Resolutions are like a pod of seeds. They’ll grow.
It’s still not too late for a New Year’s resolution. You can do it. Whatever it is, rallying your determination now can make all the difference to the rest of the year.
For those of us walking the spiritual path, January is a great time for looking at the year ahead and fixing our determination to reach a target. Yes, even the spiritual life has targets, and spiritually-motivated development of mental strength is an essential prerequisite. Visualising your goal comes first, then verbalising it as an affirmation. A determined resolution is known as a sankalpa, and expressed as a verbal commitment becomes a vrata.
It’s much easier to reach any goal when you have friends who share the same path, and especially when one of them gives you encouragement and occasional guidance. Such a person can be a patha-pradipika guru for you, someone who ‘keeps the path illuminated.’
A coach is someone who helps you reach your goals, often in sport. He or she will listen carefully as you describe what sort of physique you wish to have, the level of stamina you want, and the lap times you’d like to reach. The coach will then suggest exercises and a fitness regime that will suit you. In spiritual life it’s just the same. We all need someone who’ll listen to the goals we’d like to reach and offer us guidance to get there.
You may already have such a person in your life, or you may be looking for one. Finding one, trusting them, and being honest when you don’t make your chosen target is a key element in keeping your resolutions and becoming an improved version of yourself.