We are now near the end of January, and people are talk about the resolutions they made at New Year. They made a promise to themselves that they would or would not do something. I think the reason that many people make these promises is because they believe the result will be greater happiness.
Let’s think of some examples of my past resolutions:
“I will go to the gym four times a week and get fitter because that will make me happy.”
“I will stop eating chocolate to make me thinner because that will make me happy.”
Thin and happy
Yes, being fitter can a good thing, but did it really make me happy? I went to the gym four times a week for about a month. I was a bit fitter, but I couldn’t sustain it for long. Even if I had, I don’t think it would have made me much happier.
I did stop eating chocolate one year – for a while. And perhaps I was a bit thinner. Maybe my self-esteem was a little higher, but I am not sure that being thinner was the final part of my plan. Sometime, when we make a plan for, say, being thinner, or finding a new job, our real intentions may be: “I will meet the partner of my dreams”, or “I will be a great success”. This does not always happen, and can lead to disillusionment.
Our expectations of being “fit” or “thin” can also be a challenge – can we really live up to not eating chocolate, or going to the gym most days of the week? What if a new job doesn’t come along straight away? How do we feel if we don’t achieve our goals?
I somehow felt that if I were a “proper” mum in my own eyes, not in anyone else’s, my life would be better. No-one had suggested that my children being in childcare two days a week while I was working made me any less of a mum than others who did things differently, and it was not about judging those who had other ways of managing family life. This was all about my expectations of myself.
Funnily enough, it wasn’t long before I realised that I was spending more time with my children in the “whinging hour”. The time between school and bed can be horrific! And I had CHOSEN this?
Joking aside, it has made a difference to my children – my daughter is certainly less tired. And I still love them, even in their worst moments, and when they are emotional and cranky. I am privileged to be able to share these times with them, even if it can be truly exhausting!
I have accepted this: I will NEVER fit into those bargain skinny jeans I bought, no matter how much I cycle instead of driving, as I am not prepared to sacrifice chocolate and tasty food enough. Having occasional (don’t laugh) treats does help to keep me happy. The skinny jeans can go jump.
I can improve my levels of happiness by being “present” with my children when they are at home, and enjoy spending time with them. We can even eat a chocolate or two (theirs, of course, not mine). I cannot imagine being happier wearing skinny jeans than I am when I hear my daughter’s infectious giggle, or share in my son’s delight at being about to write his name. I just have to decide what my priorities are, and stick with them. That’s my resolution.
And the other one is to use the slow cooker more so that I am not spending my time in the kitchen when my children come home from school. I hope I am being realistic with this one…
Do you have any resolutions that you are prepared to share?
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