Are you the New Year’s resolution type? The dictionary defines resolution as, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” For me, the “firm” part of that definition implies perfection. This could be because perfectionism has dominated my self talk for my whole life. I’m kind of a recovering perfectionist.
I like to look at New Year’s resolutions in terms of intentions. The dictionary defines intention as, “an aim or plan.” To me, setting an intention (an aim or a plan) seems like a softer, gentler way to guide myself on a new or possibly challenging path. It’s like making a deal with myself that I’m going in a certain direction, all the while acknowledging that things could go different from my plan. For me, intending to go in a certain direction, rather than having to, is less constricting therefore less stressful in general.
But I’m not saying that resolutions are a bad thing. For me, they bring out the perfectionist. For you t could be that a resolution is a stronger statement. It could make you more likely to stick to your goal.
As a mindfulness practitioner, it’s important to notice how your New Year’s statement feels to you.
Here’s a short mindfulness practice that may help:
Write down your New Year’s goal in a resolution terms and in intention terms. For example, “my New Year’s resolution is to go for a walk three times a week”. Alternatively, “for this New Year I will set the intention to walk three times a week.”.
Begin your practice with a few minutes of mindful breathing.
After your body has settled a little, state and repeat the resolution to yourself. Just sit with that statement for 5 minutes or so, sensing how you feel.
Return your awareness to your breath briefly.
Now state to yourself the intention and sit with that for a bit.
Again return to your breath briefly and end the practice.
Did you notice a difference in how each of them landed in your system? Did one feel better or worse? And in what way?
Which ever way this exercise goes, you may have some information that can support you in sticking with your New Year’s goal. Remember that awareness and compassion are how mindful practitioners try to meet all things. So as we embark on lofty goals this New Year, let’s make sure to meet them that way. Good luck!
Yesterday my husband, daughter and I were caught out doing holiday tasks way later than our kitty’s dinner time. But not to fear, when we came home we found out that our downstairs neighbor had taken it upon herself to feed him.
I’m going in a little different direction today but I think it’s relevant. My recent interactions with the medical profession lately have been very pleasant experiences. Actually they’ve been more than pleasant. I would say that they have been healing on a deeper level. These people were very kind, caring and sensitive. They did their best to treat me with dignity and respect. It’s clear that most people who choose the medical profession do it because it’s a calling. They clearly care about people and they want to help. To me that’s basically dedicating your life to Random Acts of Kindness.
In October my husband and I took a little vacation driving to Las Vegas and back home along the coast. We stayed at various Airbnbs. Yesterday my husband got phone message that the cleaning lady in the Airbnb in Santa Barbara found a flash drive with his name and number on it. The host was wanting to send it back to us. It’s very nice of him to care enough 3 months later to return it.
This is not a big one, but sometimes the tiniest things have an impact. This shifted my stressful energy and put a little joy in my heart. One of my BFF’s phone fell in a cup of water 3 days ago and, alas, is not working. She is one of my biggest supports so I count on being able to text her frequently. When her phone died she emailed me that if I needed her to contact her, I should text her husband and gave me his number. Since the holiday stress is reving up I wanted her support. So I texted her husband (Jeff) asking if her phone worked yet. Also, it happens to be Jeff’s 70th birthday. So I wished him a Happy Birthday as well. The text came back, “You got the wrong number… but tell Jeff HBD from me too!”. He could have ignored me and I would have not known if I should contact my friend in a different way. But he was kind enough to answer and wish Jeff a Happy Birthday as well. Thanks unknown stranger!
This morning at our meditation meeting a gentleman came in wearing a baseball cap and holding one. He said a week ago he had lost the one in his hand, “it must’ve just fell into the street”. But today when he was walking, he saw that someone had stuck it up on a sign so it could be seen by passersby. He was so glad because he had been thinking about it on the way to the center.
And this was at 7:30am. What other delights are in store for today?
I was in an outdoor shopping mall today that I was sure had a Starbucks. But it was pouring rain and I didn’t want to search the streets for it. So I stood in the doorway of a Lucky’s supermarket and asked the first guy who came in if he knew where the Starbucks was. He told me that it was Peet’s coffee in this particular mall. And that the nearest Starbucks was in another mall 2 miles away. I was so bummed cause I had literally just left that other mall. He must have seen the disappointment in my face because he then said if I waited a few minutes for him to shop at Lucky’s he would give me a ride to the other mall as he was on his way there. How sweet is that?