There are a couple of times in the year when many people try to start a new resolution or intention :
January (New Years Resolutions); Lent (Giving something up) and getting ready for a holiday or wedding (panic dieting).
The secret to the success here, is trying to interrupt our usual habits, in favour of changing our behaviour. It is about taking the time to make the right decision at the right time, in line with our values.
Of course, something originally lead us to a form of 'destructive behaviour' which has had a detrimental affect on us, which is why the shift in habit becomes necessary (losing weight, stopping smoking, not eating crisps). That instant gratification, which is so common these days actually encourages these poor habits to become even stronger, more intense, and harder to disrupt.
There is much talk about mindfulness, which whilst it may seem like a new age, hippy, tree hugging, alternative life style thought, is in fact the antithesis of instant gratification. It allows us to do things on purpose, intentionally, and because we have thought about it.
Now, a key thing to remember here, is that perfection is rarely possible, but being better at it than you were is a huge leap forwards. Take yoga for example. It may seem a poor attempt to do just 15 minutes one day, if really, your intention was to take a 45 minute session. Is it really worth it? Well, yes, it is! Those 15 minutes are 15 more of a mind and body workout than sitting on the sofa would have brought about.
In the attached article, a great inspiration Timber Hawkeye (such a cool name) talks about 'doing less harm', acknowledging that perfection is impossible, and when we don't achieve it, there is no drama.
So remember, something is better than nothing, and do less harm is better than not trying at all. if you don't manage to stick to your intentions or resolutions, don't chuck the towel in, just try again when it is right to do so, as soon as possible. The practise of that mindfulness and intention, along with the realisation that perfection is not possible (giving yourself the freedom from the burden of 100%), will start to bring a purpose to your day, and compassion to yourself.
The key to mindfulness is a subtle pause between impulse and action. During that very important pause, ask yourself, “WHY am I about to do what I’m about to do?” (or eat what I’m about to eat, drink what I’m about to drink, buy what I’m about to buy, etc.) Your answer might actually change your behavior when you realize how much harm your action could potentially cause to yourself or to someone else. That’s when you naturally start looking at alternative options that reduce the overall suffering in the world.