Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions While Pregnant

Photo of two women looking at each other and talking. One is holding a digital tablet.

We’re beyond the first month of 2018, and if you’re like most people, you’re close to giving up on your New Year’s resolutions. According to U.S. News and World Report, about 80 percent of people have abandoned their resolutions by the second month of the year. If the average person struggles to eat healthier, save money or accomplish some other positive change, what hope do you have as an expecting mother?

Take a deep breath; committing to your resolution is easier than you think, even when you’ve got a baby on the way. All it takes is a little discipline and a willingness to accept a setback or two (or twelve!) Here are some tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions while simultaneously preparing for a baby:

1. Make one change at a time

Your to-do list is endless now that your due date is getting closer and closer. You’ve got to get a crib, stock up on diapers, make a number of doctor’s appointments and have a baby shower! In the rush of things, you’ll quickly set aside giant goals like “get in shape” or “save for a house.”

Instead, you’ll have more success breaking your resolutions down to their smallest components and tackling them one at a time. If your overall plan is to get in shape, attend two yoga classes for expecting moms each week. If you want to improve your overall health, commit to lowering your blood pressure by eating at least one meal each day with foods low in cholesterol.

Admittedly, this method means your progress will be slow, and you might not feel like you’ve accomplished anything for a while. Yet, it’s much easier to stick to than the alternative, especially when you’ve got an incoming infant occupying your mind.

A pregnant woman doing yoga outside. Take small steps to achieve your larger goals.

2. Use apps to track your goals

Smartphone apps and push notifications are fantastic for keeping you on track. When your mind is focused on something else, these tools remind you of your goals in progress.

For example, let’s look back at the “get in shape” resolution, but instead of taking a yoga class, you want to walk more. In this case, a Fitbit or similar fitness tracker might be a great investment. Fitbits in particular are worn like watches and monitor the number of steps you take each hour. If you haven’t taken enough steps to meet your preset goal, the device alerts you with a little vibration.

Fitbits aren’t the only tools that help you stay on track. There are tons of apps and devices that help you stick to your resolutions, from comprehensive money management apps like Mint to a program that simply reminds you to water your plants!

The key to this tip is to use a tool that sends you reminders automatically, not one that you have to check yourself. You’ll never remember to track your steps while you’re out shopping for baby gear, so let your Fitbit do the work for you.

3. Accept failure, but get back on your feet

If you’re a habitual resolution breaker, your behavior may have a simple explanation. Many people fall off the wagon every once in a while – missing a fitness class, eating fries instead of fish, or some other minor offense. Yet we tend to take failure to heart which, as The Guardian pointed out, demotivates us.

“The biggest obstacle to new habits is self-criticism,” Dr. Jessamy Hibberd, a clinical psychologist, told The Guardian in a conversation about New Year’s resolutions. “Study after study shows that self-criticism is correlated with less motivation and worse self-control, in contrast with being kind or supportive to yourself, as you would to a friend – especially when confronted with failure.”

When making your resolutions, understand that some days your feet will be too sore or your body too uncomfortable to do what ever it is you set out to do. Give yourself a break when you fail, then return to your goal with renewed vigor. The more you keep on, the easier it will be to turn these goals into lifelong habits.

Your new baby will bring lots of love into your life, but it’s still important to focus on yourself. Use these three tips to stick to your resolutions and be an amazing new mom.

Autumn Green is an artist-turned-writer who traded the sweet tea of the south for the deep dish pizza of Chicago. Her favorite subjects include art, culture, design, small business/entrepreneurship and healthful living.