A new year arrives, and all the possibilities for new beginnings and for change in my life start to spin through my mind.  But when I look back over past years, it's clear that few of my New Year resolutions have had a significant impact on my behaviour.  I don't think I am alone here, and I wonder why we find it so difficult to make positive changes in our life.

Yet I also know that change is possible, and that mindfulness is one of the most powerful forces I can call on for support.  Mindfulness can give the perspective to see what needs attention or action and enables me to choose a response based on compassion and wisdom.   For real change, this needs to happen over and over again, to replace old habitual reactions with new, more skillful responses.  Repeatedly guiding ourselves along a new track not only creates a new habit, it creates new neural pathways in the brain.  Over time the brain "re-wires" itself, so that change truly becomes “embodied”. 

So instead of writing a long list of unrealistic resolutions and finding myself disheartened by February, my intention for 2017 is simple: to bring more mindfulness to my daily life, And I resolve to give this intention more priority, so it becomes woven into my thoughts and behaviour.  It's heartening to think of this as a skill I can develop gradually with attentiveness, patience and perseverance.  This brings to mind Mary Oliver's poem, "The Gardener”:

Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough, have I
come to any conclusion?
Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?
I say this, or perhaps I'm just thinking it
Actually, I probably think too much.
Then I step out into the garden,
where the gardener, who is said to be simple man,
is tending his children, the roses.

Wishing you a Happy and Mindful New Year 2017! 

By Tina Stallard , Breathworks mindfulness teacher and yoga teacher in Greenwich, South East London - www.tlcyogaandmindfulness.com