Happy New Year — resolutions, yes or no?

I made no resolutions for the New Year.  The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. — Anaïs Nin

It’s 2010 and this is the first year I toasted the New Year without any resolutions. What’s the point, we never keep them anyway! Instead of pronouncing my resolutions over a glass of champagne, I decided to write mine in my journal. First and foremost, I decided to slow down a bit this year, do more reading and less published writing. Four books in eighteen months has given me a little bit of heartburn and although I’m happy about my accomplishments, I’m somewhat tired of reviewing galleys.

During the holidays, I read two books—Mary Karr’s third memoir, Lit which was great, but just a continuation of the tragic drama in her life. It’s mind-boggling how one woman my own age could have already written three memoirs. I bow to her writing style and story. The second book I read is one which has to do with my written New Year’s Resolution and it’s called, Awakening The Buddhist Within by Lama Surya Das. The first chapter is called, ‘Contemplating Your Life,’ which for me will be the subject of 2010, the year my first child gets married. Das writes in a very compelling and easy-to-understand manner and much of what he says appears to be common sense, but it’s nice to see it on the page. He says that self-reflection helps us heal our lives and accept any problems we have and realize that something might need to be changed. He says that everything in our life depends on our relationship with the self, the world and the other. He says that when something is going on inside your head, chances are it will have something to do with at least one of these parameters.

On the path to happiness, he suggests sitting down and trying to change one of these relationships. He poses some interesting questions which can make great journaling prompts. Try these:

  • Where do you want to be in a month, a year, five years, ten years?
  • What or who might you be if you were given the choice or the chance?
  • If someone gave you a cosmic credit card what would you do with it?
  • What do you want to do with your creativity?
  • What would you do about your compassion for others? How would or could you help others?
  • Who am I and who can I be?

In summary, the tenets of Buddhism includes being mindful or pleased in the pleasures of the moment. Focus on the words, ‘just this here and now,’ while you inhale and exhale (important part) and simplify, simplify, simplify and remember what the Buddha said, “Wherever we go, wherever we remain, the results of our actions follow us.”



6 Responses to “Happy New Year — resolutions, yes or no?”

  1. 1 LK January 4, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I never make New Years resolutions. If I truly intend on making a change, I don’t wait for New Years Day… I feel that to be a recipe for failure. Seize the day, make the change, time waits for no man 🙂

  2. 2 Jim Alexander January 4, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I never make New Year’s resolutions.
    This year I’m making an exception–No car accidents 🙂

    Happy New Year, D.

  3. 3 Gail Kearns January 4, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Diana, Happy New Year! Your blog is one that I continually read because it’s just SO interesting! Thanks for this one and for turning me on to Jung’s REDBOOK in one of your past blogs. You are truly a treasure and I hope whatever you decide for the new year brings you the greatest joy and happiness. Cheers, Gail P.S. My New Year’s Resolution is to start a blog!!

  4. 4 joan pohl January 5, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Happy New Year. I so enjoy reading your blogs. They inspire me to think, remember and grow.

  5. 5 Jeannie January 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    “Just here and now.” I am guilty of living for the future and not now, not here, but far, far away in the distant land of my mind. You asked in your blog about where we wanted to be a month, a year, or 10 years from now. I need to ask myself this but try to remain focused on the present. You asked a lot of thought provoking questions for which only my journal will be able to answer.

  6. 6 charlotte gordon January 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    I love your list of questions. I think we can stay in the present and still remember the future. It helps us make the most of Right Now.

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Quote of the Week

"A writer uses a journal to try out the new step in front of the mirror."

~Mary Gordon

About Me

I am a memoirist, essayist, poet and teacher whose passion is keeping a notebook. My notebook is my muse and my alter ego. It contains personal snippets of my life and observations from the world around me. Diarist Anaïs Nin has been a great source of inspiration for me. My hobbies include writing, writing and more writing, but when I have extra time, I enjoy reading, walking, hiking, yoga, working out, cooking and hanging out with my family and Maltese Poodle, Spunky. In order not to become ensconced by the glare of my computer screen, I also teach in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and in various conferences and festivals around the country. My pleasure comes from sharing my joy of journaling with professional writers and anyone interested in writing.

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