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Alanna Kaivalya Headshot

Forget Resolutions and Be Happy Anyway

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Resolutions are lame. There, I said it. Everyone is making them and trying to aspire to healthier, happier living, but do they ever really work out? After a while, the resolutions we make tend to dissolve into sources of guilt or consternation. So, why make them at all? There is a way to avoid the resolutions all together and still be happy. How? Simply by laying the groundwork for those changes to occur naturally, with less suffering, guilt and worry. What will then arise is just plain happiness. Happiness with our lives, with ourselves and with our relationships. Not bad.

Before we begin this experiment, let's take stock of our 2011. Take a quiet moment and visualize the past year. Go month by month and see what challenges were faced, what problems were presented and possibly overcome. Think about the person you were when the year started versus the person who is now beginning 2012. And work methodically forward in time. See how even in times where personal challenges came up, the resources needed to overcome those challenges were available.

In every instance of triumph and challenge, we were always provided with exactly what we needed to move through it. But, remember at those times the stress or worry we felt about the impending changes? Was that stress or worry really necessary, or did it just drain us? Guilt, apprehension, worry and the like are all sources of tension. Tension is created when we resist what is happening now, and it drives us into patterns of unhappiness. Not helpful. Resolutions eventually drive us to the same thing when, after a few months of diligence, they go by the wayside and then we admonish ourselves for not going to the gym, not calling our mother and eating the last gluten-free cookie.

This kind of wicked cycle is the antitheses to happiness. Maybe instead of making a list of resolutions of things we want to try to do, we instead just let go of whatever resistance is preventing us from doing all those things in the first place. French author, Rochefoucauld, said, "The only thing constant in life is change." Imagine if we were comfortable with all the changes that come up in our lives? Because they will. And, chances are the things we long for in 2012 are already in the works. What if we could bear witness to those changes simply by letting go of the resistance within ourselves?

Like a child trading in too-small shoes for ones that fit, it's a natural process to evolve. When I first heard the newest Mumford & Sons album, it was on perpetual repeat on my iPod. For months. I couldn't get enough of it, and I though there would never be an album to top it. How could I ever get sick of the song "The Cave"? Unimaginable. But, inevitably, it happened. I found a new album, and without losing my love for M&S, I swapped my repeat buttons to something else. Currently, Adele's album, 21. It's that simple. Just like the snake that sheds its skin, we can allow for changes and evolution in our lives by simply letting go of resistance.

That's it.

Screw resolutions. Forget any thought that starts with the word "should." It's only going to cause more tension, which means more resistance, which is also equivalent to more suffering. Who needs that? Instead of putting more boxes and rules around who we should be, let's try being okay with who we are right now. This process will create the groundwork for us to be nicer, happier people with less complication, tension or stress. Wouldn't that make for a happy new year?

For more by Alanna Kaivalya, click here.

For more on making it a healthy new year, click here.

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