Treat Every Moment as Sacred: A New Approach to Goal-Setting

There seems to be a collective energy at the start of the year focused on the initiation of change. Most people make resolutions that reflect what they want more or less of. They might set very specific goals, with small and large milestones factored into the plan. In fact, some life coaches or business experts would say this is how you achieve success.

I used to do this. While I have achieved some of my more clear-cut and defined goals, others were doomed from the very first day. Waking up at 5am to go jogging lasted about two days before I realized that I really didn’t want to get up any earlier than I already did, especially in the cold month of January. Looking back, I now know that some of these resolutions were just another way that I put extra, unneeded pressure and demands on myself.

What if we took a much broader, big picture approach to our goals this year? Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a peace activist in the sixties, said “every moment, something sacred is at stake." Instead of looking for specific ways to improve yourself, see what would happen if this became your goal this year. What if instead of writing down the “I will do this or that” intention, you made the intention to treat every moment as sacred.

By setting such an intention, you might observe a remarkable difference in the choices you make and the results you see. This could easily become the thought that informs all other thoughts. Remember this as you repeat it in your mind. It's like a call to action and peace all wrapped up in one powerful intention.

And it is not such a far-out thought, that each moment is sacred and important. Most of us probably believe this anyways, but we get so overwhelmed with life that we forget the power of connection. Many of us sleepwalk through large portions of our lives, wrapped up in either hurt, resentment, or anger associated with the past. Some of our more destructive coping mechanisms may lead us further and further away from the life we are living as we try to handle the stress we feel and avoid being vulnerable. All of this takes us away from experiencing life right now.

In order to honor the sacred in each moment, we have to become awake and one hundred percent present to the many split second decisions we make every day. We have to clean out the closet of our mind, and get rid of the dust that has settled and the hurt that has lingered. We must shake things up again. We must remember to speak from the heart with loving words. We must remember to look towards ourselves and others with compassion and kindness. Just like the goal of getting in shape requires some action, this one does too.

For me, knowing that something sacred is at stake moment-to-moment has dissipated much of my anger and helped me to experience more love and kindness in almost every situation. I feel more inclined to listen to my kids and give them the hugs they really need. And by feeling less pressure to excel at my unrealistic expectations, I have become incredibly focused and energized with everything that I do.

While I didn’t set the specific goal to make more money this year or exercise more often, I have a feeling that if this mindset is my way of living, all those other things that make sense in my life, will naturally flow in. Live the year as the year of the sacred and see for yourself.

"Every moment, something sacred is at stake" - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

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