With the 2006 calendar year about to dawn on us, our thoughts are turning to resolutions for the new year. You know — all those good intentions we wanted to put into action in 2005, but never got around to.
When I was younger, I would make a written list of good intentions and resolutions for each new year. January 1 arrived and I’d be so enthusiastic about the exciting new year when all my dreams would come true. Then January 2 arrived and . . . well, you know the rest.
Do New Year’s resolutions make any sense? Is there any point in going through what’s often an exercise in futility and frustration?
And here’s Spirit.
The best way to start out a new year — or a new day — is to make a commitment to taking care of yourself.
Many of you simply do not faithfully attend to your own needs and desires. Yet if you don’t take care of yourself first, you’re not much good to anyone else.
Does that sound selfish?
Well, it is selfish. Or, better, self-ish — focusing on, and loving, yourself. Even your mainstream religions tell you to love God, Goddess, and others as you love yourself.
But that message gets muddled, and part of it gets lost, in the mass consciousness. The part that gets lost is the part about loving yourself. As if that’s some kind of horrible sin.
And that has often resulted in your belief in the value of self-sacrifice. You cannot, so this belief goes, do good (for God or for others) unless you put yourself, as it were, at the bottom of the totem pole.
That is exactly the opposite of the way it should be. You are at the top of the totem pole. You take care of yourself first.
And then, from that centered place of peace and power within yourself, you are best empowered to do the good, to do the service you are exhorted to do by your society, your religions, your governments, your teachers, etc.
All these entities are of good intent, whether you agree with them or not. They want the greatest good for the greatest number of you. We applaud that.
However, to neglect and ignore yourself — as you are often urged to do for the good of others — is absolutely counterproductive.
If you are miserable in your life because of self-neglect — and all misery is rooted in self-neglect — you cannot be of much good to another.
So if you insist on making a new year’s resolution, let it be to take care of yourself in 2006.
There are many ways you can take better care of yourself. Pick and choose those that feel best to you — and not those someone else thinks you should do. Eating a healthier diet, for example. Or exercising more, meditating more, spending more time out in nature. We’re sure you can come up with many others.
Do what feels good and right for you. Do not set yourself up with impossible goals you know you’re not likely to achieve. You have to believe before you can achieve. Do set yourself up with goals that feel good, right, and reachable.
In this way of nurturing and loving yourself, you will find within you a growing sense of joy and empowerment.
And when you are feeling joyful and powerful, you will not only be taking care of yourself. You will also be the best you can be for others.
Life is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to feel good. And the key is taking care of yourself.