I used to do that thing that that's so attractive at this time of year. Come up with all sorts of resolutions to change my life for the better. This year is going to so shiny and wonderful, I would think. But then, life would get in the way and it wasn't long before things went back to normal.
These days things are different for me anyway. I make lots of changes to my habits all the time to make my life a little easier or get things done in a better way. But I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff. More than most people -- and I certainly would not suggest becoming like me.
But if you're interested in my technique for New Year's resolutions, it is this: choose one that is actionable in a very short amount of time. I pick something I can work on in January and February, but hopefully by March it's "done". Last year I decided to form a weekly exercise habit, which I'm happy to say has stuck. I do a weights class at my gym on Sunday afternoons and I go most weeks unless there's a very good reason I can't make it.
This year I've decided to tackle my ongoing struggle with my daily meditation habit. The problem is this: I can't seem to do it everyday. No matter what I try.
Then I realized that I hate doing anything everyday. Obviously I brush my teeth and shower everyday (I mean, I have my standards), but other than that, I need a variation in routine throughout my week. I came to grips with this even with my personal writing. I had read over and over again that I needed to be writing every single day -- but this doesn't work for me. I am far more productive when I have certain days set aside for certain activities. It's just the way I am.
So this year's New Year's Resolution is to meditate four days a week. I feel like this goes against everything I've ever heard a meditation teacher say, but hey, meditating four days a week is better than none, which is what sometimes happens when I get frustrated with my lack of progress on the daily meditation habit.
If you feel like making one New Year's resolution isn't nearly enough, that there are lots of things in your life you'd like to fix, well, then maybe you can address these other things with your 2017 goals, which we'll talk about next week.
In the meantime, think of one thing you'd like to change right now. And make that your resolution. Trust me, you'll feel a lot better in March when you actually remember what your resolution was. And you may just accomplish it.
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Photo credit: Howard Clifton Butterflies on flowers at LBJ Wildflower Center via photopin (license)
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