Mindfulness and New Years Resolutions!

“Nothing endures but change.”
― Heraclitus

Are you someone who makes New Year’s resolutions? If so, how long do they last? How can we follow through with the things we want to change in ourselves and our lives?

Just by wanting to make change you have taken the first positive step. You have reflected on the way things have been and decided on a goal or challenge you wish to address. Perhaps it is a change in behavior, a shift in habit, or the desire to try something new, or to let something go.

Setting these goals and intentions keeps us moving forward.

A meditation practice teaches us consistency and perseverance. When we sit, we focus on our breath and observe our thoughts. If we get distracted, we bring ourselves back to the sensation of our breathing over and over.

When we set a goal, we need to engage these same qualities.

We also need patience, something else meditation teaches us. To achieve a goal you usually need to take the long view. Impatience can really drain our motivation. Keeping the open frame of mind required in meditation towards the challenges we set for ourselves helps us to be open. Learning as we go. So much of life is about the journey. In fact life really is the moment. That is all we really have.

This open mind also helps you to constantly connect to what is important to you. This allows you to return to the initial inspiration to boost your motivation for growth.

This connection is important, as there will always be “obstacles.” Often if we take the time to stop, breathe and observe these obstacles — as we would our thoughts in meditation — we may discover that they dissolve. Perhaps it is a fear, or the habit of negative thinking. This renewed awareness is our friend.

There is rarely a straight line to achieve our resolutions. I often look to nature for this lesson. Rivers twist and turn and trees bend and lengthen. We get off course, we forget, we lose perspective. This does not need to derail our intention, it is just part of the journey.

Last but not least is compassion. Compassion for yourself, compassion for others. It takes so much energy and determination to make change and it is important to value your efforts. Trust that all you are doing is helping you to grow and move forward –even if it is not quite the way you planned!

Brogan Ganley is a Mindfulness and Meditation program developer, consultant and artist. She works in schools, hospitals, community centers and privately with both adults and children who are experiencing stress and anxiety.