving away from becomes a distant memory.

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This article has 8 comments

  1. Donna @ Eco-Mothering Reply

    I love how you said good goals draw you in like a mother with open arms. Beautiful. And it really is all about where your attention is — looking at the wanted instead of the unwanted. Well said. Thank you!

    • Jennifer Hoffman Reply

      Thank you, Donna! It helps me so much to feel like the goals are home, where I’m meant to be. And a mother’s arms are living representation of that!

  2. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ Reply

    Reframing goals to be what you want is so key. Thank you for the inspiration. My family and I are in the middle of our yearly “Family Mission Statement” rewrite and I’ll bring this idea with me as we discuss it.

  3. Lucy Reply

    What a great shift in focus, thank you for that reminder. It is certainly easier to become wound up about what we’re trying to get rid of instead of picturing what we’re actually trying to achieve!

  4. Krystyna Bowman Reply

    I would love to see a “before” and “after” of how you would write the same goal from the two different perspectives of running away from something and running towards something. I like the idea – as a goal-setter and being a concrete kind of person, I am having a hard time picturing how you would articulate a goal in anything but a positive that would motivate you to go for it.

    • Jennifer Hoffman Reply

      Thank you for your question, Krystyna. For me, I find that some very healthy and positive goals, when focused on what I don’t want or what I’m trying to eliminate, are more challenging to meet than when I focus on what I do want. For example, if I say, “I want to eliminate white sugar from my diet,” I get trapped in this anxiety-producing circle of avoidance. And, I spend a ton of energy focused on that thing I don’t want. Constantly asking, “does this have sugar?” makes me think all the time about what I don’t want, hence making it harder to actually resist sugar.

      If instead, I say, “I want to fill up on and meet my needs for nourishment with healthy, whole foods.” All of my thoughts are focused on exactly what I do want. My mental energy is spent thinking about all the amazing, delicious food choices that are good for me, instead of the ones that are not so good.

      Does that make more sense? I’d welcome your thoughts on the distinction.

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