I don't know about you, but though I hate to bid the Christmas season goodbye, I look forward to the fresh beginnings that each New Year brings. For me, it is a time to focus on bringing positivity back into my life and a chance to once again attempt to climb Mt. Everest. I mean that figuratively of course - you surely will not find me traipsing all over the highest mountain in the world.

Mt. Everest is the figurative mountain that one needs to "climb" and conquer to reach their desired goal or goals. For me, at the top of my Mt. Everest are the lofty aspirations of eating healthier, exercising, balancing time more wisely to accomplish more, and getting the household finances in order. To some, my desired targets are what they hit every day, but these objectives continue to allude me for various reasons. Now believe me, I am certainly not blaming my choice of double stuff Oreo cookies over a juicy red apple on anyone but me and my need for instant gratification. But my challenge is to keep my eye on the prize, whatever that may be -more productive use of time, a healthier lifestyle and financial outlook - rather than satisfying immediate desires. We each have our own mountain of obstacles to climb, and for many, this is the time of year to look back up at the sky and reinvigorate our efforts to be our best selves.

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While my little "ra-ra, go team" rant may be lovely, I am sure you are wondering what my New Year's resolutions have to do with being a mommy. Besides my daughter having the obvious impact on both my time (or lack thereof) and monetary obligations, she is the inspiration for my desire to finally accomplish what I have been longing for. Think about this - I want my daughter to live a long, healthy, active life, yet what type of example am I setting while stuffing my sedentary body with junk and participating in only spectator sports? My goal is not to become the next Monica Brandt or Venus Williams, but I do need to at least try to set a good example by engaging in some type of activity and keeping Oreos a little further away than arm's reach.

With a full-time job and the responsibilities of raising a child and running a household, time is a commodity to me, as I am sure to most other parents as well. Tending to the

necessary evils of maintaining a home means that time spent on laundry or cleaning the bathroom is not time well spent with my daughter. Or, when I dedicate play time to my daughter, I physically forgo the chores, but my mind still lingers on what is left to get done. Not to mention, I still need time to myself to indulge in a hobby or two, such as painting or reading. I don't engage in much of either activity anymore, but I would like to. A well-rounded, balanced time schedule in my life and subsequently, my daughter's, will make us both happier, calmer, and filled with more positivity.

And, oh the finances. Couldn't we all just use a little help there? My parents would not buy something unless they saved up the money for it. My generation, however, saved up the room on the available credit card balance to get their fix for the "I want it now" craving. And, no, this is not modus operandi for all people my age, but considering the average credit card debt per household is $15,788 according to creditcards.com, I believe this clearly shows there are many that suffer from poor impulse control like I do. I have become much more responsible with my finances already, but there is still room for improvement. How I would love for my daughter to learn financial responsibility at a young age.

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, the examples that we set as parents cast the framework for children's beliefs and behaviors -values that will stay with them as they become functioning members of society. When I think about my little girl and her future, I want her to be happy, smart, vibrant, successful and not worry about weight, finances, etc. It is my desire for her to have a bright tomorrow and the best life has to offer. If I can lead by example now, then perhaps there will exist an easier road for my child to travel to reach her aspirations. Maybe my mountain will just be a mole hill for her. For now, I am going to start with baby steps headed in the right direction. The year 2011 is looking up for me already. May the New Year shine bright for you, too.

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