Re-claiming New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. We look back on the year, we take stock of the changes we want to make, we may even write them down… and inevitably we slip. We break our resolutions, we forget them, or we never even start them at all. Then we beat ourselves up for not following through.

Guess what: it’s really hard to make real changes without changing the way our brains work! If we are wired to make unhealthy choices, to self-sabotage whenever we are headed towards real growth, we are setting ourselves up to fail before we even start. Even with the best intentions.

My class from Minneapolis last week, making some changes.

My class from Minneapolis last week, making some changes.

Here are a few Vedic thoughts on how to make real change this New Years.

1.     Start a meditation practice. Clearly I prefer Vedic (!), but many types of meditation have been shown to re-wire our brains through a process called neuroplasticity. It’s never too late to actually change our brains! Once our brains are re-wired, it’s much easier for new habits to stick. (aka you can teach an old dog new tricks).

2.     Both in and outside of our meditation practice, Vedic meditation insists on being effortless and nonjudgmental. Don’t beat yourself up for veering off track! That’s just perpetuating the brain chemistry of rejection. It only takes 1 effortless, comfortably-seated, 20 minute meditation to get back on track again.

I'm definitely grateful for the care puppies I saw today in the Chicago airport on my way back to Atlanta. 

I'm definitely grateful for the care puppies I saw today in the Chicago airport on my way back to Atlanta. 

3.     Instead of finding things we want to change, we can focus on what we are thankful for. New Year’s Eve, in our tradition, is a time for gratitude. At midnight, we meditate, take a walk in nature, and then write down 108 things we are grateful for. 108 is a significant number in the Vedas, and I know it seems like a lot. But once you get started, it really flows! You can be grateful for big things like clean air, family, and love, and also for small things like macaroni and cheese, soft towels and the smell of coffee. Plus, gratitude practices also have long term effects on our brain function and well-being. Win-win.

I’ll be posting my list of gratitude on my facebook page, and you can check it out here. This New Year’s, re-claim resolutions and try something new… download a meditation app, be kind to yourself, focus on gratitude. Or all of the above :)