I always have had trouble with New Year's resolutions. They always seem to involve doing something painful -- either giving up something pleasurable, like food (or some subset thereof) or wine, or committing to do something that one hates, like jog even though one has rickety knees. Most traditional resolutions also seem to involve setting up some kind of rule that one intends to follow rigidly. Although I think that rules have their place -- I am a lawyer, after all (and a Capricorn!) -- I also think that the resolution-type rules usually involve trying to impose rigidity where flexibility would be better suited.
Resolutions like those described above are not -- at least not for me -- easily sustainable over the long term. In fact, they seem downright destined for failure from the get-go. I think that I have known this for a pretty long while now, at least subconsciously, which probably is why I gave up the typical New Year's resolution charade many years ago. Most New Years Days in recent memory, I have found myself resolving not to make any resolutions. But that seems defeatist in a different kind of way, doesn't it? Surely, there must be a better way.
I've been thinking for a while now about what that better way might be. Since Christmas, that topic has constantly consumed my thoughts. Here is what I decided: this year, my resolution is to cultivate the principle of mindfulness when it comes to my thoughts and behaviors. I am going to identify ingrained thought patterns (including but not limited to things like "this is just how I am" and "I can't do that") and examine them for their truth or lack thereof. When I sit down to eat and drink and when I go out to exercise, I am not going to give myself hard-and-fast rules or weight loss goals of any sort; instead, I am going to ask my body what it really needs and wants at the moment. When I am about to speak or act in a way that directly affects another sentient being, I am first going to ask myself whether my intended words or actions comport with how, when I am at my kindest and most patient, I think that other beings ideally should be treated. My intention is to take the information that is gleaned from paying attention in this manner and use it to make more positive, compassionate choices concerning my thoughts and behaviors.
To me, putting this kind of truth-seeking and positive mindset into more regular use makes a lot more sense than "resolving" to lose 15 pounds by giving up wine and carbs and jogging with bad knees. But that's just me. . . .