happy 2012! new year’s inspiration from yogananda

It’s a whole new year! And with that comes the societal pressure to make a bunch of resolutions and improve your life. Quit smoking! Eat better! Do more yoga! Make more art! My social media feeds are filled with blog posts and resolution tips and reflections on the past year/new year. It’s inspiring, sure, but it can also cause a sense of overwhelm and frustration for those of us who have  proven in years past that we can’t stick with our resolutions.

I appreciate Paramahansa Yogananda‘s approach in his talk, Make New Determinations: Be What You Want to Be! I love the idea of “determinations” in place of “resolutions,” and I love the simple wisdom of “Be what you want to be!” Complete with an exclamation mark. In this talk from 1934, yoga pioneer Yogananda (author of Autobiography of a Yogi) gives us some simple ways to stick to our New Year’s goals. The good people at the Self-Realization Fellowship sent the talk to me, and I’ve pulled a couple of my favourite paragraphs. May they inspire a fantastic 2012 to everyone!

Make new determinations as to what you are going to do and what you are going to be in this next year. Set a program for yourself; carry it through, and you will find how much happier you will be. Failure to keep to your schedule of improvement means you have paralyzed your will. You have no greater friend and no greater enemy than yourself. If you befriend yourself, you will find accomplishment. There is no law of God preventing you from being what you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Nothing detrimental that happens can affect you unless you sanction it.

Be always with people who inspire you; surround yourself with people who lift you up. Do not let your resolutions and positive thinking be poisoned by bad company. Even if you cannot find good company to inspire you, you can find it in meditation. The best company you can have is the joy of meditation.

Excerpted from a talk given by Paramahansa Yogananda at the International Headquarters of the Self-Realization Fellowship on New Year’s Eve, 1934. The entire talk is published in Journey to Self-realization, Volume III of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays.  (Self-Realization Fellowship, copyright © 1997, Los Angeles; reprinted with permission.)  For more information about the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, visit www.yogananda-srf.org

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  1. As a very new person to yoga, I’m starting 2012 by committing to yoga every single day for 365 days. All of 2012. I don’t feel overwhelmed at all. I’m looking forward to the challenge. Thanks for posting this… it was just what I needed to get started!

    • i’m glad you found it inspiring! of all of yogananda’s advice, i hope you follow his suggestion to surround yourself with people who inspire you. i hope you find a community at your neighbourhood yoga studio, a group of yogis who can lift you up.

      and the yoga blogosphere is a good place to start, too! welcome! 🙂

  2. What an inspiring passage. It’s just what I needed to read today as I work on my new business plans for 2012. Thank you so much for sharing these motivational words.