It’s a new year, a chance to reflect on where we have been, and prepare ourselves for another trip around the sun, a collective recognition of the continual process of going from the known to the unknown. In the Akan language of West Africa the word “sankofa” translates in English as “reach back and get it.” At the beginning of a new year we have a chance to intentionally reach back and get what we have learned so that we might proceed with wisdom into the future.
That’s what resolutions are about, gathering up what we have learned and renewing our effort to getting even closer to an authentic life. Resolutions are action steps, specific goals and guidelines that we vow to follow for the year. Underneath those goals and aspirations there are intentions, a more fundamental framework of values, perspectives and aspirations that drive everything we think, say and do.
Going all the way back to the deep intentions first is a good way to establish realistic and useful resolutions. The Buddha said, “if you know where you are going, all you have to do is keep walking.” If you can clarify what direction you really want to move in it’s easier to determine good strategies for getting there.
So, at the beginning of this new-year, spend a little time reflecting on what your deepest intention is – what do you really want this one precious life to be about? Journal, meditate, sit quietly and look deep inside and ask yourself, what is the most important thing? Let the answer come to you through the body, trust your belly not your head. Once you have a feeling for what it is you really want your life to be about moving forward, set your resolutions on that. If you make resolutions that support your deepest intentions they will be easier to keep. You will still have to practice discipline but you will have a clearer idea why. When doubt and distraction invade the mind you will be able to ask yourself if eating that pint of ice cream is in line with what you REALLY want or not, if so, bon appetite; if not, maybe wait until tomorrow and have a couple of scoops.
Here is a list of resolutions or strategies that might appeal to you. If so, look deeper and see if you can find the intention that lies underneath your affinity for this action. Get clear about what is really in your heart, don’t worry about being a better you, focus on being the real you.
- Love More
- Be Patient
- Live in the Moment
- Try a Little Tenderness
- Laugh Until You Cry
- Cry if You Want to
- Listen to Music and Dance
- Listen when Others speak…Really Listen
- Be Truthful
- Smile at Strangers
- Get Stuck in the Past
- Hold Back
- Judge Others…or Yourself
One more “Do” – Have a Happy New Year!