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Mindful : February 2018
By Elaine Smookler Hard-knuckling it through our New Year’s goals can strain even the best intentions. Here’s a mindful strategy for less stress and more success in keeping your resolutions. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Elaine Smookler is a registered psychotherapist with a 20-year mindfulness prac tice. She is a senior faculty member at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies. to do anything takes guts, energy, and determination. It takes grit. Even worse, it may require going gently or slowing things down. And it takes courage to let yourself see how you resist or run from things that make you uncomfortable. True resolve means feeling restless and uneasy and bringing effort and energy anyway. Let’s back up for a mo- ment: What is a resolution? Ultimately, it’s how we try to give ourselves a helping hand, by either undertaking or refraining from undertak- ing a particular action. For instance, if being impul- For a practice by Elaine Smookler on dealing with resolution setbacks, visit mindful. org/resolve You Say You Want a Resolution? sive gets you into trouble, you might resolve to take a breath before you begin screaming at a stranger, your coworkers, or your kids. You might resolve to nurture your physical well-being and take the stairs twice a week. But for many of us, resolutions lose their glow once New Year’s dewy newness fades. So how can we notice and counter our tendency to crawl back into our hidey-holes and habits? Bit by bit you may notice that approaching your resolutions with kindness and gentleness makes the situation a little less tense. → “Making a resolution” has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It feels powerful to think we can simply resolve to rid ourselves of some bad habit, irritating character flaw, or maybe even a pound or two, and—poof!—it’s done. “I hereby give up designat- ing Oreos and Snickers as a food group”—just saying the words can have a “job ac- complished” quality. And it’s true: Awareness of where wearestuckinahabitora blind spot is the first step to meaningful change. But then what? For some, the quagmire drags us down as we find that resolving 28 mindful February 2018 LIVING | inner wisdom PHOTOGRAPHBYBARBARAALANE/PIXABAY