Each year when New Year’s Eve rolls around many of us get inspired about all of the possibilities that exist in the coming months, and all of things that we’d like to let go of from the previous year. For many of us this thinking often results in resolution setting. The problem is, just like diets, most resolutions fail. Failing is ok, in fact, often our failures produce the most growth for us, however, this may leave us feeling like our year is doomed because we’ve failed this one thing that we’ve set out to do.
Resolutions also get us out of the present moment and force us into the past (mistakes we’ve made, problems we’ve faced) or to the future (I’ll be better when I have this, or don’t do this anymore). This year I offer up a new approach; changing habits versus setting resolutions.
Habits Vs. Resolutions
What makes a habit different than a resolution? A resolution is defined as a ‘“firm decision to do or not do something,” sounds serious and wrought with expectations, right? A habit, on the other hand ,can be any small thing that you do everyday, involving tasks, patterns, or even attitudes. Shifting habits is much more practical, and powerful, and will help you to produce small wins that add up to big shifts.
Movement can mean a lot of different things. As a yoga teacher, I know that each student I see has different needs and requirements for their own health and wellbeing. Movement could simply mean stretching every two hours during the workday if you sit all day, or devoting at least 30 minutes per day to doing something active. Start small and consider what is in your power to do. Avoid making huge unreasonable goals like losing 50 pounds in three months when you haven’t done a squat in a decade. Instead, begin with the habits you can control. Take the stairs, walk the dogs an extra ten minutes per day or wake up 30 minutes early two days per week to get in a jog. You’ll be amazed at how these little changes can cause big shifts!
What daily habits are keeping you from living life to the fullest? This could be related to productivity and time management, working in an unfulfilling job, or not finishing a project because life got in the way. Identifying the habits that keep us mentally and physically stuck can help us work through the walls and move forward with what we really want. Getting a coach, reading productivity books or mapping out steps to take to break out of a “stuck” area can help get the wheels turning and confidence back on track.
Our creating outlets bring great joy to our lives. When we have activities that we enjoy and are passionate about we can manifest our unique gifts in the World. The problem is that we create habits in our daily lives that keep us from seeking and cultivating our passions because we place greater priority on life’s logistics. Paying the bills, working crazy hours to please an employer and watching mindless television that helps us relax and tune out our day (or so we think). This year, break these habits and re-engage with what inspires you. Maybe that’s writing on your blog or someone else’s, volunteering in your community or starting a garden, anything that gets you pumped up about life! These “passion projects” increase productivity at work as well because you’ve been able to take a break and focus on something else and can then tap back into work with more vigor and enthusiasm.
Practice Self Care
We are all so good at taking care of others that we often forget to take care of ourselves. However, we can’t truly support and care for the people and things we love if we’re not caring for ourselves. A few great habits to try include; daily meditation, spending time alone, getting plenty of sleep even if that means you need to sit out a social gathering or family event and finally, eating high quality foods that nourish you and taking time to sit and enjoy meals. Self care brings better focus, mental clarity and deep presence and your family will thank-you immensely for this, I promise!
Manage Money Woes
For most of us money is a persistent and sometimes irritating fact of life; we need it but it can make us so miserable as well. This year instead of resolving to save all of your money and quit eating out for lunch, try some smaller steps like saving $50 from each paycheck or, instead of getting your daily starbucks in the afternoon put that money in a jar and use it to help pay for a trip you’ve been dying to take. If you’re habitually buying shoes or clothing that you don’t need on payday try to break the habit and put part of each check directly into savings to hold on to that hard earned cash for later!
Foster Positive Relationships
Spending time with people who bring positivity and love into our lives is so important. We have so much access to information and technology but that will never be able to replace real-life human interactions. These interactions shape us and make us who we are; we can’t expect to grow or change without them. Make a habit of visiting, calling or having some face time with one friend per week. When you meet new people that you click with and that inspire you dont be afraid to continue the conversation!
Above all else practicing mindfulness can have a huge impact on our growth and wellbeing this year. If you set your mind to something there is nothing that you can’t achieve! Focus and set strong goals and this new year will open up for you as you never expected it could!