All of the recent focus on transformation during this time of year can be a little overwhelming. Gyms become crowded, fad diets started, the bad habit promised to be broken. But all of those things sound surface level to me. That is a change in lifestyle, but at the core each of us remain the same person.
I think there are two different ways to respond to the resolution hype. One is instead of focusing on the negative (things we lack or need to improve on), focus on the positive and all the things you are doing right. Focus the attention on what you love about yourself. Just as writing down and posting a goal to change, it is just as easy to write an affirmation, a positive thing about yourself to read everyday to remind yourself of all the things that don’t need changing.
An alternative is the what everybody seems to do around the first of the year….focus on a goal or something you want to achieve. Many resolutions involve health– losing weight, becoming more fit, stopping an addiction, but also include saving money, changing careers, getting “over” an ex, finding a partner, etc. I know a lot of people in my life that have been meaning to do these things for a long time. I have been in a position before where I knew I just needed to actually produce the result I had been wanting.
This shift in thought is the key to attaining goals. Instead of thinking or trying, changing that intention and thought to simply doing. I do not believe this true commitment can be achieved if stemmed from shallow intentions like wanting to be skinny for an upcoming event, but because it is time to take ownership of your own life. I think Oprah calls it the “ah-ha” moment, the sort of fork at the end of the road where we realize we CAN in fact accomplish all we want, or perhaps realize we are at an all time low and need to rise above, etc.
Working in the fitness industry I have seen this transpose in ways like getting on the scale and realizing you have hit the unthinkable weight of (insert here). The moment you realize that whatever behavior or tendency has got to STOP, that it is absolutely time to change, and you look yourself in the mirror and commit 100% to whatever it is, that is when the work starts. Tell loved ones what your goal is, write it down, and post it somewhere you will see it everyday. Last year, I decided a lifestyle goal of mine was to come-hell-or-high-water, practice yoga either on my own or in a class six days a week. I wrote it down, told a few close friends, and posted it on my mirror. And guess what– minus crutches and surgery, I adhered to it, and it is no longer a goal because it is simply part of my life.
As long as we keep in mind that these lifestyle changes are not representations of who we are, but aspects or parts of our life that we want to change, I believe it is a good thing to have goals and work towards them. Although it sounds like a no brainer, I believe in the importance of reminding ourselves of these statements: I am not my body, I am my breath. I am not my car, I am not my house, I am not my career, I am not my marriage, I am not my kids. I am not defined by what I do.
So if you wish, make the positive changes in your life, call them resolutions and maybe even decide to make those changes in January. Just don’t lose sight of who you are as a person, and remember that it is about what is inside that counts. That is why I love yoga– it is the perfect opportunity to shut out the outside, and look inside and listen to your inner teacher, and trust it to guide you wherever your heart desires. Go on, go for it– all the marbles, blaze past the fear and insecurity and listen to that little voice inside of you. It all starts with just one step.