Happy New Year everybody! Welcome to 2014!
I know that in the craziness of the New Year and seeing all the New Year’s Resolutions getting posted by everyone, it is hard to resist the temptation of self-improvement goals like, losing weight, eating right and exercising more. And while those typical resolutions can be great for some, most New Year’s resolutions have been broken by January 15. Setting you up to feel like a failure because resolutions are not necessary the best way to make lasting changes in our lives. Now that’s not how you want to start 2014!
Why intentions rather than resolutions?
Instead I would like to offer the concept of intentions, rather than resolutions. One definition for yoga is “discipline in action”. Our yoga practice is discipline in action. In the same way, intentions can be practiced as discipline in action, rather than a hard resolution that can be broken in a moment. And the discipline of our intentions can be redefined as practicing what is possible with consistency.
The Power of Self-Love
When we focus our intentions on self-love, we are also getting at the root of the change we desire with the typical New Year’s Resolutions. With self-love comes listening to your body’s needs, moving your body for pleasure and finding greater contentment and gratitude. All of which leads to making better choices rather than turning to excess to deal with our negative feelings.
Here’s an example:
Resolution – Stop eating sugar to be healthier
The morning of January 6th it’s a big rush to get the kids to school and yourself back to work after all that time off over the holidays and you begin to feel your holiday bliss slipping away. When you get to the office, your co-worker has brought in some delicious looking treats and after the morning you had you just can’t resist.
Result = Resolution broken 🙁
Intention – Be more present in the moment so that you are eating intuitively
The morning of January 6th it’s a big rush to get the kids to school and yourself back to work after all that time off over the holidays and you begin to feel your holiday bliss slipping away. But on the drive to school and work you remember your New Year’s Intention to be more present in the moment and so you take a deep, slow breath and begin to notice the beauty around you. Your kids. The scenery. The anticipation of getting back to work. And once at the office, still living in the present moment, you are offered a delicious looking treat. Rather than feeling like it is the distraction you have to have after that stressful morning,you get to choose whether you want to eat it.
Result = You immediately see the benefit of this intention and feel empowered to keep up the PRACTICE.
So take the pressure off with a smaller number of New Year’s Intentions that can be reasonably achieved and still make profound changes in your life. Here are a few suggestions of Radical Intentions for Self-Love!
Radical Intentions for Self-Love
- Let go of worrying about what others think.
- Not everyone will like you or always like the choices you make. Stay true to your values and know that you are doing the right thing.
- Don’t “Should” all over yourself.
- As in, “I should go to the gym today”. “Should” represents some externally imposed expectation and comparing ourselves to a perceived cultural ideal and can make us resentful of our own imposed requirements to be a “better” person. Instead of “should” statements ask yourself, “What would be most loving to myself right now?”.
- Accept what is.
- When we accept what is we allow ourselves to be in the flow with life rather than resisting what is. There are things that we can change about our lives, but often it takes time to make those changes and we have to be patient with ourselves. And then there are the things we can’t change. For both the things we can and the things we can’t change, accepting what is releases us from wasting all that time and energy getting frustrated and annoyed.
- Be in the present moment.
- Probably one of the most powerful intentions you could practice. Being in the present moment lowers stress levels, opens you up to more joy, allows you to make better choices, and let’s you see the beauty around you.