Ancient Wisdom Valid Today
Saturday, September 10, 2016
This is a repeat of an earlier blog - it is not January, but many of us are making a new start this month.
How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield
Making New Year's resolutions is relatively easy, but keeping them, not so
much. Here are six tips based on the Bible and ancient rabbinic wisdom that
will help you keep your resolutions and help you have a better new year.
1. Trust the power of your words.
Simply declaring that we hope to do things differently this coming year, can
make a real difference in our lives. That insight is as old as Genesis
itself. Recall the story of things being brought into reality by declaring
them e.g. "let there be light, and there was light."
2. Be modest in your aspirations.
You don't have to fix everything at once, so pick one attainable goal and
really pursue it. When we grasp for too much, we end up with nothing at all.
But, if we pick a goal to which we can really hold on, we need never let it
3. Just do it.
Whether it's getting to the gym, eating healthier, spending less money, or
any of the other popular resolutions, just start doing it and let your
emotions about what you are doing catch up with your practice. It really
4. Don't go it alone.
No different from communal worship or major building projects, when it comes
to personal growth, there are heights which we can attain only with the
support of like-minded friends. Find a supportive community which encourages
you to keep going even when you want to give up on your resolutions.
5. Distinguish a practice from its desired result.
Eating healthier and working out are different from losing weight and
looking "better." You only have complete control over the first two, and
whatever happens, eating healthier working out are both valuable in their
own right. So, focus on the value of the practice, and whatever happens you
will feel better and be better.
6. Give yourself time off for good behavior.
Except for chemical addictions, taking an occasional break from our new
practices can actually help us stay committed to them over time. Think of it
as a Sabbath. But if you find that your time off exceeds 1/7th of your time,
you need to get back to your resolution, pronto!