Not Resolutions, or A Question of Contentment

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. For a few years, I have tried to do “word for the year” – a word, an idea to be explored and expressed throughout a calendar year. Last year’s was Gratitude. It didn’t go down well (The Dude still laughs about it). I have a word for 2017, but I am not going to tell you what it is. (I learned from last year!)

Of course, the not doing resolutions is a direct follow on from the “refusing to feel guilty for failing to keep my resolution.” Plus I don’t diet, I find that trying to restrict my behaviours only makes me obsess about them more, and if I try to quit something and fall off the wagon, I end up doing whatever I was supposed to not do to a much greater degree. Coffee, chocolate, Facebook, thinking gloomy thoughts, eating Pringles. So resolutions are generally just a recipe for failure and guilt and self-recrimination. (All of which can easily be achieved without the resolutions anyway.)

But this all got me thinking about why we do resolutions? Or word for the year? Or any of that stuff? Why do we try to make ourselves be the better person that we don’t have the strength to be? Why do we try so hard to be more? Stronger? Healthier? Wittier? Tidier? More sylish / sociable/ well-informed / skilled? Why can’t we just be enough? Love enough? Cry enough? Give enough? Hope enough?

What if we just did the small, simple things, and got small, simple results? What if we could be content to make our loved ones smile, to have clothes on our back and food in our tummies? What if it were enough to just be content? If we weren’t chasing our tails trying to be this mythical person that we are not, and instead decided to be content?

Just content. What then?

We’d have to love ourselves. Just the way we are.

And of course things would change, because they always do. But if we believe that we are good enough, we would start to treat ourselves with respect, valuing ourselves rather than society’s opinion of us. So then the things that we change are a natural part of becoming happier. I do this and I am happier, so I do more of this. (Please don’t use this logic to allow yourself to become an addict or alcoholic.) I become an agent of change for myself, because I am lovely, because I am content to be me, and that me becomes a better me.

Maybe.

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