Every new year, we are bombarded with messages of needing to change who we are in some way. Online dating site and weight loss commercials were running non-stop the week before New Year’s. The change these commercials and messages promise us is superficial happiness, fulfillment and health. The reality is that often times these resolutions set us up for failure and result in an even lower self-image. Rather than created resolutions let’s create intentions for the new year.
The idea of the new year being a time to start fresh is appealing. Take for example the common resolution of losing weight. What is the intention behind this resolution? Is it to look good enough to draw someone’s attention or is it so that you can live a healthier and longer life? See the difference? One is about image and vanity while the other is about taking care of yourself – self-love and acceptance.
As a yoga and Pilates instructor I am used to the increase in attendance every January. I hear clients say they are going to take classes 5 days a week. I applaud each new client that joins a class. It can be intimidating to step outside of your comfort zone and try a new studio or style of exercise. For those new clients that continue their practice throughout the new year the rewards can be huge and run deeper than the physical level. For those who stop taking classes I wonder how much their fear of failure in their resolution was making them attend in January versus their intention of taking the class. The first Yama in Classical Yoga philosophy is that of Ahimsa, meaning non-violence. When you fail at sticking to your resolution that disappointment can lead to negative (violent) self-talk. With an intention set you will find that it’s alright to not work out or stick to your diet everyday. If you are focusing to taking care of yourself or practicing compassion and patience with yourself or others you will see changes more holistically.
The year may be new but you are the same at the core of your being and that’s OK. This does not mean that you can’t change things in your life. Goals are healthy. Being realistic and looking into the intention of the goals are key. Think of your goal or resolution for 2011 and now look deeper into what’s the underlying intention.
Example: I want to wake up at 6am each day to meditate for at least 20 minutes. My intention is that I want to give myself that time as a gift in order to feel better aligned and prepared for my day mentally, physically and emotionally. I know that some days I may miss this mark but my intention is pure and comes from the root of self-love.
Feel free to share your intentions for the new year in the comments section!