New Year, Same You (And That’s Okay): A Buddhist Perspective on Resolutions
It’s January, and that means bazillions of new meditators aiming to make a change. But here’s a statistic that hasn’t changed in years: out of the millions of Americans who set a New Year’s resolution for themselves only a small percent are successful at achieving them. It’s not easy to intentionally effect change in your life, yet through setting an intention and building a lifestyle around that motivation it can get easier.
Setting an Intention
If you want to create a change in your life, you can begin by clarifying your intention for doing so. Start by sitting up straight, taking a few minutes to check in with your body. Notice where you are tense and allow those muscles to relax. Once you are settled, turn your mind to the physical sensation of your breathing. Tune into the natural flow of both your in-breath and your out-breath.
After three or so minutes of this meditation, silently ask yourself, “What is my motivation for change in this new year?” Notice what answers arise in response to the question, let them wash over you like a wave, and then come back to asking it again. Some might feel canned or corny, others more authentic and relevant to your situation.
You may feel some resistance to the idea of finding one set motivation. Notice that resistance; let it wash over you like a wave, and come back to the question just as you came back to the breath during the previous part of this meditative exercise.
Take a full three minutes to roll this simple question around in your mind. Then drop the phrase itself and just return to your breath, letting your mind ride on that natural reminder of the beauty of this present moment. (Note: to receive free guided meditations from me this month just click here)
Are you surprised by what came up in these few minutes? I always am when I do this work. Sometimes my mind keeps returning to the image of a role model; someone who seems to embody the ideals I hold. Sometimes it’s a certain quality that I have noticed in myself (such as kindness or compassion) and I am left with a profound curiosity as to what it would be like to live my life with that at the core of who I am. Having explored this quality, it’s time to move to action.
Discerning Your Personal Mandala
As a result of this contemplation, we can discern what we would like each of our…