New Year’s resolutions are typically goals that we set for the coming year, results we plan to achieve. For example: “This year I will exercise, meditate, or somehow succeed more… and I will stress, drink, and overeat less.” Optimistic and caught up in the spirit, 'New Year’s Eve You' makes promises on behalf of 'Future You', and Future You never have a chance, because goals set in the future often stay in the future, and we find ourselves making the same resolutions the following year.
There is only ever right now. That's why deciding what you will be in the future is never as powerful as making changes in the present moment. Start thinking about how you want to live your “nows.” The best way to make your intentions a reality is to re-conceptualize resolutions as daily, even hourly, commitments, more like “New Now’s Resolutions.”
Over the past 15 years, I have gone through an incredible journey of deepening my connection to my core-essence. I consciously wanted to feel more inner freedom, to be more at peace with my emotions, and I wanted the assurance of knowing I was fully on my path. From year to year, I have accumulated habits that have made this desire a reality. I’ll share a handful of them with you below - some of them might not be for you, but they all work minor miracles for me.
Before you read them, I invite you to ask yourself what it is you really want. In this moment, ask with your attention in your heart, how do you want to feel on a daily basis, on an hourly basis? Feelings will ebb and flow throughout the day, we can’t sustain permanent inner peace and emotional freedom, but there is a baseline of “being” that can always be reached, no matter what is happening within or around you. What is this baseline of feeling that you desire? Take your time to identify it, and be honest and real with yourself. Then, with love, kindness, and patience, make small changes to your daily routine, changes that are in alignment with your core-essence desire - and expect big, juicy results.
Here are 13 daily habits I want to share with you (arranged more-or-less chronologically).
As soon as you wake up take three deep and slow breaths. The first moments of the day are very sacred. You get the chance to set the tone for your day. A deepening of your breath will bring your attention to what really matters: your core-essence. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Reach for your in-breath from your lower abdomen, completely fill your belly and ribcage with air, then drop your jaw, soften the muscles around your mouth, throat, and neck, and breathe out through the mouth, softening your belly. Allow the exhalation to be longer than the inhalation.
Feel the energy of your desired feeling in your heart first thing in the morning, after your 3 deep breaths. Gratitude is one that works well for me. So for example, say out loud, “thank you” three times, and manifest feelings of gratitude as you say the words.
Smile before you get out of bed: smile and allow even more of that beautiful energy to come in and stay in. You don’t need a reason to smile, you are simply training your being to attract and notice more situations that bring about joy, laughter, and contentment.
Ask: “How can I serve?” You came to this earth with gifts and you are meant to share them with the world. Beware of the question, “how can I get what I want?” which keeps you in strategy-level thinking. Asking, “how can I serve?” will attract situations where you can use your gifts to inspire others and yourself. Being of service brings meaning, happiness, and a deepened connection to spirit. Caution: One can only serve when their cup is full. If you are depleted, ask, how can I serve my core-essence today? so you can fill up and recharge, and then you will be resourceful to serve others. Your fulfillment is service.
Drink a glass of warm water before consuming anything else. It gives your organs a head start and aids digestion. When we support our digestive system, our body doesn't have to work as hard, and we have more energy for other systems in our body.
Drink your greens. After the water, head to the Vitamix. A green smoothie that includes more green than fruit, also at room temperature, will awaken your digestive system with all the benefits of organic leafy greens. I have found that a daily habit of drinking green smoothies has added to my energy and vitality. This is what I put in mine: warm water, frozen avocado, apple, celery, cucumber, spinach, romaine, and lemon juice, organic or pesticide-free when I can.
Come back to the breath and the heart as often as you can. When stressed or confused, when sad or angry, when nervous, anxious, overwhelmed, fatigued, or frustrated, and when you feel out of sorts, or uncomfortable, bring your attention back to your heart and breathe deeply. When in doubt of anything, bring your attention back to your heart and breathe deeply. Even when you are feeling great, bring your attention to your heart and breathe deeply, anchoring presence in your being. This has become an hourly habit for me. Your breath in your heart is where your core-essence lives. This habit brings you back home to you and helps you reset your compass, and you can do it dozens of times a day. In fact, you can spend most of your time in that space and still get stuff done!
Meditate. I officially learned how to meditate in 2009 at the Chopra Centre. I have used the Primordial Sound Meditation and the Chakra Sutras on and off for the past seven years. More and more, I see meditation as a way of living, of being grounded and aware moment-to-moment, as opposed to being reserved for a specific time and place. Each moment can be an opportunity to meditate. Try to bring and keep your awareness within as you go about your day: when you are eating your meals, driving in your car, having a conversation with a family member or a friend, brushing your teeth. There is nothing more important than what is unfolding in this moment. Everything else is meaningless noise. Stay active: I try to sweat at least three times a week and I have a stretching routine I do often throughout the week. I am Kapha so I sometimes find it difficult to get my body moving. I have found that getting my heart to race for even a couple of minutes every day really has an impact on my stamina, my overall energy, and my ability to be even more active. Don’t make a big deal out of it but try to raise your heart rate every day.
Hug the people you love and make sure they feel seen and loved. Family is at the heart of my life. When the four of us are at peace with each other and everybody feels seen, inspired, happy, and well, the heart is happy. When the heart is happy, there is nothing we can’t do together. We tell each other that we love each other every day and we hug a lot!
Don't eat after 7 pm: Intermittent fasting is highly recommended by nutritionists and naturopaths. It gives your digestive system a rest so your body can focus its energy on other important functions. I have done a few 18-hour fasts but what I tend to do on a regular basis is to give my digestive system a full 12 hours of rest. All that is required is to resist the temptation to snack before bedtime.
Fall asleep with your desired feelings in your awareness. As Wayne used to say, you will stew for 8 hours in the state that you fall asleep in. Think about your desired feelings and allow those to be the last feelings you have before your conscious mind shuts down and your soul becomes even more active. Wayne had the habit of saying every night before going to bed: “Good things are going to happen.” He had a little sign made and it was hung on the wall beside his bed. If you fall asleep every night believing that good things are going to happen, they most certainly will.
Believe that you can have it all, then make a promise to yourself to not compromise or negotiate with what you know to be true. You have a huge destiny to live out. You don’t have to push to achieve it, you simply have to know it is yours and allow it to unfold. It’s simpler than we were told. The hard part is to shift the way we “do” things from managing, controlling, and pushing based on externally referenced desires, to inviting, allowing, and emerging from internally referenced desires. It takes time but it is sooooo worth it. Living this way will take away that little voice inside that incessantly says “ it’s never enough”.
That’s it! These are things that over the years have become habitual for me. They are my antidote to New Year’s Resolutions. These practices accumulated in my life little by little over the years and I am so grateful for them. I’d be thrilled if even one or two could be helpful for you!