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New Year's Resolutions Be Damned

Three simple, yet powerful daily practices for a healthy, well-balanced life

Rather than waiting for the new year, our family has always used the transformative power of the Solstice to review the past year, and set goals for the year to come. I have never been one for making New Year’s resolutions. Somehow that way of setting intentions, once a year, seemed disingenuous. What strikes me as more powerful are the daily practices that keep my life in balance every day, all year long.  

Being in my 60’s now, I find there is less pull to fulfilling the outer physical drives that were prevalent in my younger years. Things like losing weight and exercising more, and finding a better job, and spending less money, were not really important in making my life more meaningful, but were more about my vanity and my ego drives. These kinds of resolutions, I feel, set people up for failures, and that self-defeating unintentional way of living is not a balanced or healthy way to live.  

I would like to share my 3 very simple daily practices that have brought me a feeling of fulfillment and peace. Anyone can do them, and they are life and time enhancing rather than burdensome or shame filled if I miss a day. I do however rarely miss a day, because these simple practices bring me a lot of pleasure and peace.

Number 1

I take 5 to 45 minutes, around the same time in the morning, to read spiritual text. I contemplate what I am reading and visualize myself living as if these concepts were realized.

Number 2

Throughout the day I practice being aware of my thoughts. We have thousands and thousands of them daily, and it is difficult to track all of them, but when I start to feel anxious, or sad, or overwhelmed… I know my thoughts have gone off of the rails and I need to bring my awareness back to a more wholesome place. It is at this time that I focus on gratitude. I let myself dwell on the things in my life that are working, that do support me, and that bring me joy. I let my thoughts roam over the lovely things in my life that I want to give more attention to, and I let the feelings of love and gratitude become my focus.

Number 3

I have always believed in cause and effect, that what you put out comes back to you. Every thought you think, every action you take, every word you speak, becomes your living reality. If you live by this concept, it is much easier to be mindful of what you are putting out in the world. If you put out love, gratitude, forgiveness, and patience, these will be yours as well. It can be as simple as a heartfelt smile to a stranger, or it can be as grand as donating a portion of your monthly income. Your offerings can be as loving as forgiving someone who you think has done you wrong (including yourself), and as powerful as paying for someone’s groceries, who you know needs the help. I try to do these actions in a selfless way, meaning not drawing attention to myself in doing them. It’s not about me or my ego fulfillment, it’s not about giving to get something in return, it is about being a genuine channel for love.