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What to resolve in 2024?

By Michael Ketterhagen

Making New Year’s resolutions is a tricky business. Many of us make grand resolutions and do not continue them a few days or a week later. When we do this, it is very destructive to our self-confidence and our will power.  We begin to set up a thinking pattern in our unconscious mind that believes we can’t follow through on our resolutions. So, we decide to not make any more resolutions, especially when appropriate times, like the beginning of a New Year, present themselves. We continue to be disappointed with ourselves even more because we begin to be convinced that we will never change habits that we want to change.

The entire process is not only frustrating, but doesn’t help us develop our self-love and the strength, internally, to really stick with or begin something that we know is good for us.  I’ve experienced this in myself and in many of the students who begin to come for yoga classes.

Yoga says to start out slowly because all the resolutions we make are the development of new mental and physical habits. Yoga calls those mental patterns and habits “samskaras”.  According to yoga, we don’t need to make the grand resolution to learn yoga this year, or to stop eating sugar-filled foods this year, or to stop lying to ourselves or others this year, or to become a better human being to our loved ones this year. We just need to start doing today whatever we would like to do.

As soon as we decide to do what we want, we just need to do it, today. Then when tomorrow comes we decide to do it that day, and so on. Eventually, doing what we want to do as each day arrives strengthens our will power (our “buddhi” in Sanskrit). Yoga says that when we do something 40 days in a row, consciously, we will have created a strong enough habit to do it always.  At that point, the action becomes unconsciously-driven, just like the other habits in our lives.

So, our New Year’s resolution may become much more effective and powerful, if we resolve to do it for one day at a time. If we miss a day, no big deal, we just decide to do it again the next day and keep deciding to do it each following day. Then, we don’t have to mentally beat up ourselves for failing to follow through on your resolution, because you only made the resolution for one day.

Deciding to do something one day at a time is a helpful yogic practice.

I bow to the Divinity within you!

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Thank you Michael. This article has deep meaning for us. I appreciate it - and you. ⭐️

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