We have arrived! The dawn of the new year drapes over our lives bringing a feeling of infinite possibility along with it. It is customary to step into any new chapter reflective of everything you’re leaving behind and enticed with dreams of bigger and better days ahead. January 1st brings an influx of practitioners to gyms, yoga studios, and the “organic/locally grown” sections of the grocery store, as people everywhere dedicate themselves to live happier and healthier lives in the year to come. If you are anything like me, you’ve experienced many new year’s resolutions that proved successful, and probably twice as many that fizzled away, like a passing a dream, come February or March. The truth is, instilling new habits into your life—and breaking old ones—is a delicate task. A great deal of mindfulness and self-investigation are required to dive into the challenge of a happier and healthier you!
So many studies exist around the formation of new habits. We’ve heard it all: 21 days, no skip days, reward systems, accountability plans—it can all be so overwhelming, and even intimidating. Setting and achieving goals that make you happier and healthier should be fun and exciting! I hope to help you broaden, or even alter, the way you look at goal-setting, so that your 2019 resolutions can stem from a place of mindfulness and self-love.
First off, and most importantly, remember that everyone is different! What works for your friend, your instructor, your trainer, or your coworker may not work for you, and that isn’t because you are failing at your goals, it is simply because you are beautifully and uniquely YOU! So, your first step in embarking on your resolution journey is to get to know yourself: what motivates you? What lights you up? What are your deepest and truest desires? What state of self-talk do you live in most often and how does that impact the way you move through life? Becoming familiar with the natural way in which you respond to various people, situations and atmospheres will allow you to set goals that are catered specifically to your spirit and lifestyle.
Journaling is a great tool to get to know your unique inner workings and patterns. Think back to past instillations of resolutions: which were successful in their longevity? Why? What goals fell to the wayside? Do you have any habits you’ve picked up without even trying? How did those become prevalent in your life, and what emotional attachments drive those patterns? Be honest in your retelling of these experiences. The idea here is to get a clear look at your most authentic way of being and how that has affected your track record in setting and attaining goals, not to culminate all your past experiences in a shameful or judgmental manner. It is SO okay that you kept hitting snooze when you aimed at waking up an hour earlier every day, or you snuck that candy bar once or twice a week when you committed to a sugarless diet. You are human, which means sometimes you will cave and other times you will overcome! That is the natural path we ride, and I’ve learned the sooner we accept and show kindness to our shortcomings—past or present—the better we will get to know and help ourselves for future endeavors. Utilize the reflections in your journaling to walk into your 2019 resolutions from a place of awareness and honesty, setting the foundation of your intentions in healthy and positive energy!
Take some time to list the reasons behind why you wish to instill certain habits into your life. Write this in stream of consciousness fashion and make your best effort to check personal judgement at the door. Read through your list and determine which of these reasons are in line with your genuine desire and best interest, and which may be due to external or societal pressures. Losing weight tends to be a common resolution amongst westerners, but if this is merely based on society, pop culture, or social media having led you to feel insecure about your beauty, then this goal is rooted in unauthentic intentions. Intentions that are not genuine to us do not have strong or trustworthy follow through. As human beings we thrive on authenticity, we are drawn to it like moth to flame. There is something about feeling completely, organically you (or watching others be utterly true to themselves) that is radiant and invigorating! When we act from a place that is ingenuine to our most authentic Self, that action becomes negatively associated in our psyche. It just doesn’t feel good to do things for reasons you aren’t convicted to! For this, it is imperative to step into new ventures from a place of personal kindness and positivity.
Fortunately, we can reroute our intentions and self-talk with practice. What are more positive motivations for working out? A healthier physical body (that will lead to a healthier mindset), physical longevity, the ability to be more active and participative in life, the desire to feel like your best you: these are all kinder and more optimistic intentions to root your new habit in. To reroute the intention behind your resolution, use your positively associated intention as a mantra. Say it aloud every day and think it intently when you are applying yourself to that goal. Maybe even write it down and post it in your home, car, or anywhere that allows you to see it and absorb on a daily basis! Manifestation of any kind starts with your words and thoughts. Let the universe know what your goal is and why it is so important to your betterment and health. I promise the universe will support you in any way you need to be successful if you communicate your conviction to it!
Creating a plan to achieve your goal(s) can be the factor that makes or breaks your success of that venture. All too often, the excitement of “new year, new you” results in biting off more than you can chew in the realizing of a resolution. For many, this brings defeat before they’ve even started, others may still fulfill their overly ambitious plan, but not without an abundance of stress or anxiety in the process. Consider your comfortability level with the steps you plan to take towards your goal. Journal or meditate envisioning yourself acting out each step within your everyday life. If you can take this on with 90% comfortability—whether that is feeling comfortable with the time it will take up in your schedule, or the insecurities you may have to face in acting on this step in your plan—go for it! Small successes are still success, and you can always add to your plan as each successful step integrates itself into your life. And let me be clear, in no way am I condoning a hesitant nature in tackling your goals, I am simply suggesting some honest and mindful thought be applied ahead of time to avoid the feelings of disappointment and shame that can arise when we don’t succeed at stretching ourselves too thin. Keep the expectations of yourself genuine and realistic so your efforts aren’t inevitably bogged down in dismay.
As you move through your year integrating regular baby steps towards your resolutions, journaling in response to these milestones can help keep you mindful, honest, and kind to yourself, as well as motivated to keep going! You don’t need to write a novel, even a few sentences describing what it was like and how you felt afterwards will suffice. Be sure to include any mental, physical, or emotional resistance you’re observing as you apply yourself to these goals, and definitely include the experience of not following through on any given day, as this mere admittance to “falling short” can be enough to release guilt forming around it. The power behind putting your experience on paper in a raw, honest, unpolished format is beyond measure. As humans, we all just want to feel heard, supported, and loved. Through documenting your own inner workings, experience, and feelings you can become all of these things for yourself, and it is undeniably liberating!
The most detrimental habit we fall victim to in setting goals is that we expect way too much of ourselves in too little time. In observing, accepting, and celebrating your unique inner makeup exactly as it is, you can build a goal plan that is designed specifically for you and your lifestyle! Journaling will aid in keeping you honest and on track with your resolutions, as well as in touch with your genuine Self on a consistent basis. Walking through life mindfully is simply an act of maintaining awareness of things exactly as they are. Applying this concept to setting and acting on resolutions can transform the process into something positive and exhilarating that provides you with endless wisdom about your truest you! You may even come to find that getting in touch with and cultivating love for your most authentic Self becomes the most cherished goal you succeed at this year!
I am wishing you all a happy and healthy new year, but mostly I am hoping that you move through it with light and kindness for your Self: your successes, your shortcomings, your growth, and your resistance. So, cheers to new beginnings! The light in me bows to the light in you, namaste!
Interested in gaining some community support in mindfully setting and attaining your goals this year? Check out our 40 Days to Personal Revolution led by Robin French and Julianne Farell beginning January 6th!