New Year’s Resolutions For Dog Lovers

Hands holding dog's paws on top of notebook

As we charge ahead into 2019, I felt the urge to hash out a few resolutions that might help us to be better people, for our own sakes and our dogs’.

The traditional New Year’s resolution is often forgotten by January 2nd, but it’s still a good exercise in self-reflection, and worth the effort. So here goes!

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.” ~ JW Stephens

Never doubt your self worth; know you’re the best! Even on your worst day, remember you are irreplaceable and unique. Never wish to be someone else; your dog is in love with YOU. Even your smallest actions are often extraordinary. Perfection is not the goal. Mistakes will happen; they don’t define you. Your dog knows you are worth comforting and protecting, and your presence is a blessing. Remember, the most important things aren’t things at all.

It is never too late to be who you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Practice Unconditional Love

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive” ~ Gilda Radner

We say we love all kinds of things – our spouse, our country, mom, baseball and apple pie! So this word love becomes diluted, or less meaningful. Greek language has at least four words for love, compared to our single English word.

  • Phileo = a companionable, brotherly love (as in Philadelphia or philanthropist). This love comes from the heart, but is based on the qualities of the other.
  • Storge = natural affection or obligation. The quiet, abiding love for spouse, child or family, because they are closely connected.
  • Eros = this is erotic love, and has self in mind more than the other person. It’s the root word of erotic, based mainly on sexual attraction or fulfillment.
  • Agape or agapao = the noblest word for love in Greek. Keeps loving even when the loved one is unresponsive, unkind, unloveable or unworthy; unconditional love. Desires only the good of the one loved. The highest standard of love.

Agape love is the type dogs have for their humans, in most cases. They love us steadfastly, not basing their feelings on how we act. This is how dogs earned the title man’s best friend, among other reasons. Dogs demonstrate this love daily, and are good reminders and role models for us to strive for unconditional love in our relationships with others.

Be Curious, Playful and Childlike (Not Childish)

“The dog was created especially for children. He is the god of frolic.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Strive to regain the sense of wonder, joy, simplicity and innocence we once knew. We tend to lose this as we grow older, and it’s a shame. Dogs help us retain some of this youthful spirit. Being more childlike opens up new possibilities – more imagination, creativity, and new ideas. Children share many traits with dogs, such as:

  • living in the present moment
  • no concern for money, status, or being cool
  • loving to show off for their “parents”

Play like a child; explore with a new sense of wonder. Ask why, what if and why not? Allow your curiosity to stretch your mind in new directions. Remember, you are a living miracle, and each moment is a gift (that’s why it’s called the present!).

“Not all who wander are lost” ~ JRR Tolkein

Go Deep!

Pick an area you are passionate about. Becoming an “expert” at something helps you learn how to learn; this skill is then applied to other areas, so you become better in those fields, too. Decide who will be your mentors or teachers, and get close to them. Learn from those at the top, and study their successes and methods. Start somewhere, don’t just sit still. Lay a solid foundation based on other’s experiences. Find your heroes in your chosen field, study their work and methods, then strive to do better work than them. 

Contact those you would like help from in the field you choose, but don’t expect anything (they’re pretty busy!). When you succeed, give others all the credit; you couldn’t have done it without them. Even if they didn’t directly help you, their work inspired you. Shout it out, and display an attitude of gratitude.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” ~ Albert Einstein

After Going Deep, Keep Going!

“To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday.” ~ John Burroughs

Once you find your passion and begin learning more, keep studying all you can: books, online courses, videos, seminars and talking to other experts in the field. Look for ways to put your new knowledge into practice. This helps you reinforce your knowledge by working on real-life problems, and also realizing where any gaps in your understanding might lie. Once you feel more experienced, find ways to present your findings to others. 

Speak to groups, start a blog or journal, create webinars. Teaching others is a very solid method of reinforcing your own learning. Share your passion and skills with others to pay it forward.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose” ~ Robert Byrne

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” ~ Buddha

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

I wish you a very Happy New Year, and a life filled with happiness, contentment, and unconditional love.

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