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OPINION: Soul Work Required for Resolutions to Stick

Year-end resolutions are fine, but year-round soul work and mindfulness will serve you much better. Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Year-end resolutions are fine, but year-round soul work and mindfulness will serve you much better. Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Vision boards and resolution lists fly around like hand grenades on the battlefield at the end of every year. People make promises to themselves that they won't keep. "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right," Oprah Winfrey said once.

This year, choose you.

Actually, one might argue, keeping the resolutions isn't really a true desire. Most of these proclamations are the result of self-assessed failures throughout the year. There's a moment of reflection at the end of the year that offers a sense of motivation that this time it'll be different.

It's usually emotionally driven and quite foggy or overly broad.

"Lose 50 pounds."

"Find a new job."

"Leave this relationship."

"Move away."

"Stop smoking/drinking."

"No more clubbing."

These minimally meaningful resolutions don't carry well beyond a few weeks, months maybe. For these declarations to last, one must dig deeper than the aforementioned statements. To make real changes, a person must explore deeply the reason the problem exists in the first place.

Why are you 50 pounds heavier than you'd like to be, and why do you want to lose those pounds? Why aren't you happy on your job? Is it something you're doing that you need to change before you expect the next job to suit you better? What is making you drink and smoke? Why do you want to live somewhere else? Are you running away from something, or will the problem just follow you?

If the desire is to improve your health and be a better person, it will take more than losing weight or quitting a job to get there. Even if you are able to accomplish your New Year's resolutions, you will soon find that neglecting to fix the cause of the problems' existence will only guarantee the inevitable return of the same issue being added to next year's vision board or resolution list.

Fix it. Choose you.

Commit to putting nothing above your happiness and health—and to stop beating yourself up for things you can't change. Decide to be happy wherever you are. Be present in every moment. Accept what happens around you, and know that you can't change everything or everybody. Resolve to take care of your spirit.

That means you can find the unyielding power to work jobs that offer you peace of mind; to work out for yourself, not just lose weight; to pick self-love over a love dependent on someone else who may or may not be able to offer the love required for satisfaction; and, of course, to give you the power to be joyful no matter where you reside. Mindful presence goes or stays with you wherever you are.

Self-evaluation is a beautiful thing, but it can't be a surface exercise. It's a natural step in preparation for the next year. We all want to be better tomorrow than we were today. It's imperative to dig deep to uncover the reason that there's a need to make the resolutions made. Commit to taking the time and focus needed to fix those things.

Since your resolutions require soul work to stick, one becomes more determined to see them through. It's not as easy to forget about peace of mind and self-awareness if that is your focus. You don't have to see it behind the counter every time you go in the store to buy gas, so you won't feel like putting it off until next month.

The commitment to deep soul work is much larger, and the reward is far greater. But, it is something you can cling to all year and then for years to follow. You have chosen to simply be attentive to yourself.

There is no more sensible resolution than choosing you. "If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that's endlessly interesting and alive," Buddhist teacher Pema Choedroen wrote in "Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change." "That quality isn't inherent in the place but in your state of mind."

Plus, soul work is so vast, it makes for a pretty awesome vision board. Just make sure the board remains in your view.

Funmi "Queen" Franklin is a word lover, poet, a truth yeller, community activist, and the founder of an organization that promotes self-love and sisterhood.

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