Remember in January when I wrote a entry on goals and making things happen? It was the “New Years Resolution” post without screaming “You need to change your life” or “This is going to be the year you lose those last stubborn 15 pounds.” It is now August and over half of 2011 is over. Can you even remember what you were thinking would be your goal for the year? I bet at this point people who did make a resolution probably forgot about it by now, decided it wasn’t actually that important, or perhaps the shiney-ness of the new goal wore off…After the commitment got hard and the day-after-day got old. Making things happen is not easy. Sticking to goals is not easy either.
I thought it would be a good time to check in on those things that we were definitely going to attain or change this year. Perhaps this is the most difficult time to push through– the last four months. It is time to access your status and if you are a bit off track, recommit. For those of you who have stuck to the plan and are not having trouble, awesome! For those of you who maybe need some encouragement and a reminder to how you can really create the changes you want in your life, I want to remind you that change is a process. It does not happen over night, in a week, or maybe even in eight months.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is don’t be disappointed in yourself. This is the real catalyst into the can’ts and falling off the wagon– not the cookie you ate, missed workout, or the all-nighters from last weekend. Guilt has the capability to push us off course. Our mind constantly makes judgements about decisions we make, especially if we do not execute something as perfectly as originally planned. The guilt is what says “I messed up” after eating the cookie. The guilt is what starts the binge and the decision to start over again tomorrow. This guilt will push people to go between extreme diligence and extreme binging. Vacillating between these two extremes is not a balanced or healthy state. This type of wavering involves suffering, doesn’t it?
In Ayurveda Part 1, I talked about how daily practices in the Ayurvedic lifestyle help to facilitate healthy choices for individuals. Part of this Ayurvedic philosophy is the idea of inner intelligence. What do I mean by this inner intelligence? Sadhanas or life practices rouse this “intelligence” through sleeping at appropriate times, eating foods that aid in optimal digestion, and taking time for meditation. This does not mean if you eat salads and get lots of sleep you will wake up a different (or better) person. But sometimes if we evaluate our habits we can learn more about ourselves. Meditation also serves as a teacher because through meditating on something it can shine a light on your personal routines and practices, and this will help you look at them from a perspective and help to access, ask questions, and maybe even make changes.
What we are trying to achieve with News Years Resolutions and any type of goal we set is figuring out how to live the life we want. Making these changes using grace, balance, and awareness can be the tricky part and the part that facilitates the mind shift: Work to eliminate the guilt so you can further enjoy your life and no longer suffer from the swings of deprivation and binging. Next time you get offered a cookie, you might eat it, and if you do, truly enjoy it. Let go of the guilt, have compassion for yourself, and it won’t make you feel bad or binge. You may choose to stay out all night with friends and drink until the cows come home, but it will feel like a celebration, not that you “shouldn’t” be doing it. This doesn’t mean that you just indulge in everything that you want in order to live the life you want. On the other hand, you might say no to the cookie because you might not feel like it, or because think that your digestion is working on something else. You might decide that what you truly want is rest instead of staying out all night.
In short, the Ayurvedic daily practices and habits can help facilitate decision making from a more aware and conscious state, the state of where you want to be and need to be in order to reach your goals. During periods of change, there are moments where we want to do what is familiar to us. This is very normal. Remember if you eat the cookie, it is not a slip up. Just keep moving forward and have compassion for yourself, guilt only makes things worse.
I represented this period of when the going gets tough with achieving goals, changing your life, and the effort it takes to make choices from a balanced, aware state with climbing a mountain. I recently climbed the town’s mountain in Alaska and as I came down the runners trail, sliding on my butt through avalanche shoots, falling in gravel and snow, it did nothing short of kick my ass. I was sore for four days after the climb. This is embarrassing, but I had to tell myself I could do it multiple times. There are four months left to kick 2011’s butt, so go out and do what you set out to do, and do it in a way that you can feel good about yourself.
Inspiration for this post was found from Ayurvedic practicioner Monica Yearwood.