New Year’s Anti-Resolution Solution
Each year, millions of Americans create some sort of New Year’s resolution, whether it’s getting in shape, paying off debt, quitting smoking or even being a nicer person. The problem is, the average New Year’s Resolution is broken and forgotten by the time the last of the confetti is cleaned up. Though few people find success in setting and keeping resolutions, people keep doing it year after fruitless year. I would like to propose a new process to change this year:
- >>Making anti-resolutions
- >>Letting go of past mistakes and grievances
- >>Practicing self-compassion
- >>Meditating on what’s good in life
1. Make anti-resolutions.
One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to lose weight. Most people start a radical diet or cut back on junk foods only to find themselves caught up in cravings for what they are depriving themselves of. What if, instead, people would make the anti-resolution to try different, healthier foods or pick up a new hobby that keeps them moving? There is an amazing variety of healthy foods to choose from. One could search recipe sites and magazines to find easy, healthy recipes. Or what about taking up a new hobby, like biking or long walks with a dog or loved one?
Instead of putting effort into breaking a bad behavior, put effort into creating a new, healthy habit. This makes it easier to build a new lifestyle without the guilt and shame of breaking resolutions.
2. Let go of the past.
One of the reasons why we can’t move on and change our life is that we refuse to let go of our past mistakes and failures. Let go of the old to move on to the new. God told the Israelites in Isaiah 43:18, “Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past.” Or consider the Turkish proverb, “No matter how far you have gone down a wrong road, turn around.” Holding on to your past mistakes only keeps you focused on the past, it’s time to move on. You can’t move forward while you are looking behind.
3. Practice self compassion.
The Yoga Sutra 1.33 teaches us about compassion, stating, “We are to have equanimity for those who make mistakes.” We should have the same compassion for ourselves—after all we are only human. We sometimes judge ourselves more harshly than others. This puts us in a vicious cycle of trying to change, failing, beating ourselves up and then going back to the old habit because it was easier.
The golden rule according to most religions of the world is “love your neighbor as yourself,” but you can’t love your neighbor as yourself if you don’t love yourself. Acknowledge that you deserve health and happiness. Recognize the suffering the habit you are trying to change is causing. Celebrate any positive action you have taken to support your change. If you are feeling bad about any setbacks, remind yourself that you are human and mistakes are an important part of the path to change. Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The race doesn’t belong to the fastest runner, but goes to the one with patience and perseverance.
4. Meditate on what’s good.
Concentrate on the good and positive things about your life. Paul says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Two years ago I hurt my lower back. I was in horrible pain. When I decided to go back to my yoga class I couldn’t bend over. About half way through the class I was about to burst into tears because I could barely move into any of the poses. I was wondering why I had come when it hit me—there are a few poses I can do. I decided to concentrate on the poses I could do and forgive myself for the ones I couldn’t. I went home ecstatic and my doctor was amazed at how quickly my back healed after returning to my yoga practice. If I had only concentrated on the things I couldn’t do, I would have given up and gone home, and my back probably would have taken a lot longer to heal.
Let’s start this New Year, the new week, this new day with a positive outlook.
Wake up each morning being thankful for who you are and what you can do, don’t concentrate on the negative. Put the past behind you each and every morning. Each day has new possibilities and new opportunities for change. Let go of the things that are holding you down. Find new things that build you up. Who needs more broken resolutions? What we need are real solutions to create change in our lives.
Lisa Moak is a writer, musician and yoga dabbler. She recently received her Master’s in Liberal Arts from Texas Christian University. Lisa lives in Arlington, Texas with her youngest son, husband, two dogs and a fat cat.
Editor: Maja Despot
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