How To Make Effective New Year’s Resolutions

Published on December 30, 2016

Article by Amy Swift Crosby for Bodhi Tree

The momentous calendar migration we call New Year’s—technically New Year’s Eve, which takes us from December 31st to January 1st—urges us to make sweeping changes and pour each other big glasses of self-improvement. Things will change—we want, we hope, we promise—in the form of resolutions. We will “eat less,” “move more,” “love bigger” and “meditate deeper,” we proclaim. These are wonderful goals, and worthy as well.

The success and failure of these goals turns into the joy and disappointment we experience in the following weeks and months. We’d like to offer a perspective on how to create the former and avoid the latter. Part of the problem is, when looking forward, we tend to divorce ourselves from the past as quickly as the ball drops, with fingers crossed that the next chapter will be an upgrade; a subtle implication that we need one. The mere existence of resolutions can feel quietly punitive and judgmental about who or what we’ve been. And when we close the door to one room, our past, and immediately move furniture into the new one, the future, we barely pause to catch a parting glimpse of things we never want to think about again.

Embracing the Future—and the Past

This year, what if we were to take a more loving and learning approach, one that is inclusive of our past?

We suggest being less absolute in our view forward, forgiving our past actions and including their lessons as we move into the new year. It’s a strategy for not just ringing it in on New Year’s Eve, but also embracing the new and the old as we move into next year.

What we did this past year, and who we showed up as in the world, doesn’t have to be what and who we become. Our experiences are the wisest prophets we have. Let’s welcome the new year with appreciation for what has been, instead of a sprint toward new models of ourselves. Let’s take on a sweet and purposeful gait toward our essence and truth—which doesn’t need an annual resolution to be breathtakingly, resoundingly perfect.

But how?

A New Approach to Resolutions

Remember, you are not a “work in progress.” Try not to view yourself as something to upgrade or improve. You can change your habits and choices, but the real you is an unchanging, connected, benevolent being.

Lean rather than leap into resolutions. The ones that tend to be sustainable (and achievable) are ones that aren’t drastic or overly ambitious. Let one step turn into two, three and four. Don’t go straight to five or six without creating a realistic path to get there.

Find a community who will support your choice, and defend it even when you feel like giving up on it. You’ll need strong, like-minded souls to keep you walking toward your mission.

And with that in mind, we wish you a magical New Year, one that brings all we learned in 2017 into perspective. Let’s invite experience to inform and resonate with all we hope to have and be in 2018.

Published on: December 30, 2016

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