The portfolio and writerspace for Al Gentile

Commit to mindfulness in 2017

Though my New Years Eve celebration included getting sick from eating too much cajun food, the moment from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 always passes as a refreshing breeze.

For some strange reason, just as there is always something “in the air” on major holidays, myself and millions of other people start seeing the world as one big possibility to be something you weren’t before. Someone who goes to the gym, someone who saves more money, someone who volunteers more often. For many reasons, the new year is an opportunity to be the person we for some reason or another couldn’t be the prior year.

What causes us to reset what we think is possible? In 2013, Forbes published an article showing only eight percent of New Years resolutions are actually carried out, and offers some good tips on increasing outcomes.

Try an experiment next time you’re out with your friends. Ask how many times they have made New Years resolutions, and then ask how successful they were. Just asking myself this question, it ultimately leads to admitting defeat.

Could it be unrealistic expectations? A lack of motivation? Or, on the flip-side, is it like walking into an empty room and seeing the hangings on the walls before brush hits paint?

I know whenever I have made a lasting decision in my life, it was in a moment of complete sobriety; it was done after great reflection and inner solitude. Becoming a journalist, going to college, picking up the guitar. Each initiative I hold important (none are New Years resolutions) was enacted by thinking things through as opposed to wishing I already had them.

I guess a shorter way to say this is this: commit to being mindful in 2017.

Ask yourself questions 

In our world of increasing digital connectivity and the ever-pushing drive to increase productivity, slowing down and thinking about a specific choice or desire will bring it more into perspective with your own limitations.

It’s not thinking, “I want to be this,” but “Can I do this?”, “Do I want to do this?” or “Should I do this?” These questions, turned toward ourselves, bring out honest answers.

In my personal experience, I’ve turned down drinking because of a sober question to myself. That hankering for fast food, after asking myself whether or not I actually need it, goes away.

Keep things simple

It goes without saying making deliberate choices with thought behind them is a positive thing. But, think about all the times we worry about what we want to be, or what we’re not.

Many times, if I ask myself, “Will I be happier with this?” or “Will I make someone I care about happy doing this?” will make it clear whether or not I should enact the action in question.

To take a step back from the headiness of this post, I’ll just say one thing: instead of worrying about what you want, think about what you have. You will decide, rightly, whether or not having something else is worth the struggle.

In one of my favorite books, the Bhagavad Gita (I seriously suggest you read this) it reads,

Desire is the source of all suffering.

Meditate on that. Happy New Year!

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