Tag Archives: New Year resolutions

The kind of resolutions I like…

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It’s the third of  January, and it’s a dreary kind of day outside.  The kind of day that makes you want to curl up by the fire.  It’s also far enough into the new year that you could already see yourself as failing one or more of your resolutions, if you made any, but also early enough in the year that you may not even have started, and so you could be wondering if it was worth even setting any.

Well, I really don’t like the kind of all-or-nothing resolutions which you could fail at this early on!  I mean, what’s the point of them?  It’s incredibly hard to start, or stick to, a new healthy eating plan when the house is still full of delicious Christmas leftovers!  If you haven’t started, why should a week or two into the year make any difference?  Why not start when the time is right for you?! If the blustery day puts you off wanting to go for a walk or a run, does it matter?  It’s not the only day of the year!  There are still 362 days left to do that!

I much prefer to look at the new year as a time to assess where I’m at in my life, and  keep moving forward. So rather than set myself ridiculous goals which I can succeed or fail at, I set myself realistic goals, and  see them as a continuation of what has gone before, a revisiting of my overall move towards better things.  It’s not a ladder I can fall off, more of a spiral staircase in which the overall movement is upwards but which curls around and comes back to the same spot, where I can go down a few steps but then back up.  I try to take small steps towards my overall goal, but I don’t try to do it all at once! As Lao Tzu said, The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Above all, I intend to be kind to myself this year,  so setting myself unreachable goals would really not fit that end. If you have already broken a resolution, or have not yet started, or not set any at all, be kind to yourself and just take one tiny step at a time.

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A time to reflect and make plans

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I’m not the biggest fan of new year’s resolutions per se, as we so often make them, stick with them for a few days or weeks, and then go back to the way we were before when we realise we have been too ambitious, and other things get in the way of that punishing exercise schedule which seemed such a good idea before we went back to work after the holidays.  It’s so easy to get discouraged and then give up altogether.  But I do think that this is the ideal time to have a look at the year we have just lived through, at the achievements we have made, however small,  and consider how we would like to take them forward.  And not just our achievements, but also our failures, the lessons we have learnt this year and which we can use to help us in the coming year.

When we stop to look over the past 12 months, we might be surprised by how far we have come.  We might not have changed the world, exactly, but we may have taken our first baby steps towards something incredibly important in our lives.  So whilst I have not yet become self-sufficient in making my own clothes, I have started that process and made a few items, and whilst invisible zips are still a bit scary, I can imagine that they will keep getting easier with each garment (I hope!). I’ve made most of the birthday cards I’ve sent and all of our Christmas cards this year, so hope to continue this next year.  I have continued my daily yoga and meditation practice, and have resumed my writing after quite a long – and unintended – break. I have bought a Nutribullet and most days I’m  drinking a delicious and homemade smoothie full of healthy fruit and vegetables.  I  completely quit sugar last year, and then resumed it to some extent, but now Christmas is over I’m already looking forward to my January cleanse.  Mindfulness of eating has become too ingrained to overindulge for long!

So even if, like me, you have previously been discouraged by unsustainable resolutions, don’t despair.  Look at how far you have already come, and then think about what small and achievable steps you could work towards next. Optimism is great, but try to be realistic too, so that, come the end of  January, you haven’t given up altogether.

 

Wishing you a Happy and peaceful New Year!

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Despite writing an earlier blog entry on how much easier it is to adopt new patterns and positive habits in our lives in the spring time than the depths of winter, I cannot resist the new year.  I relish the opportunity to start anew yet again, to try to do better than last year, but also to look at the positives that have come out of the preceding year. 2012 has been a good year on so many levels. Nationally, we have celebrated the diamond jubilee, closely followed by a spectacular Olympic games. We have every reason to look back fondly on the past year. And the world didn’t end last week, which is a huge bonus!

On a personal level, this has been a mixed year, one in which I have experienced both highs and lows, both loss and gain, but one in which I have learned to see the blessings in disguise, the lessons in the events I’ve been tempted to call ‘bad’, and have learnt to lessen my attachment to the ‘good’ things. I have learnt the importance of taking better care of myself, so that I can take better care of others, and to that end have renewed my commitment to a daily yoga and meditation practice – something which has been ongoing  for several months now, so if you find your resolve weakening over the next few weeks, you always have another chance to start again, whatever the time of year.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a daily practice of Kriya yoga, which requires me to learn a new practice each week, whilst reducing the number of rounds of previous practices. Prior to that I was working on specific exercises for individual chakras for a month at a time. Several times, I’ve found a particular practice so beneficial that I haven’t really wanted to move on, but I find it helpful to continue to follow my practice schedule, thereby not allowing myself to get too attached to one specific kriya, but instead flowing from one practice to another, accepting the individual benefits whilst still uncovering the secrets of the whole picture.

When first learning to meditate, we may feel nothing until one day we suddenly experience something which makes us understand why we are doing this in the first place. And then we may wish for this experience every time we practice. And it won’t come! It may take days, or weeks, before we feel that way again. But we persevere. We accept that our meditation practice, just like life in general, offers us the highs and the lows, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. We learn to see beyond the way we usually label things; we see both the good in the bad and the bad that sometimes comes from what we see as good in the first instance.  We learn that we don’t always know if things are good or bad, and so we learn acceptance and equanimity.

So this New Year, I resolve to maintain and develop my practice, and to foster these qualities of acceptance and equanimity as much as I possibly can. And to be kind to myself on those occasions I don’t manage it, but to allow myself to start anew again and again!