What I Learned about Resolutions from ‘Positive Parenting’

Jan 27, 2021

By Morgan Granfield

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making new year’s resolutions. Making them – and breaking them. Several years ago, I took a different approach. I can thank the countless hours, cumulative months’ worth of studying I have completed on parenting, for leading me to this realization. What does parenting have to do with resolutions, you ask? EVERYTHING!

Learning the principles of “positive parenting” has led to breakthroughs in understanding in every dimension of my life. This philosophy has enhanced my self-awareness; improved my marriage tenfold; made me better a better salesperson, colleague, educator, advocate, communicator in general; and, of course, helped me to raise two of the most auspicious boys.

For those who are not familiar, “positive parenting” principles are really about changing the parent’s behavior not the child’s. The most life-changing tenant of this philosophy, and a mindset that took a lot of practice for me to master, is to always speak in terms of what can be done. Tiny brains (and full-grown brains for that matter) are unable to take a restriction and deduce an alternative action that they should take instead.

For example, if a mother tells her child, “Don’t run in the house.” The child doesn’t think, “Mom just told me I can’t run in the house. That means I should walk.” All the child’s brain hears is what comes after the negative – “run in the house.” A better approach is to tell the child, “We walk in the house. You may run outside.” The child, then, is empowered to execute on the what because he understands the why.

Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise 80 percent of new year’s resolutions fail. So often we see resolutions as an opportunity to restrict ourselves or subtract things from our lives. Lose weight. Stop a bad habit. Reduce screen time. Stop procrastinating. Applying this newfound knowledge of how our brains function, we understand why, when we tell ourselves we’re not going to eat dessert every night before bed that come bedtime, like clockwork, we’re foaming at the mouth for dessert!

A much more productive approach to improving our lives (that’s what resolutions are all about, right?) is to focus on what we want in our lives, and what we need to do to make space for those things. To take it a step further, we must also identify WHY we want what we want. If resolutions are the “what,” then intentions are the “why.”

Resolutions are the “doing” part of life (actions). Intentions are the “being” part of life. How you want to feel, where to focus your energy, what gives you purpose and drive. They are the inspiration and motivation behind the goal. The beautiful thing about intentions is that there is no room for failure. Only achievement or uncovering lessons you needed to learn in order to achieve in the future. Win, Win!

Intentions and Goals Illustration

The author’s 2021 intentions and goals illustrate how we can be purposeful in our actions to achieve the state of being we desire.

By first identifying our true intentions, we are in a better position to take action to obtain that desired state. Intentions are the guiding principles that steer our lives. When our goals align with our intentions, we find contentment, equanimity, and true happiness because we live authentically – regardless of the outcome.

About the Author

Morgan Granfield is a high-energy contributor to the Digital Realty Partners and Alliances Organization, helping to create circles of influence to achieve digital transformation success. A believer that diversity creates an undeniable power to outperform the competition, Granfield is a fierce advocate for inclusion. She sits on Digital Realty’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and their Women’s Leadership Forum. Granfield is a 2017 and 2020 ACT Award recipient, recognized for her outstanding contributions and volunteerism in Alliance of Channel Women’s Membership, Events and Communications committees. A certified yoga instructor and a Texas A&M Certified Master Gardener, she is a proponent of lifelong learning as the secret to a successful and fulfilling life.