Preparing for New Year’s Resolutions, Part 1

Today is Christmas Day, meaning we have just seven days until the New Year begins.

Among many of us in the West, the New Year is a time to turn over a new leaf. We make resolutions, setting goals for our behaviours over the next year, and we…well…we forget all about them by February.

It’s not necessarily our faults, though. We get busy, and we expend all our willpower on other tasks as the year starts to really ramp up. Unfortunately, because we don’t really understand how we got to those resolutions, we generally don’t have the perspective required to make these behaviours into habits.

Instead of coming up with the same list of good things we probably should do, let’s take this week to meditate on the ends we hope to achieve with our new habits.

Day 1: See the Target

Today, take a half hour away from the distractions that usually flood our senses (doubly so in the holiday seasons) to meditate. I’m not talking about the sort of meditation that all the “experts” call for (sitting in a particular way, attempting to remove all distractions and reach zen or whatever). People get entirely too hung up on the more “proper spiritual” practices, and so fail to learn meditation.

Get sufficiently comfortable that you aren’t constantly distracted and close your eyes. Take deep, calm breaths and relax for a little bit. We do this to help calm your mind down, so you can properly focus on the target you’re about to set.

Once you feel you’ve gotten well focused (don’t fall asleep), think about the person you want to become. You can think about who you want to be in the next year, or you can go further into the future with it, but really focus on that person. Think about how that person would stand, sound, and look. As you clarify the details, do what you can to “see” that version of yourself. The more clearly you can see the vision of your future self, the more easily you can focus on becoming that person.

Then, once you know what that person looks like, think about what he does. If you want to be a writer, “see” that version of yourself as a writer, and try to realize how that person thinks and what he does. This will help you create a sense of purpose for your new habits.

When you have a clear understanding and vision of the future self you want to create, you can stop meditating for now.

From now on, every day you should set aside a few minutes to remember everything about that future self. This will help you keep your focus and perspective when times get tough.

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