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Three Goals for the New Year

September 16, 2015 | by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

Practical ways to utilize the incredible power of the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

These days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are an especially powerful time to grow. God is waiting for us to come close to Him, no matter how distant we have traveled.

What is your vision for the new year? Living with vision allows us to maximize our inner potential and pinpoint where we need to do better.

Here are three spiritual goals to help you utilize the energy of this time to inspire yourself and reach higher.

1. Live Mindfully

On these days we ask that God “remember us for life” in our prayers, but it is up to us to make the most of this gift called ‘life’. It is not adequate to simply be alive. How do we discover the spiritual spark that lies within our souls?

We begin by living mindfully. We waste hours of our lives without realizing it until it is too late. We have been granted time-how many people would do anything to go backwards and have more time to learn, to laugh, to love?

Begin each day by being aware of the potential that lies ahead. Be cognizant of the little moments that can transform your relationships. Instead of playing a game on your phone while waiting for a train, call a loved one just to say ‘I’m thinking of you’. When you see your spouse in the evening offer an appreciative word. Don’t just ask your kids if they did their homework and tell them to get to bed, give them a hug and kiss. Get off Instagram and check in on a lonely friend. Awaken yourself to the beautiful lives and people that surround you.

Be mindful, too, of the daily blessings God has given you. Over time we stop thinking about every breath we take, every step, every taste. It is only when we face pain or illness that we suddenly realize how grateful we should have been. We yearn for yesterday. Take a moment and conjure a mental list of all the good, large and small, that you have been given. You will feel awed, even humbled. Think of this list the next time you are about to complain about life.

Every day we are touched by miracles. We are given people to love. We have a magical world to discover. When we verbalize our gratitude through prayer we grow closer to God and develop a strong spiritual connection. Being mindful of the people in our lives stops us from taking life for granted. We live happier, more joyfully, and fulfill our desire to make the most of every day.

2. Free Yourself

How we weigh ourselves down with heavy emotional baggage, becoming stuck in mental quicksand, never feeling truly free. We fill our hearts with grudges, remembering hurts, some going back 20 or 30 years. Replaying scenes in our minds we simply refuse to let go. Sadly, many hearts are filled with grief.

At a recent lecture, a woman asked what she can do about changing her 85 year old mother in law’s attitude. She added that she cannot sleep or have peace from the situation. “Are you kidding?” I replied. “At 85, you are not changing your mother in law. And one should never go through life thinking that we’ll be happy if only we can change another human being. Try instead to change your reaction to your mother in law’s attitude. You will be a much more peaceful person.”

This is the time to seek out those we’ve hurt and ask for forgiveness. If we’ve caused others pain we must try to apologize to the ones we’ve wounded. (This includes spouses and family members).

As we step into Yom Kippur we are given the opportunity to remove these obstacles that lie in our way. We are given the power to free ourselves. We open the gates of Divine mercy and say: “Since I know that there is no man so righteous in this world that does not sin against his fellow man-either financially or physically, actively or through speech…I hereby fully forgive all those who have sinned against me...even if they slandered me. I also forgive all those who injured me-physically and financially…all of these I completely forgive. Let no man be punished on my account. And just as I have forgiven all, I ask that You grant me favor in the eyes of all men so that they forgive me completely.”

We’ve all made mistakes. Begin the year with a clean slate.

3. Define Your Life Attitude

Who are you? Have you grown bitter? Do you resent other people’s blessings? Is it difficult for you to smile? Are you passionate about life? Do you live with courage?

Define yourself by your spirit, your passions, and your ability to love. Even if you must make believe at times, never lose your laughter. Keep your heart open. Celebrate life.

Yes there are times that we face loss. Some meet tragedy that takes our breath away. But be careful that you don’t define yourself by your sorrow. Define yourself, instead, by your sacred soul and not your body. Choose to nurture your spirit. Engage in the world around you.

All this takes work. It means constantly growing, learning, putting one foot in front of the other and trying to be brave. Ask: how can I make my today better than my yesterday?

We have the ability to transform our lives. Setting spiritual goals is the first step. Let’s tap into the power of these awesome days.

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