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Something Better than New Year’s Resolutions



2023 is upon us.


Many have set out to achieve new resolutions for the new year. There are relationships to be healed or created weight to lose, letting go of the things that no longer serve our best interest and projects to get done.


Sometimes we succeed in meeting those resolutions. We often do not, and the

resolutions fade away like someone we have met and agreed to stay in touch with but soon becomes a distant memory.


I've never been a fan of New Year's Resolutions. The expression resolution comes from the word resolve, which suggests using the force of our will against something. It is a type of resistance. And what we resist persists.


There is something that goes beyond having New Year's resolutions, which is to have targets or goals for the different areas of our lives. We can have a plan as a father or mother or sacred server. We can have goals as an employee, employers, or business owners. We can set targets as community members or as an intention for our health.


One of the things we can do to set up the foundation to hit our targets is to establish rituals that pull us toward them. Those foundational rituals can start the day by hydrating our bodies with sufficient water, meditation or yoga, and eating healthy.


We then build upon those rituals by practicing what the Buddhist tradition calls Right Effort. To achieve anything worthwhile, we must have unwavering dedication and set our minds to do whatever is necessary daily to reach our target.


Right Effort can be daily habits. Success lies in taking small tasks and doing them every day. Rather than have a New Year's Resolution that states, "This year I will__________________," we convert our long-term desires into doable daily habits and say, "Today I will _______________."


When we do what we can do today, it moves us toward our target. So it is valuable to take 10 minutes each day to determine the few things you will do that day.


Another Buddhist teaching that can help us reach our targets is Right Mindfulness. Right Mindfulness is where we quiet the mind, think more precisely, and act more wisely. The concept of 'working from our rest' is a practical tool that puts this teaching into practice.


Most people teach to rest from their work. But the enlightened work from their rest. To work from your rest, you can use the 50/10 rule. After laying the foundation of your day with your meditation practice, you can put this rule to work by working for 50 minutes and then resting your mind for 10 minutes. And then work for another 50 minutes then, rest for 10 minutes, and so on.


Of course, if you’re in the zone, you go beyond the 50 minutes. But on most occasions, you use the 50/10 rule, and you will find that you keep your mind clear and settled.


So go forth and be guided by Spirit to determine what works best for you to help you fulfill your heart’s desires in 2016.


Know that it will be your best year ever.


Peace and Blessings,

James

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