Tag Archive New Years Resolutions

2016 – Annus Mirabilis :)

Roger Holmes No Comments

There is a theory doing the rounds that 2016 will be remembered as Annus Horibilis – a Latin term meaning horrible year. Whether it is or not depends on how you perceived it. Personally, 2016 was Annus Mirabilis, and I am looking forward to an even better 2017!

People are pointing to the election of Donald Trump, the Brexit vote, celebrity death, continued economic uncertainty etc etc as evidence of some sort of perfect storm of negativity in 2016. That may or may not be, but I have learned by using The Paris Method, that I can feel good in most situations. If you rate your year based on things which are beyond your control, then Annus Horibilis will call again.

Last year, as 2015 was winding down I wrote a series of entries in this blog about meditation, inspiration and motivation. Anyone can talk the talk – but how do you walk the walk? I took a few hits along the way. Not everyone is going to be receptive to this kind of talk, and I had to learn that this is okay. People will chit-chat; some will speculate and others will even poke fun. But it shouldn’t matter. It didn’t matter to me.

 

At the dawn of 2016 I made a few decisions and used certain methods to stick with my convictions as the year progressed. And by doing this, 2016 was the best year of my life. I honestly believe it didn’t just happen by chance. I feel that I had a part to play in how my year panned out.

 

The basic decisions I made were to:

  • Meditate regularly
  • Be grateful
  • Think less about myself
  • See the good in others
  • Be positive even when it did not seem to come naturally.

 

Writing last year about this type of stuff, and publishing it on the internet was not an easy thing to do. There were a few reasons I did that. I wanted to see the year in totality; right from January 1st. I also wanted to see the progression, because I think that is great inspiration for the future. Putting it out there in the public domain also set a challenge for myself, and I used that as motivation to keep going.

 

I’m not going to go through all of the enjoyable things that happened in 2016, but suffice to say that it was a year that worked out really well for me. I helped to raise over six thousand dollars for a cancer charity, and encouraged dozens of men in their 40’s to go and get checked out for early signs of prostate cancer. I am really happy about that. And the best part is, right now I have plans in place to enjoy 2017 even more. It may or may not work out that way, but Im looking forward to it with optimism.

 

never-stop-exploring

Next year I plan on taking on another adventure challenge to test myself, and to raise awareness of prostate cancer. The adventure is going to be solo. It is going to be tough. And I am going to do it. Unlike my bike ride across America, I am not going to be fundraising for a charity this time around. I want the challenge to be more focused on what is really important.

 

If all goes well, I am going to start a business in 2017. I plan to finish the book that Im writing about Trans Atlantic Cycle, and have it published. And I certainly plan to explore and learn more about meditation and it’s benefits. That is a big one.

 

Whatever resolutions or decisions you make for 2017, I wish you well with them. I am not in the business of telling anyone what to do, but meditation has really helped me. I can appreciate things in a new way, and can sense the freedom to make positive changes and help others along the way. Keeping a promise to yourself is a beautiful thing. If you break that promise then don’t worry; just start over. Keep at it. You can make 2017 your annus marbles! Just remember…

Every waking moment is another chance to turn it all around.  

How to Keep your New Years Resolutions

Roger Holmes No Comments

New Years Resolutions

Early January is a time for change. After holiday indulgences, many of us plan a fresh start to herald the arrival of a new year. Millions of people make new years resolutions every year, but despite our best intentions, as few as 8% actually follow through with those promises for more than a few months. According to Time Magazine, the top 10 new years resolutions are:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Quit Smoking
  3. Eat Healthier
  4. Get out of Debt/Save Money
  5. Be Less Stressed
  6. Drink Less
  7. Volunteer
  8. More Friend/Family Time
  9. Learn Something New
  10. Travel to New Places

Making new years resolutions such as those on the list above, is relatively easy. Keeping them is a little less so. As time moves along, we seem to forget the promises that we made to ourselves, and the reasons we made them. We might even want to forget that we made the commitment at all, as a means of guilt avoidance when we fail.

Fortunately, I know a little bit about having to sit myself down and make a life-changing decision. And more importantly, I know a little bit about having little choice but to stick to it. At the time that I stopped drinking alcohol, I wouldn’t have looked at it as being a fortunate event, instead probably seeing it as a frightening cliff face that my relationship with alcohol had walked me towards. There was no going back. I could either fall, or build some wings to support myself as I was forced to take a leap of faith and leave my mountainous problems behind.

Until today at least, I am still airborne and very much enjoying the flight. Whether it is ongoing recovery from addition, or a simple lifestyle improvement by making new years resolutions, I believe the basic principles are the same. I also believe that if we really want to achieve something (that we are realistically capable of), then there is nothing in this world to stop us.

 

Understand

Keeping new years resolutions is difficult for a very simple reason – we so desperately want to make lifestyle changes, because the particular thing we want to address has been taken to excess. This means that we really like doing it, not doing it, smoking it, drinking it or whatever the case may be. So going from excess to abstinence is difficult if not impossible, until such time as we understand why we excessed.

Regardless of whether it is alcohol use, dieting, exercise, being less stressed, making more time for family or whatever resolution we chose, instead of aspiring to something new, maybe we can look at why the issue requires such a dramatic change in the first place. This will help us to understand what we are trying to change, and help us to be grateful for every moment in which we keep our new years resolutions. Understanding the need for our new years resolutions on an ongoing basis will dramatically increase our chances of succeeding. Remembering the emotions that drove us to make the decision to change, will help us every day. It is not so much about a new fight every day to keep your new years resolutions, it is about understanding what drove you to making that promise to yourself in the first place.

 

Change

Change requires just that; change. Hoping you keep your new years resolutions to be healthier, skinnier, fitter, less stressed is not enough in itself. WE need to actually change. After I stopped drinking alcohol, I changed much more than just what I chose to put in my glass. I broke ‘friendships’, changed habits, formed new relationships, avoided certain places, frequented others, took up new interests, read new things, looked at life with a more open mind and did just about anything it took to give myself the best possible shot at staying true to my decision on a daily basis. If we want to diet by avoiding convenience food, then maybe we also need to change where we pick up our food, change our routine, eat at different times, spend less time in the company of others who eat convenience food, etc. An isolated decision alone, regardless how much we promise ourselves that we will keep it, is susceptible to failure unless we make other changes to accommodate it. So, to change, do just that – make changes.

 

Ignore the Negativity

While kicking the habit, or starting on a better path is an admirable thing to do, it can actually make us feel worse unless we actually stick to it. Breaking promises to others is one thing, but breaking a promise to ourselves completely destroys our self esteem. Sometimes we are so disgusted with ourselves for breaking our new years resolutions that we actually revert to even more excess afterwards, making the desperate promises of next January even more difficult, and mapping out a year filled with guilt until we try again. We need to ignore this negativity. Our subconscious, or ego, will do its very best to drag us down. Who can identify with the voice that says ‘but you deserve it’, ‘its only one’, ‘I can start over tomorrow’, ‘this is too hard’ etc? We really need to ignore that voice. It will go away if we ignore it and stay strong by sticking to our convictions. This voice is trying to make us unhappy, so why should we obey it?

 

Believe

As new years resolutions get broken, we subconsciously tell ourselves that we are incapable, that we are stuck, unable to follow through with our dreams and plans. So not only do we revert to the excesses of our worst habits, but we also damage our ambition in general. We need to believe in our own convictions, regardless of how much or how little progress we seem to be making. If you fall – get up. If you fall and get up and fall again – then get up yet again. Always get up once more than the number of times you fall. You have got to believe in your convictions and your ability to do this, regardless of what happens. If there is one person or thing in this world that you can believe in, it is yourself. Because you yourself have the ability to control what you believe in.

Here is a good reason to continue believing in yourself, even if you have slipped up along the way. Even in failure we can find positivity. According to Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioral Addiction at Nottingham Trent University, people who make new years resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t. So you see, even in yesterday’s failure, there is an echo of today’s success.

 

Live in the Now

To give ourselves a better chance of keeping our new years resolutions, we should forget about the new year. Yes you may already have lasted for two days, or a week already. But guess what? That counts for nothing when it comes to your chances of keeping your promise to yourself. Every moment is a standalone moment. Yes, certain abstinences will give us benefits the longer we refrain, and yes we will garner more self belief the longer we stick to our resolutions, but why on earth should we be measuring our future based on a date in the past? Be happy with yourself right now, not happy for yourself in the past. The new year is gone. Yesterday is gone. What we did yesterday is also gone. The ironic truth is that in many cases, the longer we abstain, the harder we hit the old habit if we take it up again. (Smokers tend to smoke more heavily after a failed attempt to quit, dieters tend to put on even more weight after a failed regime and tee-totalers often go on a huge bender after falling off the wagon). So, forget what you have done so far, or how long you have ‘been good’.

Any resolution is only applicable today, or even right at this very moment. You cannot change the fact that you either kept your new years resolution or broke it yesterday. You have no way of knowing or controlling what will happen tomorrow. So, to give ourselves the best chance of keeping our new years resolutions, we should look on them as ‘this moment resolutions’, rather than new years resolutions. Forget the past. Ignore the future. Just concentrate on the now – for now is all we can control.

 

Reward Yourself

We all like a pat on the back. If it comes from others it can make us feel uncomfortable. But if we are able to genuinely pat ourselves on the back, it will feel amazing, and keeps our ego in check too, because suddenly this new regime is rewarding as opposed to being arduous. After stopping drinking, I ‘rewarded’ myself by taking up new activities and being able to afford the cost of the best equipment, for example surf boards, surf holidays, cameras, gym membership, a cool phone, a car etc. Just be careful not to replace one habit with another. Many addicts suffer cross-addiction when they attempt recovery. The void left by one addiction is often filled by a new addiction. This is also true for habits, even if they are not problematic habits.

Reward yourself, but just don’t overdo it. Most of all, enjoy the benefits you are now experiencing because you are are keeping your new years right now resolution. If you haven’t made a resolution, fear not. You can start anytime you like – new year or not. Because, to quote from one of my favorite movies: ‘Every waking moment is another chance to turn it all around’.

The Paris Method can help you to ask yourself what you would like to change, and help you to achieve it. Change is beautiful. Make it. Keep it. Enjoy it.

5 Reasons to Meditate by The Paris Method

5 Reasons to Meditate

Roger Holmes No Comments

As one year draws to a close and a new beginning dawns, many people make health and lifestyle pledges. Surprisingly, despite strong convictions, only 8% of those who make new year’s resolutions, actually keep them. Meditation can help us focus on our convictions, helping us to follow through with our best laid plans. Why do those who meditate feel that it is such an important part of their life? Here we look at 5 reasons to meditate and examine why they have become so popular.

5 Reasons to meditate

Increase Productivity/Creativity

This is one of the more interesting reasons to meditate. Some of the most successful people attribute their success to meditation. The late Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, talked talked shortly before his death about how he had meditated during his career. Here’s a quote from Jobs, via inc.com

If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. – Steve Jobs.

Jobs may have been a little ahead of his time in more than electronics. Today, many global businesses encourage their workers to spend a little time focusing their minds. Companies who encourage meditation of some sort include:

  • Apple
  • Prentice Hall Publishing
  • Google
  • HBO
  • Nike
  • AOL Time Warner
  • Yahoo
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Proctor & Gamble

Meditation increases innovation and motivation, by reducing cluttered thinking and procrastination. If ever we needed good reasons to meditate, this is surely one of them.

 

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Meditation is like a health tonic for the mind. But now science is suggesting there are benefits for our bodies too. Deepak Chopra and others believe in a strong mind-body relationship, which can be harnessed as a viable form of healthcare.

Think about it, if we have to walk around a town or an office building we don’t really feel any differently afterwards. But if we walk on a beach, where we are in a wide open space, which allows our minds to relax, we feel calm and reinvigorated. Why is this? It might not be all about the fresh air. Walking in places where we have the freedom to switch off is a great form of meditation, and helps us boost that mind-body relationship.

 

Stress Relief

One of the main reasons to meditate for many people is to relieve stress, or to prevent stress building up in the first place. If we have a busy schedule, we may not even notice that we are stressed. Some people like to be ‘on the go’ all the time, which is great. But using meditation could mean that our busy lifestyles are a little more enjoyable while we are ‘on the go’. Who wouldn’t want that?

While the benefits of meditation have been commonly known for some time, neuroscience developments have now proven that meditation lowers stress.

 

Relationships

Making time to relax through meditation, is a great way of making ourselves more available to those closest to us. There is a difference between actually hearing and understanding the feelings that are being conveyed to us, and simply hearing words while our focus and concentration are elsewhere.

Many relationships break down due to a lack of communication. Not due a lack of words, but a lack of understanding and processing of communication. Better relationships can be forged if we are focused on each other, meaning we are fully available.

The art of listening will make you a great friend to have. Busy minds, where constant internal chatter and stress are rife, generally don’t have much time or space for others. So meditation not only benefits us; but it also has a positive impact on those around us, via our relationships with them.

 

Enjoy the Silence

Have you ever had a song ‘stuck in your head’? Or maybe it is a word, phrase or simply an annoying thought or opinion that crops up too often. Do simple things cause you to become frustrated? Everybody in one way or another experiences this (although most people won’t admit to it).

Learning that we can take control and chose the thoughts that we have is a revelation. Simple meditation can eradicate the silly thoughts which take up our head space. This head space can then be repopulated with more enjoyable/relevant/positive thoughts. Meditation brings peace to the mind, making this one of the best reasons to meditate.

 

If you find it difficult to start meditating, have a look at The Paris Method, a simple 5 step practice which makes it easier to get to the place where you can enjoy the benefits of meditation.

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