Where do you fall with the New Year's resolutions question? Are you a fan?
There is certainly an argument to be made that resolutions are not particularly effective or that they assume we need to be different than we are -- thinner, better, richer, wiser -- to be happy or feel fulfilled.
I agree that it is easy to miss the mark when setting New Year's resolutions, but I can't resist the temptation to set them. I love any opportunity for a fresh start.
I keep my resolutions affirmative. My aim is not to resolve to be better than I am, but to be as good as I am -- allowing myself to grow into my divine purpose and potential.
As I set my goals, I include an intention, affirming the qualities I am willing to be. My goals look something like this:
Goal: I am developing a habit of daily exercise and healthy, conscious eating.
Intention affirmation: I am fit, healthy, and beautiful.
Goals like this work for me. I state the action I intend to take and affirm how I will show up in the world -- as my natural, beautiful, healthy self.
But the purpose of today's post is not to offer a how-to on goal-setting -- that subject is handled well by many other writers at this time of year. My offering for the new year is to share one simple tip.
My one tip is not particularly spiritual or deep, but it is practical and effective, and it can be summed up in four words:
Don't think. Get up!
When the alarm goes off in the morning, do you hit the snooze button or get out of bed?
Whether you want to lose weight, get fit, write a novel, find a new job, de-stress, deepen your spiritual practice, pray, meditate, act more mindfully, study more, finish school -- it doesn't matter -- our morning routines sets the tone for the rest of the day.
A while back, I read an article by a young monk who related having difficulty getting out of bed for 4:00 a.m. meditation. He realized that when the alarm went off, his thoughts would start to churn. He'd think about how early it was, how cold it was, how tired he was. Thinking was causing him to suffer. So he practiced getting out of bed without thought, detaching from the mental chatter so that he could simply slip out of bed and begin his meditation.
His advice resonated with me. So I hung up a little sign next to my bed: Don't think. Get up!
I put this tip to use in starting my morning meditation routine. When the alarm would go off, I'd roll out of bed and head right into the shower without allowing my mind to argue for my other options. By the time I finished showering, I was fully awake and alert. Since I had gotten up quickly, I had time to sit in meditation for 20 minutes before waking up my son for school.
We humans can talk ourselves out of anything. Mental chatter can sabotage our goals and intentions any time of the day. We are continuously putting things off until tomorrow. But when we start the day with our intended goals accomplished -- fulfilling the promises we made to ourselves the night before -- it gives us energy and momentum to do even more throughout the day.
So when the alarm goes off, get up. Say yes to the life you want to live.
When we stop hitting the snooze button -- literally and metaphorically -- we not only gain five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 or 20 -- we also gain momentum, pride and confidence.
Use the time to run a 20 minute interval on the treadmill or make an egg-white omelet or pack a salad for lunch. Use it to sit in the silence and breathe in the breath of life. Use it to write a page on your novel before leaving for work or walk the dog or pray. Use it to read something inspirational or write in your journal.
I find the hardest thing to overcome when adopting a new routine is just getting started. So in the first moments of the day, take advantage of an empty mind and simply get up and get moving. Once we're in motion, we stay in motion!
Good luck with all that you desire for yourself in 2013. Let's make it a great year.
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