Mindful Goal-Setting for the New Year 2011

With New Year’s just around the corner, it’s time to start working on those resolutions. You know – your New Year’s resolutions that you’ll do for about three weeks before finding them inconvenient and forgetting about them. Yeah. It happens to the best of us. But for this year, let’s look at setting goals with a stronger spiritual awareness around them. With spirituality, you are working to resolve things at their root cause.

So many New Year’s resolutions fail because they’re only working on the superficial levels. Your goal may be to lose 50 pounds, but if you don’t understand why you eat the way you do and what really needs to be healed, you’ll fail again and again at that goal. It’s not because of lack of determination in many respects; it’s about lack of understanding and awareness.

So with this article, let’s work on growing your awareness, finding goals that you can achieve, and building off of those successes.

Be More Mindful with Your Food

Dieting and weight loss are HUGELY popular New Year’s resolutions. But changing your diet without changing your mindset is ultimately pretty futile. Either that or the changes you get are temporary. Instead of trying to fit your body’s nutritional needs to someone else’s dietary structure, how about learning about what your body actually needs?

Start with this simple goal: Take one meal a day to be mindful of your food. That means eating slowly. Really savor the flavors. After eating, see how your body feels. Repeat this every day. You may start to be surprised at what foods are making you feel good and what don’t make you feel good. This alone will start to shift your relationship to your food and may create a natural weight-loss program according to what your body truly needs.

Take Up a New Exercise That’s Fun

Another really popular New Year’s resolution is to get fit. It goes hand-in-hand with weight loss, but it usually means that people end up doing some really intense and excruciating exercises for three weeks and then totally burning out. So, choose something that is fun for you. If it’s fun, you’ll keep doing it. And if it’s fun, in many respects that’s aligning with what your body likes to do. There’s no doubt that if you’re really out of shape, everything will feel difficult initially. But when you find something that you genuinely enjoy (like swimming, for instance), it’s easier to work through the hard parts.

The spiritual aspect of all this really is coming into alignment with what your body needs. This isn’t about achieving a body image. When you do that, you’re enforcing an image upon yourself that probably isn’t true for who you are. There’s a whole level of pain just in doing that. There’s so much pain in trying to be what you’re not. So let that go. And just have fun.

Sleep, Relax, and Turn Off the Engine

In our go-go-go society, you always feel like you have to be doing something. But that’s burning people out left and right. If you never stop to really let go and rest, you’re getting angrier, crankier, more frustrated, more tired, and more depressed every day. Your whole being needs to recharge. This is why ensuring that you have time for adequate sleep and relaxation is so important. If you’ve been holding off on taking vacation time, set a goal to take that time this year. Set a goal for at least 15 minutes a day of relaxation or meditation. You could also set a goal for at least 8 hours of sleep. I know you’ve got a lot going on, but you aren’t serving your job, your family, or yourself any better if you’re always deprived.

Choose one or all of the above goals, and then keep a journal about how you’re feeling as you keep up those practices. Sure, not every day will be perfect, but over time, you may begin to feel more energy and more overall peace in life.

Practical Spirituality and Goal Setting

As with anything that I teach around spirituality, it’s about being practical. Hopefully, these practical goals will help you to feel a little better, a little more aware of yourself, and a little stronger for the New Year.

Jim Tolles is a spiritual teacher, healer, and writer. He blogs regularly at www.spiritualawakeningprocess.com. You can also find him under the screen name IveFoundit on Twitter and Stumbleupon.