New years resolutions
With the beginning of the new year many of us make a new round of new years resolutions. We all want a good life full of happiness, success, love, good health, and more. We resolve to get rid of something or abstain, or else we resolve to increase something good in our lives. Whether it’s to quit smoking or begin a new exercise regime, our resolutions begin in all earnestness. It’s the new year, the holidays are coming to an end, and its time to begin again fresh. We might feel inspired, and even excited to start a new life.
A potent time for change
With the end of the old, and the beginning of the new, in the northern latitude’s time of darkness and cold, we may find ourselves in a reflective and introspective place. We are between two things, the old and the new, the conclusion and the beginning, that which is dying and that which is giving birth. We are between the darkness of the solstice and before the light is coming back. This is a potent place where our thoughts and motivations can take on more power and have more impact. We make a new years resolution to ourselves, and maybe to others, and we intend to keep our word, our vow.
Old habits are stronger than new resolutions
Often though, our resolutions are forgotten or misplaced. We get caught up again in the speed of daily life as it returns with even more vigour than before. And what happens is that our old habits and patterns of behaviour return once again. It turns out that our habits are stronger than our resolutions. This should not be much of a surprise though as we have been practicing our habits much longer than the new resolution. How can we make new years resolutions with the results we desire?
Stop making new years resolutions, make new years aspirations
Here’s a way to make our new years resolutions stronger than the habits they are trying to overcome. The solution is to make the resolution into an aspiration that we repeat, much in the same way that we repeat old patterns of doing things. Making aspirations is an ancient technique for accomplishing what we desire in our lives. We simply need to practice it on a regular basis. We replace the resolution with an new years aspiration. Instead of repeating old habits we make it a practice to repeat aspirations. The aspirations become a new habit, a good habit.
New years aspirations are better than new years resolutions
Aspirations are better than resolutions. An aspiration is an open-ended wish for something positive. It does not have the seriousness of a resolution, of being so resolute in the face of great challenge. Whereas resolutions are full of hopefulness (and maybe fear of failure), aspirations are full of inspiration and set us up for a more joyful state of mind. We are not so obsessed with the outcome because making aspirations is in itself complete.
Making aspirations : Step 1 – Making BIG aspirations
First write down your aspirations, the one’s that reside most deeply in your heart and mind. They begin with the word “May”, such as, “May I accomplish the activity of helping somebody everyday.” The aspiration can be about anything positive, and the wonderful thing about replacing resolutions with aspirations is that the aspiration can be very big and vast, and even impossible to accomplish in the short term. “May I become a major player in the quest for total world peace.” “May all the conditions needed to prevent global warming occur swiftly.” These aspirations are so vast and open-ended that we set up the conditions for ourselves to be eternally positive and cheerful. We expand our minds to a bigger vision, beyond what is possible for ourselves alone. Big aspirations cheer us up.
Making aspirations : Step 2 – Feeling good with aspirations
Repeat your aspirations daily. Add new ones as your inspiration increases, and modify old ones as your outlook and vision change. Repeat them as much as you like. You can even set them to song and sing them. Aspirations are designed to make you feel good, unlike resolutions which often bring about disappointment because of their over seriousness and goal orientation.
Making aspirations : Step 3 – Signs of success
Look for signs of accomplishing your aspirations. This might be the actual successful completion of a project, or else a general change in your outlook on life. You might feel more wholely positive and joyful, optimistic even in the face of seemingly impossible challenges. We are not so obsessed with accomplishing our goals, but rather enjoy a positive state of mind not based solely on goal orientation.
Aspirations for life
When we make aspirations in this way, we are tapping into a powerful place. It’s the place inbetween our desire to change something and the actual accomplishment of it. As this is where we will spend much of our life, aspirations make the bridge that spans the chasm between the two. Through aspirations we will keep ourselves cheerful and positive as we move towards the accomplishment of all our wishes. And through making aspirations again and again, we remove all the obstacles to accomplishing our wishes. Finally, aspirations help us go beyond hope and fear.1
May all beings make vast aspirations which benefit all beings
May these aspirations be quickly accomplished.
Upcoming workshops and retreats with Mindfulness Journeys
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Meditation and Yoga in London – Workshop to relax body and mind | 27 January 2018
Morocco Countryside Retreat | 18 – 24 March 2018
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