The absolute best New Year’s resolution
According to research, the most common New Year’s resolutions include:
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others in their dreams
- Fall in love
- Spend more time with family
If I could give you one habit that would increase your chances of improving every single thing on this list the most, would you do it?
88 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail.
If I could give you the number one secret to meeting your goal, would you do it?
An astonishingly effective “drug” that boosts behavior and performance
Imagine a revolutionary new drug has been invented. Thousands of scientists across the world test and research it over decades. Its benefits are as wide-ranging as they are profound. Its ability to improve human behavior and performance eclipses every other drug ever invented. Not a single negative side effect is ever found.
People who take the drug regularly enjoy the following empirically-proven benefits:
- They can literally change the structure and function of their brains to think more clearly and make better decisions. They generate new brain cells to improve memory and executive function. They dramatically improve their focus and attention. They get better test scores.
- They reduce amygdala activation (fight or flight response), which means they can act more wisely in stressful or frightening situations.
- They reduce cognitive rigidity and experience greater cognitive flexibility, which makes them more creative and innovative and better problem solvers.
- They improve their character, strengthen their integrity, and are more likely to act ethically.
- They create healthier, more compassionate relationships, and improve their ability to see things from another’s perspective.
- They “de-automate” their behavior. They are less impulsive and reactionary and more able to self-regulate in emotionally heated situations. They can break harmful habits and act more wisely. Thus, they are able to lose weight, manage their temper, quit smoking, curb addictions, and stop other harmful behavior much more easily.
- They are more self-aware and intuitive.
- They reduce their stress and boost their happiness and wellbeing.
- They boost their immune function; decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer; decrease depression and anxiety; sleep better; and improve their overall physical health.
- They are more appreciative of others. They are able to lead and inspire others better and are more likely to and capable of making a positive difference for others.
As you can imagine, such a drug would make the pharmaceutical company who invented it worth billions — perhaps even trillions. Nobel prizes would be awarded to the inventors. Humanity would consider the drug to be among the most important discoveries ever made.
What I’ve just described is not a drug, but it is definitely real — and it’s freely available to anyone.
It’s called mindful meditation.
(To see more details on the researched benefits of mindful meditation, download this easy-to-read reference guide.)
The keystone habit that changes everything
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg details the research on “keystone habits,” which are seemingly small and simple habits, but which can catalyze a ripple effect and have a major impact on every aspect of your life.
One example is exercise. As Duhigg explains,
“When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why. But for many people, exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
As powerful as exercise is, I know of no single more important keystone habit than daily mindful meditation.
Consistent mindful meditation will make a greater difference in your life than any other habit. It is the one habit that affects everything in your life.
(If you’re thinking prayer is more important, understand that mindful meditation is a form of prayer. It is communion with reality—in other words, God.)
If you want to make 2017 a breakthrough and breakout year, the absolute best resolution you can make is to meditate for fifteen to thirty minutes per day. Nothing else will give you greater results.
The number one secret to succeeding in your resolution
In 2007, researcher Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol performed a study on New Year’s resolutions involving 3,000 people.
His research found that 88 percent of those who set resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52 percent are confident of success at the beginning.
After the study Professor Wiseman drew a number of conclusions about how to effectively set and stick with resolutions.
At the top of his list is this: Only make ONE resolution.
Knowing what you now know about the empirical benefits of mindful meditation, if you had to limit your New Year’s resolutions to just one, what would it be?
Is it something other than daily meditation? If so, understand that meditation will be a profound help in meeting your goals.
Mindful meditation is the foundational habit of a calm, peaceful, engaged, present, fulfilled, and joyful life.
If that’s what you want in 2017, you know what you need to do.
Don’t just change one thing this year — change everything.
For those who take me up on this, I have some recommendations:
First, download the Insight Timer mobile app on your smartphone. Use the guided meditations and the timer to meditate every day.
Next, read these books in this order: