I gave up on the whole New Year's Resolution thing years ago. It seemed pretty self-defeating, asking myself to make transformative changes at the whim of a date change, with no real blueprint for success.
My tendency - like so many people - was to take a scattershot approach, in an attempt to flip a switch and tackle all of my ills, from dieting to spiritual conquests, exercise to work ethics. I would read two books a month, go vegetarian, train for a half-marathon, dust off my guitar, finish my novel, meditate for 40 minutes a day, volunteer monthly for a good cause, learn chess, get organized...
You see where this is going, right? Make yourself too many promises and you set yourself up for broken resolutions and a genuine case of "I-suck-ilitis".
However, a recent Elephant Journal article reminded me that if you focus your energies on one thing - one broader goal that somehow encompasses all of the aforementioned aspirations, you stand a better chance of making marked progress. It's not about finishing the novel, or losing 25 lbs, or exercising six days a week without exception. It's about growth. It's about how we look at each day and make the most of it in the way we treat others and ourselves.
So, if I dare make a resolution, it would be to practice Bodhichitta (lovingkindness) each day. An openness toward others, a gentleness toward myself, that allows for change, growth, and possibilities. Everything - staying in shape, being a good dad, a focused writer, an effective freelancer - stems from this. We live a more powerful life when we have a philosophy to engage, not a checklist to follow.
While Bodhichitta is a word born from Buddhist thought, it's a universal behavior - each religious and secular ethics system has their own word for it. Don't get hung up on the handle, just drink deeply from the cup.
Here's the link:
The most meaningful new year’s resolution: Bodhicitta.