Wednesday, January 2, 2008

WFMW--resolutions of self-kindness

Several years ago, when I still had time to read magazines and newspapers, one of the most influential articles I read was by a woman who had a revolutionary idea (to me at the time, anyway) about new year's resolutions. How about making ones that are nice to ourselves? She pointed out it is dark and bleak in January; the excitement of the holidays are over, and (pre-MLK-holiday-days) there were no vacation days coming for months...and we're beating ourselves up over losing weight or spending too much money? C'mon, she said, lighten up, and make your resolutions ones that will be enjoyable to keep, not something to slog through.

That year (again, pre-kids), my husband and I resolved to go to a new restaurant every month. When that got pricey, we kept the resolution but made it a cheapie one month and a splurge the next. It was a huge hit; it kept us honest about making date time with each other, even in busy work seasons, and gave us a chance to try some dynamite new places, ranging from hole-in-the-wall ethnic to fancy-shmancy-always-wanted-to-go.

Alas, those days are gone (or at least morphed) with the kids in tow. But we can still make the "kind to ourselves" resolutions. Ours together this year is to see one new movie a month, either on-demand or a borrowed DVD. (The Simp*sons Movie and H*arry Potter 4 are both coming to us from sisters-in-law post-Christmas stashes soon, and H*airspray is on-demand right now.) Mine personally is still in progress, at least in the kind-to-myself category; in the traditional "flogging" category is that I'd like to get my newly-cleared-and-even-more-newly-trashed-with-Christmas-wrapping space clear again, I'd like to read more, I wholeheartedly hope to yell at my kids less, and the ever popular lose weight. But (maybe other than the room), those resolutions will keep. Winter is long, and there's no need to start beating myself up over this stuff before Epiphany has even arrived. So. Deep breaths. The world is round. And there isn't much more important in my life once the boys are asleep than snuggling in on the couch with my much-loved husband, who adores the movies and misses them like I miss reading and sleeping in, and catching up. I'll bet there have been at least 12 movies worth seeing that have come out since 2003, and we are hoping to hit them all by 2009.

What's your resolution? What's working for you in the post-holiday-daze? Check out Shannon's blog and leave your ideas there too!


Domestic Goddess said...

Okay, you've got me. Even though I vow NEVER to make a resolution (because I hate being disappointed with myself when it is not obtained) I have to admit I like the idea of making a resolution to be good to myself this year. Due to circumstances beyond my control I rarely get put first. I am thinking this year I AM DUE. Hot baths and relaxation, here I come! I personally and solemnly swear to get my haircut more than four times this year, to paint my toenails once a month, to put lotion on each day and to find time each day to sit and read a book (mostly because I am in the middle of four at the moment and they are collecting dust).
I also will try to do the less-yelling-at-kids thing but I'm always striving for that.

Playful Professional said...

I like this idea... but some of the resolutions I would consider flogging are kind of being nice to myself at the same time. If I go running, I can shop, if I cook, I get better food... etc. Thanks!

O said...

Playful Professional, I agree completely that no one makes a resolution thinking "this will make my life miserable." But I suspect many people have a much better chance of not feeling terrible about themselves if they miss a month with a new restaurant than if they are too tired to hit the gym by the third day of the new year! The gym is clearly on my list too, but my primo resolutions are ones that are a pleasure to keep all the way around.
Here's to a successful new year for all!