A New Perspective on Successful New Years Resolutions

A long time ago I gave up on New Years Resolutions. They were pipe dreams with no plan, no direction. When we have big goals that we want to achieve in the year, it can actually be really overwhelming, and despite our best intentions, we end up abandoning resolutions and fall back into our familiar negative thought patterns and self-talk. Part of the problem with the word “resolution” is that it’s so negative. We resolve to give something up or take something unwanted out of our life. Starting with a mind set on the negative is setting ourselves up for failure at the outset.  We feel disconnected and thus stay disconnected from what we really want.  So, then I tried setting some intentions about what I wanted to manifest or create in my life but it still lacked direction and focus. Finally, this past year, with the help of yoga therapy I was able to gain more clarity and competency which led me to a new perspective in planning out my intentions for 2019.

This year my intention is to live with more ease. I’ve identified that to be happy, healthy and successful in my career and relationships I need to make cultivating ease a priority. I’ve asked myself, what does that look like? Sound like? Feel like? As I get really clear about what I want my day to day to be like, it gives me more information about what I need to do or stop doing in order to have that feeling. Creating ease in all aspects of my life is going to take a lot of work and a lot of courage so my strategy is “baby steps”.  Earlier in 2018 I established that In order to have more ease, I need to have a daily self-care routine. I started to slowly add to my daily practice this past summer and will continue to add and refine this year so that my self-care is a part of my lifestyle, rather than a to-do list item. I have more baby steps to take around diet, scheduling, study and work to grow the ease I experience everyday. The beauty of taking baby steps, is we start to recognize what really works for us, and what doesn’t. We gain more awareness. We can refine and adjust our course of action at any time. Success happens on a daily basis because each day is progress. A crazy out of focus week where I get off track, isn’t considered a set back. It’s a recognition that my load increased based on what was happening and it helps recognize where I need more support or where I need to build more bandwidth or stamina in my yoga practice or self-care routine.

If setting intentions are new to you, try going to a yoga class where the teacher invites you to set an intention for the hour practice. Or practice setting an intention for your day. It could be anything. In a yoga class, an intention could be paying attention your breathing, moving without pain, being open to a new perspective or noticing when negative thoughts arise. Intention setting is a skill that you practice until it becomes second nature. Let this be your first baby step.

As your new skill becomes a new habit, start incorporating something new or something more challenging until that also becomes routine. As your capacity grows, add more. If your goal is to develop a morning meditation practice, maybe you start by getting up 5 minutes earlier until it’s easy. Then add 5 more minutes and 5 more minutes. In a few months you’ll be getting up an hour earlier so you can do whatever it is you want or need to do in the morning. Building my Ayurvedic inspired self-care routine started with a couple activities that were easy and took very little time. Once those few things became established as a part of my normal routine, I was ready to add more. As I added, I also started to notice the benefits of these practices which inspired and encouraged me to do more because it brought more ease into my life.

If you want to run a marathon but have excruciating hip pain, your baby steps might include learning the habitual movement patterns that are keeping you in that cycle of pain. You might choose to work with a yoga therapist, to learn how to quiet the compensatory movements to move better. Then you’ll practice your homework to get out of pain and build stamina around your new movement patterns. Then as the pain goes away, perhaps you’ll start to run short distances that don’t increase pain. As your stamina and strength grow, you add more distance and more speed. One baby step at a time. The better you get, the better you get.

I struggled for a long time to get to the point where I could start doing the things I wanted to do and needed to do. I just didn’t have the energetic capacity to do the things in life that I wanted to do. I started working with a yoga therapist who helped me gain clarity and develop confidence and competency to be able to start taking baby steps in the direction I wanted to go. As my energy started to increase, I used my good days to do the hard things. The hard things turned into good things which increased my ease and my confidence and the better I got, the better I got. I really think that the culture of “hustling” is overrated. We push ourselves so hard because we think we have to.  I see so many people overburdened by their work, getting sick, burnt out, stressed, developing aches and pains because they are all hustle and fear of failure.  These folks no longer prioritize their health and miss out on the things they really want to do because they are doing what they think they should be doing.

We often get overwhelmed and discouraged by our  goals before we even get started. The gap between where we are and where we want to go can seem impossible to close. We also tend to have a tremendous ability to tolerate stuff because we think it’s normal or we think change isn’t possible. The truth is we can make change happen bit by bit. Sometimes we just need a little bit of support. Consider there is always another way. The work doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. It just takes a desire and willingness to make what you are tolerating intolerable. If this resonates with you and you want support to get started, or you desire a fresh perspective on how you can break those goals into baby steps, I’m happy to help. Connect with me via email or schedule a session with me.

Making New Years Resolutions

Yoga_photoshoot_Micheal_wild thing close up
It has become a cultural tradition to make a New Years Resolution every year which is essentially a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something nice.  I stopped making resolutions years ago because they always ended up being empty promises or else never fulfilled because I had no game plan. Don’t get me wrong, self-improvement is great for personal growth and to feel good about yourself and to help others. In fact, I highly recommend self-improvement, just under different terms.

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutionsAs we have learned throughout our lives, words hold tremendous power and unfortunately, there are some problems with the word Resolution.  The Merriam-Webster diction defines “resolution” as the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something
: an answer or solution to something.  The not so clear problem with using the word resolution is the assumption that something is inherently wrong or broken or something that needs to be fixed. Why must we always find fault with ourselves and feel like we must resolve to change something?

new-years-resolutions-300x219This year resolve not make a resolution and instead make a New Years Intention.  “Intention” means the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose. This word is positively charged and implies personal growth and success; it implies clarity and understanding. The words you choose to use do make a difference! Grab your journal or a piece of paper and answer the questions below to begin the New Year with a positive, fresh start.

 1. Make a list of all the pleasant incidences in 2015 and all the unpleasant incidences in 2015. (Notice which list is longer)

 2. What lessons did I learn from 2015?

 3. In what way did I grow in 2015?

 4. List of my 2016 Intentions:

 5. My Bigger (long term) goals:

After you make your list of intentions, go back through your list and make a concrete plan on how your will achieve those goals. (E.g. blanket statements such as “lose weight,” “get out of debt,” “eat healthier”- how will you achieve these goals? Breakdown the steps you need to follow to achieve your intentions.)

intention

If you are feeling keen, continue by completing these exercises:

  1. 10 things I am grateful for:

  2. 10 things I’m excited about (not related to yoga)

  3. 5 things I am excited about/curious/passionate about (in the yoga realm)

Now place your list(s) somewhere that you can reference it often and check on your progress. Some times all we need is a quick glance to remind us of what important to us.

Namaste,

Lindsay