I’m good at making New Years Resolutions. Usually I come up with a list. Not too short, not too long. Avoiding anything wildly overambitious, whilst still maintaining an element of difficulty. As well as one thing I’ve almost completed. It’s nice to have something to cross off.
I like to think of it as an art form. Writing the list can take an entire day. Decorating it could easily take two. Marker pens, stickers, lamination – the options are endless. By which point it’s January 3rd and I’m holding a beautifully crafted set of resolutions. 80% of which are already broken.
It’s annoying. Falling short before the Christmas tree has even been packed away. Doesn’t exactly set you up for a year of high-achieving happiness.
Which is why I love this article.
How had I never noticed before? That all our resolutions come from a place of ‘not enough’.
Losing weight, getting fit, finding a boyfriend, changing jobs, getting out more. Resolutions that I have made hundreds of times. Always from a place of not being enough. Not thin enough, or fit enough. Not loved enough or successful enough or exciting enough.
No wonder it’s hard to find the motivation. Resolutions are basically a black and white, beautifully decorated, laminated list of all the ways I’m failing. Reminding myself of that every morning is never going to end well.
(If you have any resolutions that don’t fit this theory, I’d love to hear them. There may even be a prize – we still have a lot of Christmas chocolate.)
So this year I’m following the article’s advice. Trying out the ‘one word for the new year’ idea. I thought about it for a long time. And I surprised myself.
My word for 2014 is: gentle.
It’s not exciting. Or dramatic. It looks weird if you stare at it for long enough. If you google it, you mostly get pictures of flowers.
It’s not the kind of word I would have expected. But it might just be perfect.
This year I will be guided by gentleness. In theory, at least. I will try to be gentle.
When it takes me longer to recover than I would like. When I’m tired and grumpy. When I’ve let the children watch too much tv, or go to bed late, or eat nothing but spaghetti for a week. On the days when I still look 6 months pregnant. Gentle.
With the children.
When they’ve been up four times in the night. When they want my attention and I’d rather be doing something else. When they’re acting up because they’re tired, or worried, or three years old. On the days when I wish I’d gone back to work. Gentle.
When he’s busy. When he calls me from a hotel room and I’m fighting the children into bed. When he needs space to think, or plan, or build a workshop. On the days when we’re both too tired for a civil conversation. Gentle.
It could work. The really great news is, I can still spend three days making a pretty sign. Except that this year, looking at it might actually make me feel better.
Now, where did I put those marker pens?