I have mixed feelings about New Years resolutions. For most of us, they are all the same; this year I'm really going to start eating healthier, lose 20 pounds, get a better job or make more money, etc. While I believe it's good to set personal goals and strive to learn and grow, I sometimes wonder if setting these resolutions isn't just a set up for failure. Even worse, one we often expect to fail so we easily let ourselves off the hook for them anyway.
Maybe a change of perspective is what is needed, just thinking about the process a little differently. This year I decided to think less about my usual goals and concentrate on two important and powerful things, reflection and intention.
Looking back on this year felt like a perfect place to start. So much has happened, things have not always been easy or perfect but some real reflection helped me to realize all the wonderful things that did happen, what worked and did go right and how those events make me feel, leading me further toward the kind of life I want to live.
Never underestimate the power of our intentions. If we are what we think and believe, than our attitude and the purpose behind what we do and how we live matters more than anything. To me, this is what can make or break any aspirations we have. It's one thing to say we want to start really dedicating ourselves to yoga practice or finding ways help out in our community but without the honest intention behind it, it's easy to let things slip to the bottom of our priority list or fall off completely like another unfulfilled New Years resolution.
“Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy and happiness to ourselves and others.” This is one of my favorite quotes from Zen Buddhist monk, teacher and author Thich Nhat Hanh.
The New Years holiday is a great, universal reminder but any day can be a chance for us to think about where we are headed and how we are living, to see if things need to change and decided to do better.
This December 31st (or any day you choose), why not reflect on what you loved about the past year, all that you accomplished and where you are today? Think about your true intentions going forward on the life you want to create – and then let go! Be honest and stay open to the greatness that unfolds around you throughout the year.