Why Dogs Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

Animals are great at leading by example. They listen to their bodies, follow the natural rhythms of the earth and its seasons, and don’t apologize for being themselves.

When they’re tired, they nap. When they feel energized, they get the zoomies. When the sun rises, they’re ready to get up too, and they always remember to stretch first thing in the morning. When the nights are long, they’re happy to snuggle down until the sun comes up. And when they feel like doing something that comes natural to them even though we humans would consider it naughty, they go ahead and do it. If they need to apologize later, they’ll do it, but it won’t cause them to mend their ways, because to them, they’re only being themselves.

Dogs don’t need to make New Year’s Resolutions, because they are already living authentically. And isn’t that what New Year’s Resolutions are all about? Matching our outward actions to our inner ideals and living an authentic life in alignment with our higher purpose?

We resolve to eat better, exercise harder, be more mindful, while our dogs (and cats) are completely happy with themselves the way they are. They don’t have to strive to do better, because they’re content to be exactly the way they are.

I hear your “yes, buts…” all the way from here. Yes, but dogs don’t have to work, pay bills, or achieve goals. Yes, but dogs don’t have horrible bosses, unhelpful spouses, or insolent children to contend with.

Yes, but… Dogs would handle all that stuff better than we do. And that’s why they don’t have to make New Year’s Resolutions. If they had to work, they’d work harder than anyone else, and they wouldn’t have as many bills to pay, because they wouldn’t buy anything they didn’t need. Their goals would be pursued with joy and enthusiasm, and they would quickly ditch any goal that didn’t align with their higher purpose.

Dogs would either bite the horrible boss or win them over, whichever would achieve the better outcome. They’d cajole or badger the unhelpful spouse into doing better, wielding their superpower of cheerful immovability. Their insolent pups would be smacked down without remorse, then cuddled afterward, with no hard feelings on either side.

Yes, but isn’t being perfectly content a barrier to bettering oneself? Not at all! Dogs are all about self-improvement. No matter what they do, they always try their best. If they fail, they get up and try again. They don’t spend a moment on second-guessing or self-recrimination. They spend every bit of their energy on trying just as hard the next time, and the next, and the next.

So maybe 2023 is the year that you don’t bother to make New Year’s Resolutions…

Except maybe one… to be more like your dog.

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