Christmas has now passed, and the new year will soon be upon us. At this time, many people make resolutions--perhaps to work out more, to start going to church, to eat better, or to be more kind to others. However, resolutions are not always easy to keep. How many people have made resolutions at the beginning of the year only to neglect them after a few months (or worse, after a few weeks)? There are, of course, those dedicated souls who, by some miracle, are able to stay true to their resolutions all year long, but those people are few and far between.
In Deepak Chopra's book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (read. it. now. it's. such. a. great. book.), he details seven universal laws. All seven of them come together in very important ways, but regarding New Year's resolutions, the Law of Intention and Desire and the Law of Least Effort seem particularly pertinent. The Law of Intention and Desire states that "Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment." This means that any time you set an intention or decide you truly desire something, the Universe immediately begins to conspire to bring it to you. The Law of Least Effort is based upon the fact that nature's intelligence functions with "effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness." To understand this, think of that verse in the Bible about the birds of the field, and how God always provides for them (Matthew 6:26). This law essentially means that, as nature functions effortlessly and perfectly, so can we. We do not need to be adamantly attached to specific outcomes for our lives and circumstances; we simply must practice acceptance, and God will provide.
These two laws come to my mind when I think of New Year's resolutions. I think of how some people (and, in the past, myself) have been so attached to their resolutions--people who want nothing more than, for example, to lose weight. However, also in my experience, when there is heavy attachment to the outcome, somehow, things just don't seem to work out. There usually are issues that come up along the way that deter us from attaining that outcome we're so attached to, and ultimately, we either get annoyed about it or completely give up.
I have given up on making New Year's resolutions, and instead, I have adopted a practice of making New Year's intentions. When I make these intentions, I put God (or the Universe, or nature, or chance, or whatever you might call it) in charge of the outcome. Rather than being adamantly attached to my desires and eventually failing to fulfill my goals, I make a list of things that I intend to do and experience throughout the year. After I make the list, I read over it once or twice, and then I put it away somewhere--perhaps under my bed or in a desk drawer. Then, I completely forget about it. I proceed to live my life in whatever way I feel led to live it, and later on in the year, when I dig out my list of intentions again, I find that they have almost all been fulfilled.
The power of intention is strong, especially when coupled with the Law of Least Effort. When I set an intention, I am basically telling God, "This is what I want, but of course, your will be done." Then, the Law of Least Effort is automatically applied, because I have already decided to accept whatever circumstances may come and allow God to lead me. I don't need to stress about going to the gym all the time, and I don't have to worry if things don't seem to be going my way. I just trust, and somehow, eventually, it all works out.
It cracks me up that so many human beings put so much effort into reaching their goals and making decisions (O.K., obviously it's important to use effort and be diligent in things like our educations and careers, but in other circumstances--such as finding someone to marry, deciding where to live, or struggling to maintain a crazy routine--it is essential to just let go and let God).
Anyway, I digress. I really just want to say that making New Year's intentions (as opposed to resolutions) has been extremely effective in my life.
Here are some examples of my intentions for the New Year:
1. I will live with an open heart.
2. I will experience great love.
3. I will cherish my family more.
4. I will be moved to write meaningsul words.
5. I will have time to spend with all the precious children in my life.
6. I will stand up for what I believe is right.
7. My family and I will experience wonderful health, great joy, abundant safety and protection, and copious amounts of love.
8. I will save lots of money.
9. I will enjoy strong friendships.
10. I will feel connected to God through all I do.
11. I will maintain a naturally active lifestyle.
12. I will be present.
13. I will meditate more often.
14. I will heal.
15. I will not be so paranoid and anxious anymore.
16. Wonderful things will happen to me.
So, really, I just make a list, I forget about it, and through the Laws of Intention and Desire and Least Effort, it works out. I kid you not. Try it out, and see what happens. Allow God to work through you in the New Year. You don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.