Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.  ~Benjamin Franklin

About 10 or 12 years ago, I resolved never to make a New Year’s resolution again. And so far, I’ve stuck with it. In fact, it’s the only resolution to ever stick! I always hated New Year’s resolutions, never understood why at the new year we’d make the effort to change when the opportunity lies with us all year long. (Of course, I was never big on the ‘Hallmark’ holidays either – Valentines Day? Why not show how much you care all year, why just one day?). I only made resolutions because everybody did it (I know, not very self-standing, but hey.. what does the average teenager know of standing up to the crowd?), and everybody always asked, “what’s your resolution?” When I would try to answer, “I don’t care to have one,” I’d receive looks of disappointment and annoyance. Well I don’t really care to disappoint or annoy anyone, and until I gained a little more self-confidence in my individuality, I conceded to having resolutions.

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde

I witnessed others making resolutions, and failing.. I don’t know of a single person, who has made a New Year’s resolution and stuck with it all year. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, I’m just saying I’ve never met anyone. Most resolutions are about losing weight, or getting in shape, or cutting out an unhealthy habit (i.e. smoking, drinking, etc.). These are all great, but I often wonder if the label of a resolution sets us up for failure. There is the pressure to accomplish the goals we set before us, and if/when we don’t accomplish them we self-flagellate. The minute we eat that donut or pack of cookies, or have a cocktail with dinner, we accept ‘failure’ and give up. Perhaps that cookie or cocktail is part of the process.. why condemn when we can easily get back on the path? Why do we fight ourselves, and force these resolutions upon us?

I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years’. ~Henry Moore

Perhaps this year, resolve not to resolve. Make an intention, to seek the truth of your self – not to change, but to grow every day. If you have habits you want to get rid of, ask yourself if they are truly serving you and who you want to become. If not, acknowledge that and they’ll eventually fall to the wayside. Perhaps these habits have existed until now to help you realize what truly lies deep down, at the very heart of your being. And like Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to grow or acknowledge yourself only at the societal designation of the new year.. an intention can be formed now, in this breath, in this moment. Of course, the end of the year is a great time to look back and reflect on the choices you made, the questions you asked, the answers that arose. Reflect on these and learn from them.. but don’t try to force a change. In the course of evolution, there were rarely any dramatic solitary instances that changed the outlook of the world. It was always tiny little tweaks and twists over hundreds, thousands, millions of years that brought about the world we know today. It’s only because it takes a while for these tweaks to be realized, it appears to the outside observer that they were extraordinary events. So start with a little tweak, and see how you can grow! Peel back the outer layers, and find the truth that lies beneath…

~Om Shanti and Happy New Year!