How to keep a New Year’s resolution

Joey Garcia

I need help keeping New Year’s resolutions. Every year I make a list of resolutions, everything from losing 15 pounds to learning a second language. I begin my list enthusiastically. In the last few years, I have even turned my resolutions into affirmations and rituals but, in the end, I never achieve my goals. I never get my wish. I’ve been pretty depressed lately because, although my life is good on the outside (I have a nice home, new car, beautiful clothes, etc.), I feel stagnant.

First, let’s look at your language. A resolution is an action item. It means that you have resolved an internal conflict by selecting a specific activity (like losing 15 pounds) that will create the change you want to experience in your life. By contrast, a wish is a hope that someone or something else will swoop in and make it all better for you. There’s no labor on your part (other than clearly stating the wish).

Language is not the only problem here. You are not following through on resolutions. It’s possible you have chosen resolutions that you think other people would admire: “I would attract more attention from men if I was thinner.” If you are comfortable with your body except when faced with the advertising culture’s insistence that emaciated women with silicone breast implants and 10 layers of styling products are beautiful, then you are still living with an internal conflict.

The kindest act is to make a choice in your favor. Celebrate your body as the work of a great master. If you saw an oil painting of your nude body hung among the treasures in the Crocker Art Museum, would you say, “Yuck! She needs to lose 15 pounds!”? No, I didn’t think so.

Make choices to keep your body in radiant health. These might include swimming, dancing, walking, massage, facials and eating more fruits and vegetables. Schedule these choices as appointments on your daily calendar. For example: Monday, a walk at noon and a five-veggie stir-fry for supper. When you break a resolution into smaller activities, it becomes manageable and achievable. If you continue to lack perseverance in achieving your goals, ask a friend to help by checking in with you weekly, with encouragement and accountability.

My former girlfriend and I can’t seem to keep away from each other. It’s not sexual. We seem attached emotionally, even though we’ve had some terrible fights. We’ve tried to break up dozens of times, but we always seem to drift back together. I love her, but I want to move on. It’s clear that she is not the one for me. I’m not a priority in her life (except when we break up). She is frequently distant and unable to envision a future with me. She is controlling and arrogant. What can I do to free myself of her?

Does your childhood script feature a character that is emotionally distant, controlling and arrogant? Someone whose love and attention you desperately wanted but were unable to secure? If so, you can be assured that you are still trying to fill that gap in the ground of your being. Your ex-girlfriend, as you can see, does not have the fill dirt you need. Actually, no one does. So, you can end the pattern of trying to prove otherwise. At some point, you must decide that your internal landscape is breathtaking, even with the potholes, gaps and canyons formed by the emotional challenges of your life. After you do that, you will be able to focus on what you have to give the world, not on what individuals can or can’t provide you.

Meditation of the week
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them,” said Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked with the poor of Calcutta, India. I think the mind judges automatically, but we make a choice whether to act on that judgment or not. This year, be devoted to loving people so thoroughly that you have no time to criticize them.

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