Dalai Lama Advice on Success with Resolutions

Written by Paul Wolf

The Dalai Lama's got the lowdown on why your fitness resolutions haven't been working — until now.

As you nail down your fitness resolutions, you may be wrestling with a highly practical matter: How do I make them stick this time? 

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Why not ask that pillar of discipline the Dalai Lama? In his book, The Art of Happiness, he places his gentle hands right on your falling down point. 

His Holiness doesn't address such specifics as why you don't make it to the gym three times a week or why you haven't given up those fattening breakfast scones, but he does have this to say: "People confuse happiness with pleasure." 

"True happiness relates more to the mind and heart," he writes. "Happiness that depends mainly on physical pleasure is unstable. One day it's there, the next day it may not be." 

We often don't do what we know is good for us, says the book's co-author Dr. Howard Cutler, because we fail to make this crucial distinction. 

The right choice, says Cutler, involves a degree of sacrifice in the short run. To just say, "no" sounds easy but it isn't. You have to have long-term happiness firmly in mind. You have to be able to visualize in clear terms how an act of self-denial takes you down the right path. 

"Will it bring me happiness?" This is the question we need to keep asking ourselves. It's our only weapon against easy indulgences, says the Dalai Lama. 

So the next time you think of lighting up, watching a bit more of the tube or blowing off the gym, you may tell yourself you're doing what you really want to do. But the Dalai Lama knows you've merely forgotten to look beyond the moment.

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Photographer: Matt Bowden

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