With a flute full of champagne and a heart full of good intentions, we set our New Year’s resolutions each year. I will work out every single day! I will organize every closet and drawer in my house! I will lose 50 pounds! I will never eat cheese again! I will balance my checkbook every day! I will run a marathon! With great zeal, we make plans to better our future-selves.
So here we are, 6 weeks after setting those well intentioned (but perhaps lofty?) goals…where do you stand with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you broken a sweat 40+ times? Are your living quarters organized? Is the weight dropping off? Did you eat the cheese? Is the checkbook balanced? Have you started training for that marathon?
Fret not if you are finding that you haven’t met your (Bellini-induced…?) intentions. There may be a good explanation for it. In our enthusiastic quest to better our lives, we have the tendency to take on more than we can reasonably accomplish. We mean well, but so often try to bite off more than we can chew. We tend to set UNREALISTIC goals for ourselves based on current circumstances…and all this serves to do is set ourselves up for that dreaded feeling of defeat
when we fail to accomplish those goals.
I’m guilty of the same. My New Year’s Resolutions involved cardio. As in doing more of it. As in 7 times a week. Two weeks into January I realized I hadn’t hit the gym or gone for a run once. Not one single time. With the exception of Downton Abbey’s Season 3 premier, my heart rate hadn’t much risen since before Christmas. So much for that daily sweatfest I had promised myself. I had a momentary pityparty, feeling discouraged and disappointed with my lazy and unmotivated self. But then I stopped and looked at the situation with reason. Maybe the problem wasn’t with my willpower (or lack thereof), but with the goal itself. You see, right after Christmas we brought home a new puppy a new puppy that requires a lot of attention, time and energy.
We already have to leave the poor guy home alone when we go to work, I didn’t want to extend that time in order to go to the gym. My goal of hitting the gym 7 days a week simply didn’t make sense within the framework of my current life. What DID make sense was utilizing the time with my puppy to not only exercise him, but myself as well (that whole two birds/one stone deal). So I set a new goal: to walk 3-5 miles each day with my dog. And these outdoor miles stood in my gymcardio’s stead. While it’s not the initial vision I had in my head when I set my resolution, it was still a marked improvement from the complete lack of cardio rut I was stuck in. So I reworked my goal to fit my life.
Before setting goals for yourself, you must first evaluate where you are and then meet yourself there.
Did your New Year’s Resolution involve doing more yoga? Great! Yoga every day? Even better! And if you’ve been practicing every day since January 1, then props to you! But if that hasn’t been the case or you feel you’ve fallen short of your goals, don’t despair and DON’T beat yourself up. Check in with your resolution and ask yourself if it is realistic based on your current circumstances. Maybe due to your schedule, other obligations or physical limitations your
resolution isn’t realistic for you right now. So take a look at your life and figure out what makes sense for you. Bjorn and Jody always say the number one thing we want for our students and people in general is for them to be SUCCESSFUL. That stands true both on and off the mat.
Set yourself up for success by setting an ATTAINABLE goal. Make it manageable for yourself. Start small and stay consistent. Small, consistent steps lead to BIG changes. Once you reach one goal, then you can set another goal based on where you’re at. And like this, you continue to move forward to your ultimate vision.
So you see, I’m not telling you to give up on your grand vision for yourself. I’m telling you to the give up on your attachment to the way in which you achieve your grand vision. After all, life is about the journey and not the destination, right…?