How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
Discipline and commitment are what most of us vow to do as the old year begins to fade and the new approaches. We call this making a resolution.
For most people who live by the Christian calendar, December brings a time of contemplation. We reflect back upon the events and goals, or the guideposts that marked our achievements, disappointments, pleasures and pains. We contemplate the past and resolve to change the future.
In yoga we use contemplation to find samadhi. This is not about resolving anything, but about understanding the nature of everything. Understanding is the pathway to commitment and commitment is what we need to make our resolutions stick.
We resolve to do many things such as giving up something, eating better, living better, exercising more and making more money. Sadly, ninety-five percent of resolutions fail because we lack the motivation to stay focused and succeed. With our resolutions we are bargaining with ourselves to give something up for something in return. This giving up is what makes keeping resolutions very difficult.
A resolution should be something you can successfully achieve. It should be something you truly want and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. It also needs to be fun so you retain the enthusiasm to reach your goal.
Research (USC Journal of Personality and Psychology) suggest that to change, it might work better to focus on habits as opposed to willpower. It seems that it is more difficult to harness willpower than to simply change a pattern of behavior. Instead of resolving to master something, research tells us we should be thinking about changing our habits.
Habits persist even when we don’t have the energy to exercise motivation and self-control. So if we can set up new habits we might be better at achieving our goals. Research shows that people tend to default to a habit when stressed. So the conclusion is to create healthy habits as our default mechanism. It takes about two months to establish a new habit. To do this we need to establish easy repeatable routines. Let’s give it a try.
Routine number one; try physical literacy. Find an exercise class that fits into your schedule and that you enjoy. Studies show that when we enjoy something we tend to repeat it over and over. You become literate in terms of physical vitality and adaptability. It becomes a habit. So when stress hits we default to exercise.
How about resolving to be good to you?
Make it a habit to eat one healthy meal a day. Every day I eat yogurt and fruit topped with hemp seeds. This habit gives me a full range of important nutrients. No matter what else I eat throughout the day I’ve given myself good health in this one meal. Who knows this habit might lead to three healthy meals? These changes soon become “good” habits.
What about your goals?
Just remember everything in life must give to receive. Sacrifice is the law of life. A candle burns and melts away to give us light. A tree grows to give shade, fruit and flowers. To achieve your goals make it a habit to focus on what you can give as opposed to what you will get. Soon the habit of giving will be rewarded with achievement.
So instead of resolving to change something just create “good” habits! What will be your New Year’s habits?
When making your resolutions remember, your dreams, your life, your happiness and your Samadhi must be fed or they will die. So contemplate, choose wisely and feed your life with happiness, prosperity, health and peace. Resolve to make these your NEW YEAR HABITS!
Happy New Year!