OMG! Yet another year has rolled around and for most of us, it was another year we did not do or complete our resolutions for 2013. How many of us made resolutions with the best of intentions, to resolve, and with grit to ensure we would be successful before the end of the year? How many of us didn’t succeed with this past year’s resolutions, but are preparing new ones for this coming year?

I have decided I will not make any resolutions, mainly because I do not want to feel stress, fail (yet again), beat myself up, or face the same resolution next year.

I am a Buddhist-like person, which means I have not really studied much about what is to be a Buddhist, so I won’t fail or study what it is to be a Buddhist. I do embrace what the Dalai Lama (supposedly said – for you know, everything on the Internet can be false), “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy is kindness.” I tend to be simple, so in my spiritual practice I focus on being compassionate.
I do know that being attached to the outcome is the Buddhist Second Noble Truth. So with my simple desire to avoid suffering, I do not want to want anything. I find that this has led to a life with no color. Even though I have accomplished some notable things in my life; like losing weight, running several marathons, getting a couple of graduate degrees; I gave myself an out if I did not reach those goals.

Maybe I was practicing Buddhism (or at least a piece of it) before I was aware. I was focusing on the journey rather than the destination. I was getting there step-by-step, by practicing on being in the present moment rather than worrying about the future. I was running just to run, just to enjoy my body and how it feels and moves, just to enjoy my surroundings, to experience the weather, to enjoy and suffer in the moment.

Sure, I had a goal of running a marathon and a particular date to run it, but there would be other marathons if I did not progress enough to make my original goal. The goal was an incentive for me to get out and run despite how I felt on any given day or what the weather was like. However, once I was moving, I was totally focused on that and those moments of pain, pleasure, struggle, flow and everything in between. In other words, I focused on the journey rather than the destination. I was mindful, in the present moment, and isn't that what the Buddhist practice is all about?

To have a New Year's Resolution is not so much setting ourselves up for failure but creating an opportunity to take a journey, to learn about ourselves, to face our limitations, deal with and overcome them, and to really to let go of the outcome. So go ahead make those resolutions and remember not only dedicate yourself to the effort but to also take enjoyment of how it is along the way.

Happy New Year.