In the spirit of the new year I feel compelled to share my thoughts on new years resolutions and even some thoughts that friends and students have recently shared with me. For the last several years I have not made a new years resolution because so many times I have failed in the past. Another reason I do not make resolutions is my tendency to regularly focus inward and notice those areas in my life that need work and try earnestly to make those changes throughout the year. Thankfully my love for my yoga practice, nature, animals and my Faith in Christ all propel me towards positive change. This leads me personally to think why make a resolution on January first to change, when every day and truly every moment is a new beginning? Yesterday a yoga clients and friend responded to this thought with, “The date in time/calendar helps to motivate people and helps people to track their progress and for some inspires change because they see the first as a new beginning (first of the year, month, birthday, whenever, it is the visual reminder)”. That makes perfect sense to me and if it works for you, use it!
With that said, it seems to me that many people make new years resolutions from a place of self loathing rather than self love. They know or think they should or shouldn’t be doing something and because they dislike something about themselves they set out to change it. Just to be clear I am all for positive change and people growing in a healthy, more loving and altogether better version of themselves. I think instead of making changes because you look in the mirror, hate what you see and then finally decide to exercise and eat better is not necessarily the best way to move forward. Why not go inside to that quiet place that is “you” and discover what is wonderful and amazing about you. What are your gifts to the world, we have purpose, we are all here for a reason and that reason is here to serve others for the good of all. And we all bring something unique to the world around us. Why not start there from a place of love and acceptance for who you are and what you have to share and then set out to be the best version of you.
From a place of self love, rather than self loathing, changing old habits or adding new healthy habits will flow out naturally into your daily routine because it is motivated from your heart or spirit. Because you know you have value and you treat valuable things (especially people) with love and respect. It has been my experience that change for the better and honoring ourselves is not always the easy path. It takes thoughtful reflection, it may take planning and rearranging your schedule, it will probably be uncomfortable at first because it is new and it may take setting boundaries (internally and externally). Find sources of strength and inspiration to draw on. A friend, an accountability partner, a mentor, a therapist, a teacher, a parent, a support group, a book or blog, music, a reward system, church, yoga, spiritual practices, meditation, the list could go on. Let people help you! When you feel better, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally, the motivation will come from within, but it will likely take time, so be patient. If you are anything like me, patience does not happen without effort. Be kind to yourself and focus on the successes, rather than the set backs. Just keep moving forward!
On a humorous note as I was sharing this motivational (hopefully) message with my yoga class last night one of my, long time, students (and friend) said, “So getting into my $300 ski pants in a month isn’t good reason to make a change?!” We had a good laugh and it made me think, we are all motivated by different things and seasonally these motivations change. I will still encourage her and everyone to first accept yourself where you are in any given moment, you can always buy new ski pants. Listen to that quiet inner voice and follow your innate wisdom. This may be your intuition talking, it may be the quiet still voice of God directing you, all I know is, that message is far more valuable then anything money can buy and will always lead you in the healthiest direction and to your true self.