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meditate, reflect and resolve….

On Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick

New Year’s Resolutions can set the course for positive change… when you’re committed… and courageous!

When the subject of New Year’s resolutions comes up, most folks skitter off on some elusive errand. It is left for the brave of heart to openly affirm that this is the year to quit smoking, lose that extra tonnage, clean out the garage once and for all, or at the very least, to start that new exercise program. But it seems that even the brave-hearted too often give up almost before they’ve begun.

According to recent statistics, 70% of our New Year’s Resolutions have been broken within the first week of the New Year, and by the end of the first month, almost all of them have been forgotten, put away, at least until next year. Based on this fact, only the truly courageous actually commit to their resolutions for making real life changes every year.

a time for ritual affirmation

The interesting thing about New Year’s Resolutions is that once you’ve had a few successful experiences with them, they become an annual ritual. When you’re on the path to personal power, you tend to seek out those specific moments in time when you can ritualize your goals. New Year’s serves as a kind of benchmark for many people, a time to evaluate past accomplishments and to set new goals for growth and for personal or business achievements. What better time for the spiritually-inclined to belly up to the bar and commit to some “good habits” for the year?

If you’re on the path to personal power, wanting to connect with your soul and the One, you’ll want to count yourself among the truly courageous at this time of year. You’ll want to be clear about your New Year’s Resolutions, write them down and then immediately start taking some affirmative action!

the trick is setting achievable goals, Resolutions that come from your heart, expectations you can live with….

One of the tricks to setting New Year’s Resolutions that really work for you is to set goals you can live with. Don’t resolve to quit smoking, give up chocolate cake, or get into a rigorous work-out program unless you’ve already shown some desire – and commitment.

be gentle, give yourself time and support

If there’s something specific that you want to do, then give yourself the time to adjust to your decisions and to plan how you will accomplish it. For example, if you want to quit smoking this year, give yourself the month of January to research some good support programs and aids, then set a schedule for quitting.

New Year’s Day is the right day and Cold Turkey the right way, only for the rare few…. the rest of us need to make our big decisions step by step, an inch at a time, and it doesn’t help if we feel defeated before we begin. So, choose a goal you can live with – and that includes setting the timing and finding the support mechanisms that make it easy to achieve your goals.

Resolutions as New Values

I suggest that people use New Year’s to set more general goals – values that they want to integrate in their lives, as opposed to actual tasks for themselves. One year my goal was simply to start paying more attention to my body – a perfect goal since it not only led me to notice – and be able to counteract – the effects of stress much more quickly, but it also led me outdoors to enjoy the sunshine much more often. And when I noticed how much my body enjoyed the feel of the warm soil in my hands, I rediscovered Mother Earth – and found I had a green thumb!

Another time I decided that I needed to be more generous. My friend Janice objected to that one, figuring it wasn’t much of a stretch for me, but being generous with what you have is easy…. I wanted to learn a generosity of thought, a caring for myself and others that came from my heart… and it had clearly come time to release all those ugly judgments. That particular goal set off a chain reaction that is still rippling through my life, constantly pushing me to be more alert and awake to my attitudes and those hidden conflicting beliefs. 

Meditate, Reflect, and Resolve – an Exercise

the perfect formula for making – and keeping your New Year’s Resolutions

Here’s a simple New Year’s meditation and exercise to help you get started on setting your own goals for the next year.

1: Meditate: Take a few big deep breaths and clear your mind, as you settle into yourself, check in with your body. beginning from your toes, let your mind begin focusing on every part of your body… as you focus, ask your body:

  • “how do you feel?
  • what do you want to tell me today?
  • what goals would you want me to set for the year?”

Breath deeply as you proceed, listening carefully for any words, images, sensations or emotions that comes up as you meditate on your body. Be sure to give your body thanks for the blessings of movement, your senses, the life and energy it gives you…. Then take a moment to meditate on your emotional center – feel it in the center of your body, just below your belly button. You can visualize this area of your Self as the colour orange if it helps, just look into the colour and let yourself feel what is there, let your mind focus on the colour, then ask the same questions you asked your body, breathing deeply and listening for any words, images or sensations that come to you. Again, be thankful to your feelings for helping you to stay in response to your world…. Now move on to your heart center, letting your mind focus on your heart – and your heart’s desires. Here you can visualize the colours pink or green to help you focus on your heart center, and again, breathing deeply, ask your heart the same three questions and then listen carefully for whatever answers come up and give thanks for all the love in you, the love you give, as well as the love you receive.. Finally, let your mind focus on your mind, breathing deeply, listening carefully and asking the same three questions. Visualize a deep blue or purple to help you focus, and remember to give thanks to your mind for helping you make the right plans and decisions in life.

Special Note: It is not uncommon to go through the complete exercise without having anything come up in terms of goals or desires, or even comments or feedback. Not to worry! That doesn’t mean nothing happened, or that you did something wrong, or that you wasted your time and energy. The very act of having completed the meditation will have seeded the thoughts and feelings that come up in the next portions of the exercise.

2) Begin a List. First write down all of the thoughts and requests from body, emotion, heart and mind that came in the meditation. (If nothing came up, go to Step 3….)

3) Reflect and Project: Now take a few moments to reflect on your life and what you want to do next with it. Ask yourself what makes you happy, how you have felt blessed, and what else you can do to affirm the blessings and happiness you already have. Take a few moments to ask yourself what’s really important at this time. If it helps, take a separate piece of paper and make a list of the priorities in your life, a list of the blessings, and a list of what makes you happy. Consider: What relationships do you want to develop – or move away from, what material goals are worth striving for at this time, what habits do you want to break, what new knowledge and skills are worth acquiring now? Think about what you want to do in the coming period – then try to see and feel yourself doing it. Once you’re projected yourself into the accomplishing of it, you will know whether it feels right for you to pursue this goal.

4) Complete the List: Now you’re really ready to start writing that list of New Year’s Resolutions! Having reflected on what’s important, and then projected yourself into the doing of it, you will already be emotionally charged to follow through. But to help yourself, it is important to write down your goals, to complete a clear list of New Year’s Resolutions. This sets the inner triggers that will enable you to almost unconsciously begin achieving what you plan.

5) Commit to Action! Now comes the time for courage. It’s relatively easy to make New Year’s Resolutions, and easier still to break them. Unless you’re committed, committed to an action plan. This New Year’s, with your resolutions, make a plan to act and then follow through. Even if you only take baby steps, taking almost any action in the direction of your goals will serve to keep you moving forward. For example, the year I chose to start paying more attention to my body, I immediately organized a set of barters with some of my Alternative Health friends. By mid January, I had enough massage, reflexology and movement programs lined up to keep me focused on my body at least for the next six months….

6) Follow up! Check in with yourself every week or so – take some time to reflect on your goals for the year and to notice your progress. Congratulate and reward yourself for your good work regularly, even if it’s just with bubble bath or a cookie! Life can be terribly dreary when we are not taking the time to notice our successes, however small. Making, then following through on your New Year’s Resolutions can be a good excuse for cheering yourself up, affirming your commitment to yourself and the good life!

An Example to Inspire You….

I’ve decided on a couple of New Year’s Resolutions for 2009. I thought you might find it useful in helping to set a useful goal for yourself.

The General Goal:

Clear the Clutter! Arthritis slowed me down quite a lot last year, and as a result, my home and office began accumulating clutter in almost every available corner… and with the clutter, the dust also began to build, to the point that I was feeling utterly overwhelmed by the chaos I felt all around me. Then as I was channel surfing one evening, I caught an expert on clutter tell his clients that all they needed to do was to commit to giving 10 minutes a day to cleaning up behind themselves. I could immediately think of several little jobs that I could do in 10 minutes, so I resolved to give myself 10 minutes a day for the next month to get the house back in order. It worked! By Christmas, I was comfortable inviting guests inot my home once again. But getting to that point only cleared the surface clutter, so for 2009, I am committing again to dedicating 10 minutes every day to clearing my living and working envionments – and keeping them neat and orderly!

The Personal Goals:

Attract a Buddy! I have chosen a rather hermit-like lifestyle and as the years pass, it becomes easier to retreat to my private little world,a world that revolves around my work and clients, my family and friends, and my home and garden… and because I work from my home, that world can seem rather small…. This is the year to expand my world some, to attract a new buddy, someone to share my garden with, my hobbies, to play cards with and get out to a movie with once in awhile. So, this year, I commit to getting out with my friends more frequently, and regularly putting out the call for a buddy. (Putting out a call is about actively putting the request into the Universal Mindstream by repeating the request, nad seeing it fulfilled.)

So, that’s my list, kinda short, but there’s plenty of good meat for me to chew on there, lots of work to keep me moving forward all year. I hope it inspires you to create your own New Year’s Resolutions.

Bonne Chance, and Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

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