3 meaningful resolutions parents should consider in 2016.

I struggle with keeping New Year's resolutions.

Yes, I'm always super-motivated in the beginning of the year.


Nobody can stop me in early January. GIF via Yamon Figurs Fitness.

But it doesn't take long for that motivation to fade in the weeks that follow. It's always some lame excuse: I'm too tired ... I'm not good enough ... it's too difficult. Blah, blah, blah.

As a dad, I teach my kids not to quit, and I realized that I'm not setting the greatest example for them by bailing on my resolutions every year.

In order to be a better parent and person, here are three resolutions I plan on committing to in 2016 and beyond.

1. Start enjoying "right now" with my children.

Waking up at 2:45 a.m. to do anything pretty much sucks. Especially when that "thing" includes answering urgent questions from your toddler daughter about if the sun and moon are friends (yes, that happened to me).

But then it happens. That tiny human isn't so tiny anymore. She's all grown up, has friends, starts dating, goes to college a thousand miles away, gets married, and starts a family of her own.

My daughters are 4- and 2-years-old, so I've felt as if I have a bit of a cushion before they grew up. But I've come across so many parents of adult children (including my own parents) who keep telling me that the toddler days ended before they even knew what happened.

I'm committing to slowing down and enjoying these fleeting moments (good and bad) with my kids because they won't last forever.

Let's not take these moments for granted. Images above taken from the Daddy Doin' Work Instagram feed, used with permission.

If you want a real-life example about the importance of valuing time with our children, read this touching story about parents who thought their newborn could die within days. It's truly humbling.

2. Commit to taking care of myself.

You know how flight attendants inform passengers that in case of an emergency to take care of themselves before tending to their kids? It seems counterintuitive, but it's on point.

Sadly, I didn't get the memo. On my priority list, my kids were always at the top. More often than not, I would skip meals, showers, and sleep if it meant taking care of them. Because of that, my ability to be the dad they needed suffered mightily due to being so physically and mentally exhausted all of the time.

But now I'm committing to taking care of myself. It doesn't take much, either. I can take a walk, go to the gym, watch sports, take a nap, or visit with friends. Whatever I choose to do, I can always find a moment in each day for some "me" time.

Every parent deserves some time to unwind. GIF via "Pokémon."

My kids deserve a happy, energetic dad, and that's not going to happen as long as I keep burning the candles from both ends.

3. Recognize that I might not win parent of the year, and that's OK.

It took me a while to realize it, but there is no Parent of the Year Award (and what does that even mean, anyway?). My daughter recently flushed her socks down the toilet because I told her that "only dirty stuff goes there." Does that make me a bad parent? A bad communicator, maybe, but not a bad parent.

Due to my own insecurities, I tried to show the world that I had my parenting game completely on point when in fact, I'm trying to figure out this fatherhood thing as I go along.

The only thing that really matters is raising happy and kind kids. If I do that, everything else become secondary.

I also need to start embracing the ugly, painful, and real aspects of parenting — because in reality, that's what most of us can relate to.

Parenting is really hard. Shouldn't we all commit to doing our part to make it a little easier?

I can't speak for everyone, but parenting is really overwhelming at times — at least it is for me. That's why I find myself struggling with the aforementioned three things, and I have a feeling that I'm not alone.

Wouldn't it be nice if we took a moment to give our fellow moms and dads a quick pat on the back for support? It takes very little effort and has an enormously profound impact.

GIF via Chibird.

And that's something that we can commit to right now.

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In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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