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Don’t Try So Hard! Not Your Average Way of Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Summer Intensive 2013Happy New Year! Amazing to think that a brand new year has already begun. Already our hopes (and fears) are revving up!

Is your inbox flooded with messages about keeping your New Year’s Resolutions? I promise this will not be just another ‘how to’ message for you. (If you like, you can skip straight to the “Hands Over Heart Technique” at the end, but you might want to read on to learn why it’s my #1 secret.)

Once a student was lamenting to my Zen master, Shunryo Suzuki Roshi, that she was unable to accomplish all the things she wanted to do (in order to be a “good” Zen student). Roshi said, “Pick something easy. Just one thing. And if you do it everyday without fail, it will make everything work.” This is the way to succeed at keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Keep it simple.

That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? Why, then, do we still seem to have so much trouble keeping our promises to ourselves? I’ll tell you why.

  • At the core of every failed plan to fulfill our resolutions, there has been a root defect.  Ironically, it’s also the simplest and most important step that we’re overlooking: Constant genuine self-appreciation (love) and encouragement.

You may think, But that’s too easy!

Well yes, it’s easy. But it’s not too easy. It does take a little effort.

For the past few weeks I’ve encouraged you to make kind gestures to yourself – even as simple as practicing the ‘hands over heart’ technique. If you did this, you may have noticed some valuable positive changes. Such a small thing, but just this One

For the next few weeks I’ll be posting a series called “Easy Good Habits to Make You More Fabulous in 2014.”

I’m only half-kidding. I really am going to offer you some Easy Good Habits that will help in keeping your New Year’s resolutions this year. If it sounds like a makeover, there’s a method in this madness. By adopting these habits I’m going to share with you in the coming weeks, you can quite readily harness the power of your naturally good mind and heart, and transform not just this year, but every year of your life, from 2014 onward.

To kick it off, here’s a sneak peek at Most Important Thing you can do that will supercharge any one of my Easy Good Habits to make it an Easy Great Habit:

Fuel Up Your Positive Thoughts

  • Everyone’s heard that it’s important to “think positively” to get positive results. But more important than emphasizing positive thoughts is to “fuel up” those positive thoughts.
  • What’s the fuel, you’re probably wondering. All you need to do is genuinely connect with positive feeling energy. It’s already within you, so don’t think you’re conjuring up something out of nothing. Just remember what it feels like to feel wonderful, then “give” that feeling to your positive thoughts. They’ll expand!

All this and more is contained in a simple act of patience and kindness, which is why, if you keep practicing such acts, you find more and more richness and aliveness in every area of your life. When you say “yes” to life’s commitment to you in the moment, life answers “yes” in every situation, and in every moment. The more often you make your gesture, the more re-sensitized you become to life’s constant beckoning gesture of kindness.

There is a beautiful statement of commitment that expresses this. It comes from spiritual traditions that involve a guru/disciple relationship, but the truth applies to your relationship with Life itself as your guru:

“When you take one step towards your guru, your guru takes 1000 steps towards you.”

In 2014, continue to cultivate the kindness and patience. As Suzuki Roshi suggested to his student, you can begin with “just one easy thing” and watch Life take a thousand steps toward you, with open arms. You can begin with . . .

The Hands Over Heart Technique

  • For just 5 times a day for just 20 seconds, with your hands over your heart, stop and breathe with a soft belly and soft shoulders, then bless that part of you that fears, and bless the one who inspires the fear. For ‘fear’ you can substitute any negative emotion — jealously, resentment, etc. that you might be battling with.

Do this for yourself daily for one month – just try it, 5 times a day for 20 seconds each. Certainly you can spare 100 seconds per day! When January is over, take note of how your life has changed. You might find that this practice has grown on you.

May you fill the path of 2014 with your love and enthusiasm!

For support, consider the Awakening Inner Wisdom & Love Audio program (CD or MP3).

As always, sharing and questions are welcome!

Email jack@FindingTrueMagic.com. Good luck!

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