January 2, 2015

My Mindful Take on: The 6 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions.


Mindful Translation: The 5 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions.

Accept yourself as you are. Then you can improve.

I’ve seen a bunch of good suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions. Many on this site. One on Elite Daily, of all places, that should have been on this site.

But the fact is most of us will make Resolutions we can’t keep, that aren’t good for us, that don’t honor our basic goodness, that just create further a lack of maitri and theism in our own lives, aggression that radiates out into the world.

What is basic goodness, you ask? You didn’t ask? Well, I’ll offer a definition anyways, since its our working basis for making real-life improvements that aren’t based on aggression toward our sweet selves.

“…when you relax more and appreciate your body and mind, you begin to contact the fundamental notion of basic goodness in yourself. So it is extremely important to be willing to open yourself to yourself. Developing tenderness towards yourself allows you to see both your problems and your potential accurately. You don’t feel that you have to ignore your problems or exaggerate your potential. That kind of gentleness towards yourself and appreciation of yourself is very necessary. It provides the ground for helping yourself and others.” ~ Chogyam Trungpa


Okay, back to Resolutions. The New York Times reports:

Your New Year’s resolution will probably fail, but hey, keep trying. About 45 percent of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution this year. The good news is that more than 70 percent of them will stick to their resolution for the first two weeks of 2015, according to the website StatisticBrain.com. But now the bad news. More than half of people who make New Year’s resolutions will have given up within six months…

…Not surprisingly, losing weight is the most common resolution. That’s followed by 2) getting organized, 3) spending less and saving more, 4) enjoying life to the fullest, 5) staying fit and healthy and, interestingly, 6) learning something exciting…read the rest.

So let’s go through those 5, and sprinkle a little more mindfulness into the mix.

Photo via Roy Cheung on Pixoto

1. Losing weight. This is a tough one. Some of us need to lose weight to be healthy, some of us need to gain weight to be healthy, some of us just need to get more fit, and many of us are fine as we are. Scratch that: all of us are fine as we are. We may be at war with our tummies, our minds, our cravings…but we have to work here not to lose weight, or be anything other than ourselves, but to like ourselves, first.

Recommendation: Look it up: maitri.

Bonus: here’s what I’ve written on my own journey around food: 10 (Healthy) Ways to Lose Weight (& Feel your Best).


Photo: Ryochiji

2. Getting organized. This one is less problematic. It’s less full of aggression toward ourselves. That said, it’s a tough one to make any progress on, because it takes Force A (weak, new resolution) and pits it against Force B (lifelong habitual patterns).

I’m not the messiest, but I’m not the cleanest. My biggest battles are with keeping up with laundry and doing dishes. I’ve made some progress on those by realizing how happy and clear my mind is when my home, my environ is clear.

Recommendation: read this: Post this in your Kitchen: 10 Tips for a Mindful Home.

…and…actually put cleaning on your schedule, put on music when you do it or sing—make it regular, and fun. If dishes, do them when cooking or after eating, immediately. Don’t let anything sit around. Little piles of clutter will quickly spread, like a rash.

made in usa

3. Spending less and saving more. This one’s easy. Simply repeat this mantra: buying things adds clutter to my life, and takes wealth out of my life, and adds stress to my life if I’m not well off. Most importantly, it doesn’t make me happy. When I do buy things, they should be simple, of quality, ideally made by people I know or people who have in turn been paid well. Avoid plastic.




4. Enjoying life to the fullest. This one has a YOLO vibe to it…but let’s go Carpe Diem, instead. Life is precious. It’s to be used to serve others, and our planet—not out of martyrdom, but out of joy. Sugata.

Recommendation: Video: Death comes without Warning. There’s a lot in that blog—be sure to read the quotes and Robin Williams’ message.


rita hayworth happy bicycle

5. Staying fit & healthy: This one’s big, but simple. Find exercise we love, and enjoy. I like climbing. I bicycle every day (I don’t own a car). I need yoga for my back and neck (and heart and mind). I enjoy running or hiking with my dog. I hot tub in my backyard to take care of my back and neck, to wake up, and to get through my New Yorker subscription. I eat organic food, whenever possible. I avoid meat, and processed foods. I eat what I love, with appreciation. That said, I need to cook more. I need to exercise more consistently.

What are your goals in this area?

Recommendations: our Recipes page constantly has new suggestions. Our health, wellness and fitness articles are legion.


Woman knitting in sunlight

6. Learning something exciting. Love this. We all have things we’ve been meaning to learn or do…but never seem to get to. Mine is: start a fun, meaningful, recurring community event–an art class, a Dharma meditation & study group, a movie night, a happy hour. 

Recommendation: leave a comment below—pledging a goal is an effective way to work through contemplating making changes.

What’s your real live actual meaningful New Year’s Resolution, that you seek to honor and implement, that might be helpful to yourself and/or others?



Featured image Source: toothpastefordinner.com/020613/

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