New Year Resolutions 2018
New Year Resolutions - I know it’s an arbitrary date, but I do love the concept of a fresh start, at any time of the year.
Begin with reflecting on what you’re proud of and what you’ve achieved. It’s helpful to look at different aspects of your life like business and personal accomplishments. Get together with a friend, and aim to write down at least 30 things. Prompt each other until you have a long list of wins. The idea is to really feel good about all the positive things you’ve achieved. When we obsess about our past and ruminate on mistakes, it can cause great anxiety, even if it’s not immediately apparent.
Think about what’s important and meaningful to you. This usually involves being completely present, thinking less, and feeling more, tapping into innate intuitive wisdom. When our goals are manifest from our deepest desires they will naturally be more aligned to succeed. Yoga practices can help to ground us and open us up to new possibilities.
I love this quote from Ram Dass “This trip is fraught with paradoxes. You have to give it all up to have it all. Turn off your mind – there is a place in you that already knows. The key to the spiritual journey is not acquiring something outside of yourself. Rather it is shedding the veils to come back to the deepest truth of your being. ”
Think about what you’d like to practice and how you’d like to feel. What kind of connection do you have to that goal? The mental aspect of resolution is key, we will only be as successful as the thoughts we have around that goal. Resolutions often involve establishing new habits, and that can mean breaking a cycle of behaviour that’s been in your family for generations. Yoga practice teaches us self-awareness: take note of the thoughts you have about a particular goal and whether they are predominantly positive or negative. How we handle what goes on with our thoughts will dictate our success - know that optimism is a choice. You can see my blog from last year on choosing a Sankalpa.
In yoga the quality of effort or self-discipline is Tapas. To stop acting mindlessly or habitually, instead take charge of your own destiny, putting knowledge into action. Tapas is the willingness to work, develop discipline, enthusiasm and a desire to learn. When you use your will to overcome your conditioning you free yourself from the many unconscious actions that cause suffering. Discipline is a path to happiness. Figure out what you can do, whether only 10 minutes a day working towards your goals, and do it consistently.
How yoga supports us
The purpose of yoga practice is summed up in Yoga Sutra 1.2
Transalated by Stephen Cope: Yogic action has three components - discipline, self study and the orientation toward the idea of pure awareness.
Or a more modern reworking can be found in the serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
May you continue to love, learn and grow in 2018.