Every year, people make New Year’s resolutions as a way to set intentions about what they want going forward. A lot of times, these resolutions are the usual ego desires, and we rarely ever inquire as to from where these resolutions come.
It’s not surprising that many resolutions don’t pan out (like that commitment to go to the gym to get fit) because we don’t know ourselves well enough to understand the deeper ego inside of us nor the issues that hold us back.
This doesn’t make resolutions an unworthy ritual.
It simply means that if we want to set intentions for a new year that might stick, then we need to go deeper in understanding ourselves.
To help you along, I’m offering eight spiritual New Year’s resolutions for 2023 to go deeper in understanding yourself. They can help you to consider what you truly want in your life. Hopefully, that might make it easier for following through on your other 2023 New Year’s resolutions.
1. Be Here Now
Let’s start with one that you’ve already achieved.
You are already here now.
However, we sure let our minds wander off a lot.
Clearly, there is a need for most people to practice bringing that wandering lamb home. It’s really not hard to do because you are always here now. The minute you notice that you’ve wandered off into a mental fantasy, you’ve already returned your attention to the present moment. That noticing is your awareness, and your awareness lives in the present moment. There’s nothing more you need to do, although I suspect you’ll become more aware of how often your mind abandons the present moment.
As such, resolve this year to make it a practice from time to time throughout your day to draw your attention to the present moment and to let go of thoughts about the future and the past.
2. Start or Re-start Your Spiritual Practice
Many people do not have a regular spiritual practice, or they’ve let their practice fall by the wayside. I encourage you to resolve to start or re-start your spiritual practice for 2023.
The specifics of your spiritual practice are up to you. Whether it is prayer and Sunday church, daily meditation, your favorite yoga class, breathwork, a combination of these, or something else entirely, find something that works for you.
Then work on continuing it.
It doesn’t have to be hard or extensive. You don’t have to meditate for 3 hours a day, but discipline is needed. Through that spiritual discipline, you can benefit in terms of physical relaxation, emotional stability, and mental serenity.
If you are brand new to the spiritual path, check out this blog post to help you develop your spiritual practice:
How to Start Your Spiritual Journey
You may also find my ebook to be helpful:
Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening
If you need to restart your path, this video may be useful.
3. Deepen Your Spiritual Commitment
For those of you who have a regular spiritual practice, make it a resolution this year to go deeper, whatever that means for you. I don’t mean meditate more necessarily. I mean find places within yourself that you haven’t explored or find additional spiritual people to support you.
People tend to explore the parts of themselves that they are comfortable with and avoid other aspects of their inner spiritual work. Many people who are comfortable with intellectual pursuits only engage with the spiritual path via ideas. They can talk up a storm about Eckhart Tolle or Ramana Maharshi or the Vedas, but when it comes to knowing their hearts, they are still in the dark.
Similar imbalances can be true for people who know their hearts. While they are strong in their emotions, they are not at peace in their minds or their bodies. Some people know their bodies, but they avoid dabbling in the world of the intellect. There are all kinds of ways to grow and to deepen one’s commitment to the spiritual path.
Going deeper usually means attending to the places where we are weak and under-developed.
Another way of changing and deepening your commitment can be around the spiritual support you have or don’t have. For the solitary seeker, it may be time to find a spiritual teacher. For the long-time student, it may be time to go deeper with the teacher you have, find another one, or learn to listen to your inner teacher on your own.
Do You Need a Spiritual Teacher?
4. Seek Out and Confront a Core Issue
This resolution could easily be the same as the previous one, but not necessarily. Core issues sit at the center of the unconscious ego. They’re part of what we unconsciously believe about ourselves in the most fundamental ways. Core issues include self-hatred/lack of self love, abandonment issues, fear of the unknown, scarcity fears, gender identities, sexual identities, trauma, and others.
At the center of many core issues is the belief that “you are not okay as you are.”
When people believe that they are not okay, then they need validation, awards, attractive clothing, lots of money, prestige, fame, feel-good spiritual experiences, and other things to hide and medicate this deep issue.
Many New Year’s resolutions end up being part of this medication process.
Someone may resolve to lose weight, but they’re not doing it to be healthy. They’re doing it to be attractive so that other people will like them. This is just another way to hide the core issue of lack of self-love and the feeling that “you are not okay.” It’s not surprising that this resolution may not be followed through upon. Even if it is, that core issue will rear its ugly head in yet another way.
So get out your pick axe or journal (okay, the journal will probably work better), and write about your deeper issues. See what they are and how you act them out. Then you can resolve to change the way you act in a conscious way.
When the Spiritual Path REALLY Hits You
5. Surrender Something You Need to Let go of
There are so many things that people hold onto. I encourage you to resolve to let go of one–just one–thing, relationship, job, situation, substance (like alcohol), habit, or something else that you know you need to release. It could even be an idea that you need to let go of.
The more important it is that you let go of something, the more likely your ego will throw a fit when it comes time to do so.
However, once you let this thing go, you are likely to feel way better.
Once again, it only has to be one thing. That shouldn’t be too hard to achieve at least once during the new year.
Giving Up Something You Don’t Want to Give Up
Surrender, Surrender, and Keep Surrendering
6. Tell More People You Love Them
Love seems to be this magical potion that is kept off limits except for special occasions.
Instead, practice telling more people you love them. You don’t have to shout it to strangers and enemies. Just practice telling those people you already like and appreciate that you love them.
Most people hardly say those three little words, “I love you.”
And this does strange things to human beings. Many people feel cut off and isolated from each other. Reaching out and opening yourself up is a beautiful way to help others feel connected again. It also tends to have the added benefit of helping you feel more connected to the love within you.
Expressing Love in a Cynical Society
7. Let Silence Consume You
While anyone reading this spiritual awakening blog post can resolve to let silence consume them, I know that some of you are really ready to let everything go. You are ready to drop into the space of silent presence that is already here.
So allow it.
Let silence consume you. Let the remaining unconscious ego dissolve away. When you find a place that holds on, notice that resistance. Sit with it until you are simply silence itself that lives, breathes, and acts in this world.
That last resolution is a tough act to follow, but in recent times, I’ve been come to appreciate the power of breathing at an even deeper level. Breathing is truly remarkable, and it is the basis of so many of our spiritual practices like meditation, processing and releasing emotions, chanting/singing hymns, yoga, and more.
I almost never strongly recommend books, but here is one:
Breath by James Nestor
If you haven’t read it, get it and apply one, two, maybe three things in it. The research is excellent, and the practical suggestions are undeniable.
You can make a resolution to be a nose breather. You could make a resolution to work on expanding your lung capacity. You can make a resolution to chew harder foods to support and potentially expand your jaw!
Seriously. Read this book, but that isn’t a resolution by itself. Do something that feels right for your body that is suggested in this book.
And of course always check with a health professional!
Adding Breathwork to the Spiritual Toolkit
Enjoy the Ride for the New Year
I would encourage you to let go of your expectations for the New Year as well as for your resolutions. Life has its own unfolding, and there are many forces moving through the world. Do the best you can, and perhaps more joy will emerge out of your resolutions than you would have anticipated.
Happy New Year!
Thank You! Happy now.
Super helpful and insightful ~ thank you for sharing your wisdom and love.