More Joy, Less Must-Do’s


New Year. New start. New you. If I was a betting girl, I would bet your resolution falls into one of the following categories:

Yep. Me too. All of the above. Except for this year, I am aiming to make these become lifestyle changes and not just resolutions. Hoping that they become the every day and not just the January. 

So what is a better resolution for 2022?

Well, this year, I am choosing the resolution of joy.

Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. 

Sure, there is a loooooooooong to-do list of things that you must do. Laundry and dishes and drop off and pick-ups and toilet cleaning and hiney wiping. And those unjoyful things are necessary. 

But we have a long list of things we choose to do on a daily basis. Baking cupcakes for the class party. Volunteering to be a judge at the talent show. Stuffing all the Valentine bags for the fundraiser. So many times we take on extra because we feel it is our mom duty.

But is it though?

Because there are people that love to take it all on. And if that is you, forge on my friend. But if you sign up for extra out of obligation or guilt, well, let’s just stop. For if it does not bring you joy, why are you adding it to your already overflowing plate?

Saying no is hard. But necessary. And saying no allows more opportunity for you to fill your free moments with the good and the fun and not the guilt-ridden obligations. 

This isn’t easy. Because we are wired as moms to do it all and then some. But saying no and letting go is oh so freeing, once you try it. Case in point…every year I make a 25 days of giving calendar for the month of December, encouraging our children to learn to give back. It started years ago and was a fun way to get us doing things together as a family, but as the kids got older, more and more activities filled our December days. And fitting in giving back, as awful as that sounds, became a chore that hung over me every single day. We would pack in our giving back activities to a few hours here and there and would divide and conquer the tasks. So the idea of all in it together quickly faded and the feeling of happiness dissipated. 

So, one December morning, I took that barely completed calendar hanging on my fridge and crumbled it up, and threw it in the trash. And that brought immeasurable relief. I then took the time to research giving back opportunities that we could do as a family in our area when it was convenient to us. Cleaning up the shoreline and sorting the toys for tots. These longer stretches of giving back allowed us to do it in a meaningful way and became a joyful event for all rather than a let’s hurry up and get this done so we can cross it off the list.

So I am looking for more of that in 2022.

  • Less of the “always done it so we must even though we hate it” and more of the “I love this so much I never want it to end”.
  • More of the forced family fun and less of the staring at the phone screen feeling inadequate based on the Instagram happiness starting back at you.
  • More of the time in the sunshine and less of the sitting in front of the TV or computer screen.
  • More outings and less avoidance.
  • More in-person shopping and less Amazoning.
  • More quality meals and fewer quick bites on the run.
  • More travel spending and less material spending.
  • More family game nights and less individual tech time.
  • More time helping those I love and less giving my time to causes just because I always have. 

So, make yourself a joy list and a less list. And try to make 2022 more about your own happiness rather than what you have always perceived happiness should be. Hoping this makes 2022 your most joyful yet!

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A New Jersey native who moved to Charleston in 1999. She met her husband, Rusty at Arts in 2001, got married at the Summerall Chapel at the Citadel and celebrated at Lowndes Grove Plantation in 2003. Moved to Daniel Island in 2007, where her son was born. Soon thereafter had a daughter and thought her family was complete (never say never!) Became a virtual educator in 2010 and then an administrator in 2013. In 2017, the family was blessed with another daughter, (surprise!) and have spent the last few years enjoying all that life with three kids in Charleston has to offer……..boating, beaching, eating, concert-ing, traveling, and celebrating the amazing Lowcountry!


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