On Contentment.

Am I allowed to change my word-of-the-year? Can I throw out my new year's resolutions and not be disappointed with myself?

Making goals is a part of who I am. Lists. Time lines. Planners. Schedules. Planning out every aspect of my life in detail. That is me. I am a perfectionist. A self-nitpicker. Someone who is never quite settled with who I am or what I am doing. I want bigger, better and more success. "Grow" was a natural word-of-the-year for me to pick. It wasn't hard to choose. "Grow" was in my comfort zone.

I recently came across an old goal journal of mine from age 8. In it, I wrote down goals for myself and then consequences for not accomplishing them. (Completely hilarious, I might add.) They said things like "Dust your room every day. If you don't, you must clean, dust and vacuum Sarah's room for a week." There were around 50 little goals and punishments in that binder. Oh, what an odd child I was. (And, I highly doubt I accomplished any of them.)

In many ways, I haven't outgrown that. I am constantly setting new goals for myself. My day begins and ends with a new, insanely long to-do list. And although I don't write the consequences for not accomplishing them in a journal like my 8-year-old self, I still punish myself when I don't get them all checked off. I start thinking that I'm not creative enough, that I'm failing as a mother, that I'm not successful, that my housekeeping skills are lacking, that I'm not a good sister, friend, or neighbor. I often can't accomplish the lofty goals I set for myself, and am left feeling discouraged at the end of the day.

And so, I'm throwing out my goal to "Grow." Ripping up my resolutions. I've picked a new word. One that is much more challenging for a person like myself. One that will truly stretch me.

My new word-of-the-year is "Content."

This word isn't a ticket to give up on being a good mother, friend, or employee. On the contrary. It is to make me more present and alive in the moment. To relish the here and now. To appreciate where I am in life and find joy in the journey. I don't want to overlook the sweet, small things happening today while wishing for the future.

I have a feeling this is going to be a very, very good year.

31 comments

  1. I love this, Hannah! My friend has a saying on her blog, "The secret to having it all is believing you already do." It is always a great reminder to me. Love, love, love it.

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  2. I think that is a great idea. Relish in the moment! By the way - I think you are doing a great job as a sister :)

    And that list is totally funny - but I don't remember you ever cleaning my room...

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  3. my all time favorite talk:
    http://lds.org/general-conference/2000/04/content-with-the-things-allotted-unto-us?lang=eng

    great post!

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  4. I love that your are beginning by embracing the idea of throwing out your old word. Content is a great word to go for and it sounds like it will totally suit your frame of mind this year ;)
    I myself I'm learning to be more confident and more content right now (difficult process!) and decided that it would be better not to have the pressure of setting myself a word. I am enjoying not having the weight of a word and can focus on the here and now.
    Good luck with your contentment!

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  5. Thank you Hannah. Unfortunately I am not far behind you on this one. I do the exact same thing. List after list, expectation after expectation, goal after goal.

    I like your idea. Contentment is something that we all need. Hmm...now you have my brain a whirring. Thanks for some inspiration today!

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  6. I love this! Such an important lesson to learn, and I think it's so insightful of you to recognize the growth that will come in this area more than if you focused on the word grow. You're an amazing example to me!

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  7. I'm pretty sure you still owe me a vacuum and cleaning of my room.

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  8. I loved this post. I also love your name...named my daughter after you! haha
    I think it's great that you were flexible and changed your word to something that would challenge you even more.
    My word for the year is CREATE which I really need to do. I could have also chose COURAGE since I need that to create. See how that works? :)
    Ok, enough about me...love your blog....AND I think your sister left you a comment about cleaning her room ( I have a sister also...so I know how that works)
    Have a wonderful day!

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  9. Read more: Sherbet Blossom http://www.sherbetblossom.com/2011/02/on-contentment.html#ixzz1Et6hZDNh
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    Making goals is a part of who I am. Lists. Time lines. Planners. "Schedules. Planning out every aspect of my life in detail. That is me. I am a perfectionist. A self-nitpicker. Someone who is never quite settled with who I am or what I am doing. I want bigger, better and more successful. "Grow" was a natural word-of-the-year for me to pick. It wasn't hard to choose. "Grow" was in my comfort zone." ----You described me!!

    I get really weary of this personality I have. ;) Thank you for this post it makes me think I am not the only one and that I'm not coo-coo.

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  10. @Bliss (who is my brother): I don't think I'd ever write cleaning your room as a consequence. That would be much too scary! ;)

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  11. I agree, wholeheartedly. I'd also include the word grateful, because when we consider all that we have been blessed with, our contentment grows.

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  12. Hannah, as another perfectionist, I can tell you that this is a challenging but great idea.

    About a year ago I started a journal and forced myself to think about all of the positive things that I accomplished during each day instead of dwelling on things that I wasn't able to do. I gave myself extra praise for unexpected positive actions (instead of looking at them as things that "came up" that kept me from accomplishing other things). All I can say is that it has helped me in a very large way! Good luck on your journey for finding contentment!

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  13. Content is a great word! I believe that in seeking and acknowledging your contentment, you will also grow. Double whammy! I'm going to think on this post for a while and then revisit it a few days - it's that good!

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  14. I'm in the midst of struggling to be content right where I am, too. I've found a great book: "1000 Gifts, a Dare to live Fully Right Where you Are" by Ann Voskamp. It's so hard to read (meaning I actually have to stop and think), but it is so worth it to actually try to be present for today. Good luck to you on this journey!

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  15. Love your word change, love the quote, love this post.

    Here's to finding contentment!

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  16. I like this, sometimes resolutions can become heavy and unrealistic. Why not instead focus on what is so good about your life already and fly with it...or did I just repeat exactly what you were saying...lol. Thanks for this reminder.

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  17. i saw that quote somewhere recently and it has stuck with me. i tend to be a "the grass is always greener" type of person so sometimes it's hard for me.

    i am working on it.

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  18. I have a different word with a similar goal- I chose "enjoy" for much the same reasons that you have chosen "content" and I think I know just where you're coming from! :)

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  19. That sounds very encouraging. I did comment at the beginning of the year that your list looked a little ambitious and that we mothers sometimes forget to just 'be'.I am always reminded of Matthew 6:25 - 34 when I start to fret about what I 'should' be doing.
    You sound like a wise, wonderful woman!!

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  20. Bravo! I am so very much like you in setting crazy goals, endless to-do lists, etc. No matter how much I accomplish, I've pretty much felt like a failure for most of my life. I started working on just being content about a year and a half ago, and even though it's a slow, slow, slow road, (see-even there I feel disappointed in myself that I'm not 'there' yet-how twisted is that!?) I really feel so much happier. I know I'm happier than I ever would have been if I'd accomplished all the things that I "should" have accomplished by now.
    The hardest thing for me is accepting that being content is a process and not a measurable end goal. I'll never be able to check "be content" off my to-do list! Good Luck in your journey!

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  21. Love, love, love. Like you, I am a life-long goal setter. I think I could use a little more contentment in my life.

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  22. I'm a long-time lurker coming out of hiding to tell you that I love your blog!
    I also love your goal of "contentment." I recently read a good book that you might be interested in. It's called:
    Contentment: Inspiring Insights for LDS Mothers
    By Maria Covey Cole
    You can get it at any Deseret Book. Hope you enjoy it!

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  23. AWESOME QUOTE and great post Hannah! Enjoy the moment. It's all we have.

    A big hug to you!
    Reese

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  24. What wonderful words to live by! Would you mind if I posted this on my blog? I would really like to share it. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  25. @Bonnie: Sure! As long as you give credit, I don't mind at all.

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  26. I love it! you were one focused 8-yr-old.

    and i couldn't agree with this more. i am all about the insane to-do lists! but i notice more all the time i'm happiest just enjoying my little place in the world.

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  27. A wonderful word chosen! We all should bring this word into our lives. Like you say in your post, it doesn't mean you should give up on what you're doing just learn to be content and enjoy the small joys that are presented everyday.

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  28. Beautiful post and beautiful blog!

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