During my time off (and even squeezed into the hectic weeks before Christmas), I did a lot of pondering, writing, and planning. I’ve been reading old notes and taking new ones. I’ve been thinking about my past successes and times when I was settled into a sweet spot in life and business. I’ve also been looking at my failures and areas of disappointment to learn and grow from them. As I’ve marinated on all of these things and how I want to approach the new year, two words kept rising to the top –
contentment & health
Two words that are often thrown around lightly, but when dissected, they are well-rounded and robust. They encompass a lot and require a lot.
When I think about being defined as a contented, healthy person, I am filled with a sense of wholeness and calm. And I know those are the two areas I want to focus on in 2019. More than focus… I want those words, posed in the form of a question, to be the filter that everything is sifted through.
Is this decision (however big or small) being made from a place of contentment?
Will this decision or action lead to improved health?
contentment without conditions
Contentment is something I’ve wrestled with for a long time. Sometimes, I am embracing it and am genuinely satisfied. Other times, I am restless and feel inadequate, like I’m missing something or missing out on something. Something else needs to be added to the shopping list or to-do list.
In dwelling on the word contentment and allowing the meaning to fully expand in my thoughts, I have come to realize that I’ve been approaching it wrong. I’ve been seeing contentment as only a destination and I often put conditions on it. Contentment with contingencies, exceptions, or conditions isn’t really contentment at all.
And contentment (or the lack of it) colors so many things in our lives from our material possessions to how we look, our accomplishments, our talents, our possibilities, our abilities, our relationships, how we parent… The list is endless.
I want contentment to color all of those aspects of my life.
I think contentment is found a thousand times a day. It’s in all of the little decisions to not be petty or materialistic or jealous or selfish. It’s in the individual choices to be satisfied, to choose joy, and to not measure our lives by the world’s standards.
health without strings
If you’ve read my blog for a few years, you know I have been on a rollercoaster with my weight and health. I’ve done all sorts of diets and plans. I’ve lost weight and gained weight. I’ve stuck with it for months, even years, only to slip right back down the slope again.
So, I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even want to talk about it here. I don’t even want to mention it, because it’s getting embarrassing. It’s beyond embarrassing, really. If I can’t get it together and keep it together in this area, I just need to shut up about it.
But, I know there are many, many, many people who feel the same way and share this very struggle. We just can’t get it and keep it together in the area of health and fitness.
So, as I was dwelling on the word health for 2019, I was doing so with a bit of skepticism. Not this again. This cannot be starting another diet plan and another workout regimen. This cannot be counting calories and eliminating food groups. This has to be about health. I’ve declared health as a goal before, but it honestly had strings attached. Health had to come in the form of weight loss and a smaller pant size or it wasn’t worth my time and energy.
This needs to be about pursuing health without strings.
Making healthy choices for the sake of making healthy choices alone.
That means I don’t hop on the scale every day to see if I’m winning or losing. It means that I celebrate making healthy decisions each day and trust that the benefits will come as those healthy decisions add up over time. And this goes beyond food and fitness. This encompasses mental and spiritual health as well as physical.
I’m smiling as I write all of this because I already feel overwhelmed and like I might be setting myself up for failure. But, then I think through what is required, not in the full scope of all of 2019, but in smaller and more manageable increments of time. I can choose health today. I can choose contentment this hour.
And I go back to asking questions…
Am I pursuing this new business opportunity out of a place of contentment? Or am I just doing it because I’m afraid of missing out? Am I buying this product because I really need it? I’ve thought about it and it’s a wise purchase? Or is it because an ad or someone I follow on Instagram insisted it’s a must-have?
Is staying up until midnight working on a blog post healthy? Is it healthy to have a nice dinner out with Jeff when I’m not obsessing over a calorie calculator? Is it healthy for me to have dark chocolate in the house?
And I remember the journey is the goal. As long as I’m on the journey, I am not failing. I know I’ll stumble and trip and make bad decisions and wrong turns along the way, but that is a journey. Otherwise, it’s a just a walk around an indoor track, which might be healthy and I might even be content doing so, but it’s not a journey.
So, here’s to contentment and health in 2019!
I’ll let you know how it goes and I’ll also share some practical boundaries and guidelines I’ve put in place to help me along in case it might be helpful to readers on a similar journey.
What is your focus for 2019?