Researchers have looked at success rates of peoples’ resolutions: the first two weeks usually go along beautifully, but by February, people are backsliding and by the following December, most people are back where they started, often even further behind. Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail. Others claim that within the first week, over 50% of New Year’s Resolutions fail, and within the first 6 months that rate jumps up to 80-90%.
Why do so many people not keep their resolutions? Are people just weak-willed or lazy? Making resolutions work is essentially changing behaviors and in order to do that, you have to change your thinking. Habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with a choice or decision. Change requires creating new pathways from new thinking.
In Dharma terms, we have to purify our accumulated negative karma before we can develop these new pathways. Just as one cannot (and would not!) build the foundations for a new home on a toxic waste dump, we cannot expect to sustain our positive resolutions if we do not remove the polluted karma in our storehouse consciousness.
This Saturday, December 31, from 8-10 pm, we will meet at the Dallas Meditation Center to conduct two Purification Rituals: the first, Black Seeds, purifies our own accumulated negative karma; the second, Sixfold Compassion, allows us to purify the negative karma of all our loved ones, especially those who have passed away from this life.
If you are in the Dallas area, you are welcome to join us in person. If not, just send me a note with your name and the names of your loved ones, and I will gladly include you in the rituals.