When Amanda asked me to write a blog about New Year’s Resolutions, I responded (only in my head, of course) with a few words not fit for the ears of anyone under 28.

Admission of the Moment: I abhor New Year’s Resolutions.

I really do. Because, come on, when was the last time you made a resolution you actually kept? I start most new years full of enthusiasm and grand intentions, but when it comes down to it, my renewed commitment to the gym lasts 8 days, my plan to be a more attentive mother lasts until I’m asked to participate in yet another scavenger hunt that never ends, and my vow to finish a book lasts a whole, well, 12 months.

So as we embark on 2012, I’m taking a different approach. I’m resolving to focus on what I learned about myself and/or accomplished in 2011. Which includes the following:

1. I survived the better part of the Terrible Threes with Nina (because, as everyone knows, the Terrible Twos were only named as such that so we would get through them and think we were home free—only to realize it was all a lie and the 3s were, in fact, going to be the worst year of our lives).

2. I learned that the RPMs on the wheels that live in my brain don’t have to spin so fast, just more efficiently.

3. I realized that I need to commit myself to one philanthropic venture in 2012, and give it my all. It’s incredibly rewarding to donate $1 to homeless pets every time I visit Petsmart, or $3 to the research protocol of the moment each time I buy groceries, or $10 to this or $45.87 to that. It just feels a lot like, well, spinning my wheels in the philanthropic department. And much as I’d like to more consciously focus my energy in the business and personal arenas, I’d like to do so in the philanthropic ones. For 2012, I’ve chosen to support the efforts of those fighting fistula in Ethiopia. If you’re not familiar with this incredibly physically and emotionally devastating condition facing so many women in Ethiopia, you can read more here.

4. I’m patting myself on the back for figuring out what 4/5 of my kids’ “thing” is (at least, for the present moment) and having gotten them each signed up for a class, a club, or a lesson that allows them to nurture it.

5. I’ve learned that I have no aspiration to be a stage mom. Only a stage supporter. In cute boots.

6. I’ve accepted that I’m officially shorter than my oldest child, who is only 12.

7. I learned that the philosophy “One Step at a Time” really can take you pretty far.

8. I finally purchased a new mattress. After 16 years. No, I don’t want to talk about how disgusting that is.

9. I congratulated myself for doing my time, and then I moved forward from the mini-van. I’m so pleased.

10. I learned that some days, I want to do absolutely nothing. And that on those days, it’s really best to simply do absolutely nothing. Because motivation always reappears with a vengeance. And when it does, it really is of great benefit (to me as well as the rest of the world) to be rested!

There you have it. So, what did you learn about yourself in 2011? Because more importantly than simply planning the future, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the past. Because without it, the future has nothing upon which to build.

Elizabeth Lyons is the author of the hilarious You Cannot Be Serious: and 32 Other Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom as well as the Ready or Not series on raising twins. You can find out more about her books and other ventures at www.Elizabethlyons.com