[youtube width="260" height="210"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5oc92OMBK4[/youtube]
Resolutions are when we resolve never to do something again. We set an intention and follow through with a determination to succeed. Why then do they so rarely work? The times that I have resolved to become more organized, more punctual, an early riser, or to do a minimum of 4 yoga sessions a week, typically work out for about 2 weeks – if that! I think part of the problem is that I set myself up to fail.
We often impose horribly high standards on ourselves – “I’m never going to eat wheat, sugar, or dairy ever again” – well unless you’re dealing with a life-threatening disease, that’s a tall order. I’ve only met one woman in my life who managed to stick to that particular intention, and she did have a life-threatening disease. There’s also a great deal of fear around these “resolutions” – fear and dread because the thought of denying ourselves or having to go without, isn’t any fun. The moment we deny ourselves something, we start to think about it more and eventually crave it – thereby setting ourselves up for a mega-failure. How many diets have you tried?
I like to spend some quiet time really thinking about some realistic goals. What would I love to have achieved, mastered or opened up to receive by this time next year? This frames the whole thing differently – it makes it seem exciting, uplifting and doable. Then having set a few (2 or 3,) realistic intentions, I then remind myself of my favorite quote by Goethe: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it now, boldness had genius, power and magic in it, begin it NOW”. This means that I don’t simply Post-it note the intentions of my fridge or office cork board and spend the next few weeks staring at them – NO SIREEE – I spring into action right away. If you want to learn Flamenco dancing, pick up the phone right this minute or open your computer to check out where your nearest class is and sign-up. If you want to write the first draft of that book you’ve had in your head for the past ten years – open a document NOW and start writing.
It’s only by the action – the energetic action of moving forward, that the 3 elements Goethe talks about (Genius, Power, and Magic,) can come into play – and they do. Each time I boldly walk forward into the unknown making that phone call, opening that word document, sending that email etc – each time I take that bold step, I am guided. I believe that by taking action toward our intention, the magic of the universe can step up and carry us forward.
So in the quiet of the early morning, or when the kids are all tucked up, it might behoove you to spend a half hour thinking about what you want this year to look like for you. Re-frame the scary/denying-yourself things. For example, if you want to lose weight, rather than resolving never to eat another grain of white flour, create a vision of yourself being healthy, glowing, energized and happy with your weight. The action you might then take is to call a friend and ask if she/he would like to plan a weekly hiking/cycling date. The most important thing is that every intention be centered around joy.
A friend of mine showed up at our house looking depressed and angry New Year’s day, as he’d resolved to give up smoking. Granted – this is probably one of the hardest ones to crack. I suggested that he take up yoga with a vengeance! Not just a wimpy stretch class here and then, but learning a hard-core daily practice that would have him looking and feeling like a Greek God inside of 6 months. He immediately began to perk up at the thought. The great thing about yoga is that it actually makes you want to let go of unhealthy behaviors – plus the breathing is so integral that smoking is completely incompatible with it.
I look forward to checking in with you all this time next year, and sharing our triumphs and hiccups – we are human! Some of us like to keep our intentions private and some of us like to shout them from the rooftops. If you fall into the latter category, we’d love to hear what yours are.