With the onset of a new year, many of us set intentions to make changes. We make plans to exercise more, eat a healthier diet, meditate, save money, or go on more romantic dates with our partners. However, as soon as we run into obstacles it’s easy for these plans to get derailed. People often ask me how to effectively stay on track with one’s intentions and my answer is summed up in a short passage from one of my favorite little books, Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler:
“When we stray from our intentions, whether bringing mindfulness to experience or trying to be more forgiving and compassionate with ourselves, thoughts of failure can rain down: ‘Great, I’m back at square one.’
The beauty of mindfulness is that it teaches us that no matter what the problem is, it can be worked with.
We can always begin again!
Let this knowledge support you in the moments of your day.”
When we fall off the wagon and a parade of self-judgment, helplessness and hopelessness about ever succeeding with our intentions kicks in, it’s not only mentally and physically draining, it also brings us further and further away from getting back on track.
The fact is, no matter how far we’ve strayed, each moment presents a “choice point” to begin again.
As one of my favorite poets, Kabir, says, “Wherever you are, that’s the entry point.”
In other words, it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to change in life, or if you stray because you got sick, injured, depressed, or for a reason you’re not aware of, you can always start over.
When you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to investigate what brought you off track so you can learn from the experience, recognize the telltale signs next time, and hopefully avoid the same pitfalls.
Take these words into consideration whatever your intentions for change are: you can always begin again.