This week between Christmas and New Year’s is traditionally one of indulgence, relaxation, and a general shake-up of the routines that many of us work so hard to maintain throughout the year. For some, it’s a welcome relief from the norm—spending time with family, traveling, and taking off from work and responsibilities is a luxury that all of us deserve, especially as the light wanes (technically waxes, but still…) and the cold weather encourages us to retreat to safe, warm places of comfort and home. The out-of-the-ordinary spending, eating, and exercise habits, however, are also the perfect fuel for the other wintertime tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. Come January 1, #detox will likely be a top search engine hit and plastered all over your social media accounts, and the dieting industry will see a boom as people resolve to make 2018 the year when weight loss, other health goals, and a general reevaluation of priorities ensues.
It’s been years since I made a formal New Year’s Resolution for several reasons, including to consciously step off the train of quantifying my wellbeing with arbitrary and restricting labels. Being able to adapt to changing circumstances in my life, no matter what day of the year it is, has greatly improved my understanding and acceptance of change. Rather than confining change to all-or-nothing promises that are bound to fail (only 8 percent of all resolutions last in fact), I think of it as something fluid and unpredictable. I can enact change, but my response to my ambition—and the universe’s—doesn’t always align with my vision of the outcome.
That’s why I usually adopt a “Resolve Now” mentality, using the circumstances of the present for inspiration. Taking time this week, when your mind might have a bit more clarity to sync with your heart, can be useful in deciding what you need to do right now, rather than even waiting for January 1 to roll around. And when you’re armed with this constant resolve, even the most trying of situations—aka family get-togethers gone awry, cooking fails, travel delays, etc.—will no longer seem as impossible as Santa’s delivery route. Hopefully, one or more of these suggestions will speak to your present and help usher in a New Year full of growth, nourishment, and change that motivates rather than paralyzes.
5 New Year’s Mantras
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.” —Mother Teresa
The embodiment of selfless love and acceptance of some of the harshest realities of our world, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta reminds us not only of the urgency of now but also in our collective power to embrace now. When you as an individual begin each day afresh, letting go of resentments and guilt (#sorrynotsorry for all those cookie ideas…) from the past, and ideas for the future you may not have control over, you impart a spirit of ease that has a strong ripple effect among your friends, colleagues, and family. So when you return to your inbox on January 2 full of regret about taking those extra days off to recharge, or read the news and feel helpless about the atrocities around the world, resolve to simply begin. No matter how far you get on the journey, you’ll at least have taken the first step.
“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” —Epicurious
The original pleasure-seeker turns the cliche of more=happier on its head in his original words. Rather than moving through life with a goal of attaining while attaching a sense of satisfaction to objects, try taking stock of the tiny pleasures—including experiences—that make your heart and spirit rich. You may find yourself with a new outlook on the materialism of the holiday season (post-Christmas sales are here, folks!), and how you can give more all year round with less.
“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” —Patti Smith
Legendary musician and style icon Patti Smith didn’t let labels or expectations get in her way at any point in her life. Living her life like a piece of art, she reminds us that the conduit between dreams and reality is open but tempered: that enacting our dreams and desires doesn’t mean ignoring the present. When we dream big, we don’t need to act big: instead, a tactic of “stealth” allows you to be shifty in the best of senses, and always on the edge of the possibilities our dreams and others’ have in store for us whether our rational brain knows it or not.
“Let all your affairs be in love.” —The Bible (Corinthians, I.14)
A case in point of how others’ interpretations can misguide our resolve is how religious texts like the Bible are known in our secular culture. Despite rumors of its glorification of suffering and sin, however, the New Testament, which chronicles the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, is full of what the Beatles said is all we need: love. Who and what you love can’t be planned for or extrapolated by an algorithm, as many dating sites (with New Year promotions) will want you to believe. Instead, remember that love is a verb, an exchange that can flow as easily as the breath and is as essential to our daily life. If everything you do—walk, eat, write, speak—is an expression of our love for ourselves and the world, perhaps you may find love hiding in a place you wouldn’t expect.
“The inspiration you seek is already inside you. Be silent and listen.” —Rumi
If you’re reading this post, you’re likely looking for some sort of inspiration in life, love, or everything in between. With our abundance of resources and “experts,” whose cure-alls promise the key to having a better life, it’s easy to get caught up with other people’s ideas of happiness and success. Acknowledging what you really want, however, is a much more effective route to what you want. It’s harder to be sure, because making the space to hear your truth requires pressing pause, or even stop, on the stream of talk infiltrating our ears. Cultivating silence in your life and mind through meditation or yoga may be the first step to discovering your own inner truth and living it.
Do any of these New Year’s mantras speak to you?
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photos: Adobe Stock, Penguin Random House, Pixabay