Most people have a New Year’s resolution yet why it is necessary to wait for the New Year is beyond me but nonetheless every January and February I see it – the yoga studios, gyms and pools are flooded with genuinely well-intentioned souls bringing their body for a workout. Then, halfway through the month, a good quarter has given up … Why is this so?
The main problem with these resolutions is that they are not resolutions. A resolution is ‘the mental state or quality of being resolved, firmness of purpose’. In most cases, the firmness of purpose is absent … Why?
First because they are ideas generally decided by external influences either wanting to lose weight, become fit, become stronger…or on a whim. More often though doesn’t correspond to anything that you genuinely want and need for the improvement of your daily life with benefits for the long run.
Second, often the bar is set too high for the goal to be achieved hence discouragement and abandonment of the resolution leading to a vicious circle of repeated perceived failure.
Third is the lack of precision: what exactly are you trying to achieve? How will it fit into your life? What are you going to give up to make room for this change to happen?
In short, we need to do the right things and set up the right conditions if we’re going to change. And with that in mind I am sharing some ideas to get back on track:
- Pick a goal and make it reasonable – ‘I’ll practice yoga for 5 minutes every day’
- Remind yourself that for change to be effective it must be incremental – small steps leading to larger benefits
- Be specific and pragmatic without it being stressful – when, where, and how you are going to practice? How is it going to fit in your life? Maybe practising the downward dog exercise while the kettle is on each time a cuppa is made…
- Be flexible and don’t beat yourself up – if you’ve missed your day and/or time, don’t panic…Just get back to it. If you’re too exhausted to do anything, legs up the wall or child’s pose are great options.
- Track your progress by noting how you feel before and after, how you feel after a week, a month… Like so much in our lives, technology has its place insofar as Apps can be extremely useful for that such as The Insight Timer to set up regular practice.
Remember to celebrate! We tend to focus on our perceived failures, like ‘I only practised 3 times this week’ instead of our successes ‘I managed to fit my practice 3 times in a crazy week!!’ You are looking at long term benefits to give your mind and body what they need on any given day.
As you can see, there’s a lot more involved in establishing positive habits than just throwing yourself into it with no fore-thinking and insight.
That New Year resolution can be put into action no matter what time of the year. And if all else fails and you’ve abandoned your resolution, just drop the drama and simply get back to it!