So here we are, a time when many people review last years New Years resolutions and consider changes and goals for the new year. Some may look back and find that they failed to maintain their resolutions, I sort of felt that way.
I went an incredible five months keeping my resolutions before I went back to my old ways, after a few days of bad habits, I paused and asked myself “What the heck am I doing?”. After that pause, I went 6 months before everything crashed back to earth! …Thanks to making cookies and Chocolate around Thanksgiving.
Since Thanksgiving, and after losing about 30 pounds during the year, I have given eight pounds back!!! I gave up caffeine but found that a tad bit restrictive as caffeine is in many foods but during the second half of the year, I just kept it restricted. Right now I generally have a cup of “half calf” or decaf. I was eating right! but then along with the cookie baking and chocolate making, I had to sample a few and while I did, I filled my glass with wine!
- The small picture, yeah, the end of the year brought some bad habits back.
- The Big Picture, I did great 11 out of 12 months during the year. I still lost 20+ pounds. I am running, going to the gym, doing core workouts.
How can you better focus on your New Years Resolutions? I think the key is to “set your intentions”, remind yourself each day of what you intended to do during the year. Most times when people set a resolution, it is something that is not a default behavior. Let’s say for instance, you want to eat right and lose “x amount” pounds. You may start off eating right but after a few weeks, go back to your normal-default eating behaviors. You have not failed, you just went back to your default behaviors. If you stop trying, you have failed. Once you have a slip, acknowledge it. All is not lost! Just get back to the goal of eating right. Like me, you could eventually go several months and then, again, fall back on those default behaviors. When this happens, just get back to the goal of eating right. The longer you work at it, the sooner you will realize that your “normal default behavior” are now “eating right”.
Setting the Intention…Every Day!
For me, I want to start each and every day on a positive note. I think this is easier said than done. There will always be days where you wake up and might have stiff muscles, a headache, sickness or just a lack of sleep. It will be difficult in these circumstances to get the day off on a positive note. It is equally “easier said than done”, being able to have a happy mind with a suffering body but I worked on that in 2016. As I went on training hikes, my body was getting tired, legs sore but I looked at the scenary around me and smiles and thanked my body for taking the punishment so my mind could be free to be happy… strangely, it sort of worked.
So I will try, each and every morning, to dedicate time to reading something positive, or stretching, or meditating, or doing some basic Yoga, or going for a run, or doing some core workouts… and I will dedicate the virtue of the activity to setting the intention of being positive for the rest of the day.
….and I might miss a day but I will remind myself that I missed a day and try not to miss a second day. Hey, life happens, you may end up on a business trip, but there must be some sort of activity you can do to create a positive mind, right? Even a hot shower to loosen your muscles could serve this purpose.
Also, easier said than done, is being positive throughout the day… atleast it is difficult for me! Be on guard, when you find you are being anything but positive, acknowledge it! Address it! and work at being positive.
We all have bad habits… how did we get them? By continuously doing them. We got hooked on cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, unhealthy eating habits and being lazy by doing it over and over until it is like second nature to us. Good habits are formed the same way, by continuously doing them over and over again. So when you find yourself going back to a bad habit, address it! Work on the good habits until they just become normal default behaviors.
Whether it be food, exercise, alcohol, cigarettes (nicotine) drugs (not only “bad” but ones percieved to be good ie. Caffeine), too much of anything is going to give you an inbalance. Too much alcohol will make you sick, your sleep may suffer, you may need a “drug” (Aspirin, Caffeine, Nicotine) to get you going in the morning. You artificially alter your body chemistry this way! Even quitting the above will send your body chemistry out of wack until you can withdrawal from the cravings!… even food 🙂 and chocolate 🙂 and a nice cup of coffee 🙂 Even when leading a healthy life for months, you will still occasionally crave. Craving is okay, everything in moderation is okay, falling back on your bad habits…. not okay.
This year, I want to find the balance. Make it a full year doing what I did this past year.
- Eating right, likely aim for mostly a vegetarian/vegan diet but enjoy my carniverous and pescetarian ways every once in a while. (Losely the First Buddhist Precept)
- Avoid Alcohol, and keeping with the Buddhist theme, the Fifth Precept is “abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness”
- Avoid Caffeine, I’m not going to cut it out all together. Chocolate has caffeine in it. I still like the occasional cup of Coffee or Tea. I just don’t feel the need to have it every single day.
- Exercise and Balance, I need to find a good balance of exercise and allowing my body to heal. Add some stretching and Yoga in.
- Balancing the Mind, Take time to relax, exercise, Meditate. Attend Buddhist Meditation classes, remind myself of the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, Five Precepts. Sleep.
- Making it about others, I think we all have an inner “it’s all about meeeeee!” and yes, my life is about me but I want to make it about others. I find this concept hard for some reason but I am aware of it. I want to make friends, cherrish friends— If you are someone i connected with last year, or I contacted you… This is me, trying to make it about others!
- Find Refuge! In Buddhism, there are three jewels (or sources of refuge). I have already mentioned finding support in Buddhism and the teachings and while we are on the topic of “Making it about others”, I also want to seek refuge in the “Sangha”, the Sangha are people like me who are learning about Buddhism or perhaps just enlightened people like me 🙂 I need to spend more time focusing in the three jewels.
- Adventure! I would like to take atleast one Appalachian Trail trip this upcoming year. It is good to challenge the fear of the unknown. It’s good to be able to put your life on your back and be independent, clear your mind. It’s good to expand your mind, let nature be your eye candy 🙂
- Be Happy! Be Positive! Not sure how much I can add to this thought. I still suffer from negativity from time to time… alot of times… more so than I admit.
- Blog! If there is anything I missed, blog about it throughout the year.