January is a wonderful month to plant seeds – and I’m not just talking about gardening here. The season of winter is tied to our sense of will and courage, to dig deep into our selves and plant the things we want to manifest in the year to come. A new year often fuels that sense of motivation to work towards what we want, and so we often create “new years resolutions”. And though we all have good intentions in the way of sticking to our resolutions and making this year better than last, the inertia often fades and our will power dwindles as we encounter challenges along the path to our goals. The good news is that this is normal, and a part of the usual path of creating change in your life. But how can you set yourself up for success in staying on track and achieving your goals this year? There’s lots of tips out there, but here’s a few from a yogis’ perspective:
1. Create an intention that’s deeper than the initial outcome you’re looking for. Ask yourself “WHY?”, and then ask it again, and again – until you guide yourself to the real intention behind your goals. For example, if you’re wanting to loose some extra weight this year, as you look deeper you might find out that you want to live a healthier lifestyle over-all. When we can understand and “plant” a powerful and real intention into the mind, all of our thoughts and actions fall inline with that intention – as if we were programed to work towards it. It becomes less of a struggle, and more effortless to achieve your goals. This can be difficult to navigate on your own, which is why we have planned a great workshop for you THIS SATURDAY: Transformative Intentions, that will help you to find that “seed” intention, and show you how to work with it in your yoga practice, and life off your mat.
2. Planning, Preparation & Prioritizing. No goals are achieved just by thinking of them then waiting for them to happen. It takes some effort to do something new or better, but the good news is that that hardest part is the first step. Planning & Preparing yourself for the following steps your going to take towards your goal is the crucial first step. If you want to manage your stress better this year, but you don’t plan how and when you’re going to work on it, then you likely will continue on being overwhelmed by stressors. Many of us run our lives from an agenda or schedule: planning work, school, family events, and other activities into time slots, that we stay committed to. If you treat your goals in the same way (planning the time into your schedule) this will help you to make it a priority, and keep you on track with your goal. You might find it helpful to sign in for our yoga classes online in advance, then you can put it right into your schedule, and know that you’re busy working on “you” at that time.
3. Share your goals with others, and get support. The biggest challenges are usually not conquered by one person alone. There is power in community, and there is no shame in looking to yours (or ours) for support. Even if your goals seem small, or like you “can handle them on your own”, it helps to have others aware and supporting your goals too. This makes you accountable to other people, and we often feel a greater sense of commitment to sticking with something if we know others are part of it. So make plans with a friend to come to class once a week together. Or talk with our teachers and staff and share your goals with us, so we can help you along the way too.
4. Get comfortable with being out of your comfort zone. No change happens within your comfort zone – this is where things stay the same, and we settle into patterns and habits (whether good or bad). If you want something new or different, you have to get outside of your comfort zone. This can look different depending on what you’re working on, but it’s important to recognize when you’re shying away from something just because it’s different of what you’re used to. In yoga we have the opportunity to practice observing our reactions to change, and challenging ourselves to push past what we’re used to. We get the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, and can
5. Use positive language. Our words and thoughts have a profound effect on us, shaping our perceptions, our physical bodies, and our whole lives around us. When you’re working towards something, it’s important to highlight the benefits and think about it positively, rather than the challenges or what you don’t want. If you’re planning to attend early morning yoga once a week, but every time you thought about it, you said “it’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning”, then it will likely be hard. But if you thought “I always feel so good for the rest of the day after that class” then you’re more likely to get up and get to class.
6. Practice some acceptance and forgiveness. Know that there will be ups and downs along the path of change. It’s a long-term journey, and you’ll go through moments of feeling invigorated and excited about it, and moments of being unmotivated and bored by it. If you’re able to accept this, and forgive yourself for the “cheats” or times you missed something, then you remove the burden and guilt that comes with it. You know that it’s a temporary down, and you’ll be back up soon. Instead of falling off the wagon and feeling defeated & staying down, you get look forward to getting back on, and knowing you’ll do even better next time.
7. Express gratitude. Seeing what you already have and are grateful for in your life, rather than looking at what you lack in your life, is a guaranteed way to add more happiness and contentment into your life. When we’re grateful for what we have, we’re more positive and better able to cope with stress. This goes hand and hand with achieving our goals. You may find that as you feel more grateful for what you already have, that your goals change, or become closer in reach. As well, the challenges that you face along the way to achieving your goals become easier to manage and overcome. One of the best ways to harness the power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you're grateful for each day.
Now that you’re armed with a list of tips for sticking to your goals for 2017, it’s time to put them into action!
Best wishes, for a prosperous and joy-filled year. Myself & the whole YiB team look forward to sharing in your journey and supporting you in whatever way possible along the way.
Love & Light,
Ashley (Owner and Teacher)