So, how are you doing with your new resolutions this year? Hmmm.  Yup.  Like most of us, you’re doing pretty well with some, not so well with others.  Am I right?

I suspect I’m right because . . .

. . . that’s been my experience so far. I’ve been great with purging, organizing, and preparation for new responsibilities.   I begin my chaplaincy training program at University Hospital this next week, and I’ve made preparation with 100% excellence.  I’m ready, focused, and jazzed.

But I haven’t done as well as I had hoped in several other arenas of my life – for example, with nutrition and activity. This year I made a commitment to myself to eat more clean and move more joyfully.  Only about 40% success with those goals.

I’m not discouraged, and I’m not self-loathing. I know I’m a work in progress – just like everyone around me.  Takes the pressure off and allows me to re-direct in my strategies.  AND I am honest with myself – no pretending, justifying, or rationalizing.

What I have come to understand is that when I’m making decisions in alignment with my highest and best – with whatever is good for my soul – that I’m more successful, stronger, and more peaceful. My path is straighter and less rocky.  There’s less internal conflict, because I’m carrying out the true desires of my heart.  I’m on my own side, rather that fighting against myself.  My energy isn’t divided; all cylinders are fired and working together.  It’s a great feeling, and it’s empowering.

That being said, doing what’s good for my soul is not always easy because, over time, I’ve developed some less-than-ultimately-beneficial, reinforced habitual patterns that have taught my brain to light up at the sight of a chocolate chip cookie. You smile, but I’m serious.

That temporary sugar high eclipses the truth I know deep in my soul – that I truly crave health more than I crave that cookie. So when I choose the cookie, I’m choosing to move away from the true desire of my heart; I’m choosing to move away from what’s good for my soul (and my mind and my body).  Call me silly, but some of my greatest spiritual challenges are faced in these small, quiet moments and decisions.

I’m not condemning chocolate chip cookies, and I’m not saying I’ll never going to touch another chocolate chip cookie. I’m saying that I recognize the power of my choices, and I know what choices best support my health.

Your relationship with chocolate chip cookies might be quite different than mine, and I respect your freedom to enjoy chocolate chip cookies as often as you wish.

I’ve a hunch, however, that you’ve probably got some less-than-ultimately-beneficial, reinforced habitual patterns that have taught your brain to light up, as well. And if you’re honest, you recognize that these less-than-ultimately-beneficial, reinforced habitual patterns move you away from whatever is good for your soul.

So I’m simply sharing my journey, my awareness, my struggle, and my failings in hope that you will begin to compassionately and honestly consider what choices in your life right now are best for your soul.

Once compassionately and honestly identified, then consider what it will be like to continue to make your decisions in alignment with whatever is truly good for your soul, and do that.

Please also consider that whatever’s truly good for your soul brings you genuine peace, joy, and satisfaction. And isn’t that what you really want?  I’m guessing so.