New Year's Resolutions – How to make them work!
We have just celebrated the passage of time on New Year's eve.This time of change from old to new is for many the perfect time to take a moment to reflect. To take from it what we have received and to let go of what doesn't serve us any more. New Years eve is since day and age time to make positive resolutions for the new year. In the yoga tradition we call a resolution like this a Sankalpa which means a 'positive resolve', much like an affirmation or a small prayer. Traditionally, the Sankalpa is made and repeated often until it comes to fruition. It can be a lofty, ideal type of spiritually elevating Sankalpa which remains the same over a lifetime. But it could also be adopted to a short term, pragmatic Sankalpa specifically appropriate to the moment of life you currently find yourself in. We can compare the repetition of a Sankalpa to the planting of a seed. Each time you repeat it, it is like nourishing and nurturing what you have planted.
In the Netherlands the most popular of resolutions this year was 'losing weight' as it is most years. However, 40% of the respondents expects they will not succeed in their efforts. What was started full of enthousiasm and mental discipline is now a feeling of failure and dissapointment. So what could we do better?
- Be realistic
Really look at your life and make a resolve you know you can stick to with reasonable effort. You are much more likely to stick to a realistic resolve then to one which is beyond your capacity at this moment in life.
- Make one resolution at a time
When we implement one resolve to improve ourselves or make our lives more healthy our system slowly gets used to this new idea or routine. Then, when this resolve is fully integrated into your life then move on to the next. This insures practices of mind & body to become an integral part of you. Something which is far more difficult to achieve when we make many resolutions at the same time, then realizing it is too much, to then drop them all.
- Follow the 51% rule
When you do something 51% of the time, so say 4 out of 7 days, you are doing something for the majority of your time, so you are making very positive changes.This is encouraging! When life evolves we might raise it to 60% or even more. There is time. The 100% rule is usually set up for failure and not advisable.
- Renew your resolution every day
Every day is the start of a new year! For a resolve to really come into fruition it needs to be repeated often and adjusted where needed. Take a moment every day, sit quietly, tune into yourself and renew your Sankalpa. This nourishes it and gives it more strength.
Resolutions for healthy eating
When it comes to resolves involving food & diet it is a good idea to first of all look at why and how we eat before we look at what we eat. Very often we don't eat because we are hungry or we eat the wrong things because we didn't eat a proper meal at the right time. Our relationship with food is for life and it is interesting to look into this relationship. It is a practice of self-inquiry and mindfulness. And once we have created a foundation in our eating habits we can look into what we eat and which foods nourish us most.
Learn more about building a healthy relationship with food in the workshop “Ayurveda and the Art of healthy eating” We will explore why, how and what to eat. January 23 by Liese van Dam