I’ve been contributing to the Accent Inns blog since October 2014, and have written over 100 posts on a mind-blowing range of topics. It got me thinking about the looming New Year recently; I love starting a fresh new year – it’s like rubbing the slate clean and beginning again. The problem I have is I tend to make resolutions and not keep them – sound familiar?
I’ve enjoyed writing about all the Accent Inns locations in Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna, I’ve enjoyed working with Accent’s Mountain Man, John Espley – the gentle giant. He’s the most travelled man I know – no one could possibly know BC as well as John.
So as I look back on 2016, I have a lot to be thankful for; even the year’s trials and tribulations have taught me a lot and helped me grow. So, as we head into 2017, I wondered whether I could come up with three resolutions that I could genuinely keep. For a start, out the window went anything to do with keeping fit, losing weight, cutting back on martinis and a bunch of other well-worn and tired resolutions that get trotted out year after year only to be forgotten before we even run out of left-over turkey.
No this year I thought back over the last twelve months and thought about what had made the biggest impact on me. What had I done that really made me feel better, while making me a better person? What startling revelations did I have that I could share with others?
Sounds heavy eh? Not really, I’m really looking forward to keeping these resolutions. The key is they are not actually new, well not brand new anyway, I started them anything from several months ago to a month ago, but they are making a difference in my life and those around me and keeping up with them is important to me.
So here’s my point; if we all made and kept the following three resolutions, I believe we would all benefit and the world would be a better place.
Number One – Practice being mindful everyday
Have you ever driven somewhere and not realized how you got there? Have you ever been eating a meal and been surprised to look down and find the plate empty? Well most of us go through life on auto-pilot. Our brains are bombarding us with thoughts, many of which are stressful – we worry about past actions, we worry about what people think of us, we worry what might happen in the future. The reality? The past no longer exists, the future doesn’t exist yet, so the only reality is the present. So, while we’re worrying about what happened in the past and running future catastrophic scenarios in our head about what might or might not happen, we forget to live in the moment, in the present – the best time.
If we focus on the current moment we can focus on our driving, our food, what the person in front of is saying and we can be grateful for what we have now rather than past events we can’t change, and future events that may or may not happen. Trust me you’ll we’d all be a whole lot happier living in the now.
Number Two – I will be compassionate to myself and others and practice equanimity.
Many of us beat ourselves up – we lack self-compassion. The problem is, if we can’t be compassionate about ourselves we’ll find it difficult to be compassionate toward others. When that driver cuts you off in the highway, pause and consider them as a person. Perhaps they are in a hurry because they are racing to the hospital because a love one has been taken ill, or perhaps they are so stressed they didn’t even realize they had cut you of, or perhaps they are on auto-pilot.
Someone said to me recently, “The vast majority of people are trying to be the best person they can be.” Few of us are perfect, but most of us try to the best we can.
Mental calmness, composure, evenness of temper especially when in a stressful situation is difficult, but simply pausing and taking three breaths in and out – noticing them – will bring you back to the moment and prevent you from that knee-jerk reaction.
Number Three – Meditate for a minimum of 30-minutes everyday without fail.
I call this rebooting the brain. I always thought I didn’t have time to meditate – hey I’m a busy go-getting guy. But this year someone convinced me to try it and guess what? Amazingly I am achieving more than ever – so much so that I am increasing the amount of time I meditate because I want my writing output to increase even further and be of a higher quality.
Meditating for just 20 – 40 minutes a day, gives the brain a chance to rest, which it can’t do when your asleep because of all those dreams and nightmares. Just because you’re asleep doesn’t mean your brain is!
Yes it is difficult at first because those damn thoughts keep coming, but after several tries you get the hang of it and your brain switches into low-power mode. The brilliant things is when you come out of meditation, you don’t feel tired, you feel refreshed.
2017, is going to be the year I get my mental act together and work hard at being a better person, husband, father and grandfather. How about you?
Now if we could only get those other drivers, and the person in room 128 to chill, life would be a lot closer to perfect.