It’s that time again: New Year’s resolutions. According to online resources, resolutionmeans “a firm decision to do or not do something” or “a formal expression of intention.” A New Year’s resolution is “a commitment that an individual makes to reform a habit and is set apart from other resolutions because it is made in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings.”
Our Julian calendar is linear, with a beginning and ending of each year; whereas the Mayans considered their time reference to be cyclical, with no specific beginning and end. Ironic then, isn’t it, that it was the misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar that was used to erroneously predict the end of the world?
What I began to ponder is why is there so much emphasis to accept and invite change at the New Year?
According to a University of Bristol study involving 3,000 people, 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. These results are probably not a surprise since you may have experienced similar results as these participants. The study goes on to suggest techniques for improving success rates such as peer support and sharing your goals with others.
This external focus on success may be helpful, but it diverts us from the main issues. First, resolutions need to be motivated from within your own spirit. If that’s the case, you can tune into your authentic needs and not rely on the support of others as ongoing motivation. Second, resolutions need to be made from the heart and not the head. Do you feel that you want to lose 10 pounds or do you think you should? Living from your heart allows you to make decisions based on higher consciousness. Third, and perhaps most importantly, is that opportunities to change a habit are available in every moment — not only yearly, monthly, or daily, but moment to moment. One of the key yogic principles is awareness in the present moment. With every breath, with every part of the breath, is the opportunity to invite new opportunities and new awareness.
Many may have been waiting to see whether the end of the world occurred before committing to personal change! But it didn’t end, and we’re still here at the end of 2012 with all the opportunities imaginable and non-imaginable available to us. What will be your intentions in 2013?