Before I had kids, setting New Year’s resolutions was fun, like a project that involves searching around on Pinterest for ideas. I remember brainstorming ways to complicate my simple life—things like “read a book every month” or “learn how to do a handstand.”

Now, New Year’s sneaks up so quickly after Christmas that on December 31, I am just sitting down for the first time to think about next year. And my resolutions? I can think of so many things to improve that coming up with ideas feels like writing a self-help Encyclopedia.  My mind first wants to categorize everything: the kids, my health, my relationship, my job, the dog, the house …  without even trying, I can put at least two or three resolutions in each of these categories.

Is there something magical about the new calendar year that I should be able to tackle all of my goals as soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1? Probably not. Should I just forget about resolutions altogether and keep doing what I’m doing? In my opinion, no.

I may not be any better equipped to exercise patience with my 3-year-old or stop living out of laundry baskets in 2015, but to me, just acknowledging the aspects of my life that I’d like to change is clarifying. At the very least, writing these things down makes me feel more accountable to myself. Turning my big-picture goals (such as “keep the house clean”) into measurable and realistic actions  (such as “vacuum upstairs every Sunday”) makes them seem a bit less far-fetched. And prioritizing what matters the most to me (certainly not vacuuming) helps me determine where I want to focus my time and energy.

Most people don’t stick to their resolutions. And most likely, I’ll bomb most of mine, too. But if the practice of writing down my goals (at least once a year!) can give me just a tiny bit of clarity and direction, I’m happy to do it.