Do you have a New Year’s resolution? With 2020 less than a month away, many feel called to reflect on the past year and commit to a new or renewed resolution for the New Year. In preparation for this time, senior monastic, Swami Gurucharanananda, shares her wisdom on how to choose, honor, and achieve your New Year’s resolution.
New Year’s Resolutions
Resolutions are often made to change an aspect of one’s life or self. Whether it be related to health, spiritual practice, quitting a bad habit, or picking up a new hobby, everyone has things they are working on. But, how often do we find ourselves falling back into old patterns?
In this pursuit of self-improvement, we are fortunate to have the wisdom of senior monastics at Yogaville, who are willing to share the valuable lessons they have learned over the years.
Swami Gurucharanananda, lovingly called Mataji, is a senior sannyasi (monk) and has seen ninety New Years come and go. When asked to advise individuals on how to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, Mataji created a simple yet profound guide, modeled after the teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda’s teacher, Master Sivananda. Mataji shares this approach in her workshop: Make Your New Year’s Resolution Last: Aspire, Ask, Act, Achieve.
“I love how Master Sivananda put the whole spiritual development of a person into pill-sized teachings. Like: Be Good, Do Good or Adapt, Adjust, Accommodate. You can memorize it or sing along to it easily. So, I created the Four A’s.”
The Four A’s
First, choose a quality within yourself that you aspire to change. Something that will help you to move forward on your life’s path. Rather than having a long list of goals, focus on just one important aspiration that will positively affect all aspects of your life. Develop a strong motivation to achieve it.
The next step is to ask others for information, guidance, and support that will encourage your growth.
“Realize that every step takes practice.”
Action or practice is the most important and often most difficult step.
“Practice daily your resolve to use the advice and remember your chosen resolution. This stage may take a long time. Determination and confidence that you will succeed if you continue is a very important attitude for success.”
The final A, achieve, closes the cycle and is the rewarding transformation as you establish a new pattern or drop a bad habit. However, Mataji reminds us that achievement does not end the need for practice. Instead, it serves as an incentive to continue making positive choices for growth.
Following the simple approach of Mataji’s Four A’s at New Year’s or any other time, we can experience the joy of achieving our resolutions through daily remembrance, practice, and determination. Mataji invites participants to arrive at her workshop with a resolution in mind, and to remember:
“The dictionary is the only place where ‘achievement’ comes before ‘practice’!”