A New Year doesn’t come around too often—only, say, once a year. So with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, approaching, it’s a great time to take a mental inventory of your life. What’s going on, what’s not going on, and how can next year be better than the year before?

As a Jewish woman, here are two main areas that I believe we should strive to make time for: becoming nicer people, and fulfilling our own personal and unique potential.

Becoming a Nicer Person

“Before we set out to It’s a great time to take a mental inventory of your lifeconquer the world, we must first conquer ourselves.”

It isn’t simple to do all that we moms do, and it certainly isn’t easy to do it all and be nice. It is just so much easier to point out the flaws in the world around us than to look within. What would you rather discuss with your friend/husband/self: the awful traffic, bad service at the store, or the tremendous guilt you felt at 7:32 AM this morning when you didn’t have patience for your four-year-old?

Where are your weak spots? Go on, we all have them. Get uncomfortable and identify them. Go on, you can do it. Write them down.

Then brainstorm ways around them.

Cranky with the children in the evenings? Crank out an evening routine. (Extra credit if you can grab a power nap, too!)

Have you forgotten what your spouse looks like? Can’t get out in the evenings for a spontaneous date? Sit down together and work out a plan—maybe lunch dates, maybe block out one day a week/month and book the babysitter for the entire year. (Think that is too obsessive? It’s not radical if it’s going to bring more peace into your relationship.)

Stressed from the laundry/mess/crunchy floor? Develop a healthy disregard for the impossible, and outsmart those Cheerios once and for all!

What gets measured gets managed

What gets measured gets managed. Write those smart solutions down and make them a part of your life on a long-term basis. Tweak, of course, when necessary.

They say that the weak compete against one another, but the truly strong compete against themselves. Continue to challenge yourself to leverage your time-management prowess and bring more tranquility to your home.

The Best Me That I Can Be

“Have a profound inner appreciation of the tremendous capacities which one possesses.”

Now that you are treating all those around you like royalty, it’s time to have a deep and meaningful conversation with yourself about your true talents. Are you feeling self-actualized? Or do you feel that you don’t have enough time or money to pursue your dreams? Are you afraid of failure?

There is nothing as dangerous for children as the unfulfilled dreams of their mother. Children need to feel that their mother wants to be doing what she is doing. You would be surprised at their ability to sniff out resentment.

What would you like to spend more time doing for the benefit of yourself and/or others? What would you do all day if there were no financial or time constraints?

Go ahead and take a few steps toward fulfilling your own Break your goal down into smaller stepspersonal and unique potential. Always wanted to paint? Garden? Learn the daily Torah portion? Engage in public speaking? Write a book? Commit to doing something (anything!) to get closer to being the fully actualized you.

Break your goal down into smaller steps, and keep on giving it time and attention. The book you want to write may take you two years, but it’s those diligent baby steps that will lead you to completion.

Never underestimate the power of continual 15-minute slots of uninterrupted and focused time. If you don’t believe that 15 minutes can be effective, visualize your toddler and his friends in your home with cans of paint. Point taken.

A goal that’s not written down is just a wish, so be sure to write down specific, actionable steps for each of your goals. Once you have overcome the initial hurdle of disregarding the impossible, the rest will fall into place. And with sustainable effort and attention, your dreams won’t fall by the wayside.

This New Year, let’s celebrate a new you. Change is possible, one step at a time.