Monday, January 01, 2007

You know, I don't usually recommend making New Year's resolutions because they have an abysmal failure rate. But if you're going to make them, you need to be clear that this involves a real change of behavior and in your thinking as well. I recommend making only one resolution - or two at the most. Then your task is to shift habitual tendency. Susan Kramer, who has her own meditation column online, suggests the following:
Some helps for remembering a resolution:

1. I like to write it on a piece of paper and carry it in my pocket. Every time I put my hand in the pocket and touch that paper I am again reminded.
2. Post notes in visible locations.
3. Send yourself an email reminder.
4. Write it on your daily planner or calendar.
Then she recommends journaling about it at night:
Later, perhaps before retiring, spend a longer period in a more formal meditation: 5 minutes of even in and out breathing, moving on to several minutes reflecting on your progress toward meeting your goal.

Now, take your journal out and begin a new chapter to record your progress in keeping your resolution. In this way you can see how you are doing over a period of time and what the stumbling blocks are. And, if you fail, just write out a fresh resolve and keep going. Only quitters are losers.

Finish your meditation with an appreciation to yourself, for positive efforts in any area you have made that day!
It's important to re-define success if you really want to break a negative habit or adopt a positive one. Each time you practice the new behavior, call that success. Don't have the idea that success is doing it 100% for the whole year. You really set yourself up for failure that way. If you fail one day, then start over the next. Don't think that you've blown it and then give up.

May we all have a healthy, safe year in which we practice compassion and loving-kindness. Peace to all - both far and near.

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