It’s January 1st and the yoga studio is packed with yogis. Barely 10cm separates each mat, making for many modifications in my practice. And while I’m humbled to share in my yoga community intent on connecting mind and body through breath, come middle to late February, the class size has returned to “normal” – full swan dive, arms extended and breathe. I’m all for New Year Resolutions, but the reality is that resolutions are usually not sustainable in the long run.

spring equinox
So what is a resolution exactly? And why is there so much pressure to use January 1st as your start date?

Resolutions, by definition are the act of solving a problem or finding a way to improve a difficult situation. According to this, we must inventory our problems; all things wrong with us; all things we need to change about ourselves. What if instead, in the spirit of optimism, we made a list to identify those things or people that no longer serve us and therefore shifting the paradigm? What if we took that one step further and used a completely random day of the year to start anew?

According to numerology, we’ve got it all wrong. January 1st is NOT the most auspicious time for setting new goals. January is seen as a time for reflection and letting go. February and March mark a time for renewal. 2016 also marks the end of a cycle – the 9th year. 2017 holds fresh starts as we begin anew at #1.

In all honesty, I’ve been in a time of reflection, list making, and letting go of things (and people) who no longer serve me this past month. I feel ready. With Spring Equinox on the horizon, I’m going to pull on my symbolic overalls and farmer looking hat and rock this equinox with Revolution… I mean Resolutions!

Resolutions are about challenging ourselves to become the best version of ourselves. Here are my top five tips on setting up successful resolutions:

1. Give yourself permission and perspective. How do you see yourself literally, physically and figuratively in 3, 6, or 9 months? Now this can be a slippery slope since the world (and society) bombards us daily with unrealistic and unattainable goal expectations. By having a clear vision and understanding of it, as well as the steps involved to attain said goals, you’ll feel more empowered to achieve them. Celebrating the small victories is important too. Hence the 3, 6, or 9 months baby steps. I remember thinking that somehow I’d be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans 2-3 months after giving birth. Thank you Hollywood for this unrealistic expectation! But then I remembered that it took me 9 months to grow a baby inside me. Those were 9 long months. That gave me permission to appreciate my limitations and much needed perspective necessary to be healthy.

2. Connect with your desired feelings. What do your resolutions feel like? I’m sure we’ve all created a “vision board” at one point in our lives. Mine is typically filled with pictures of a vacation home, a pile of money, a renovated kitchen perhaps a dream vacation. Having a vision is great but connecting with the feeling that those goals offer is what will truly build the momentum necessary for the universe to respond in a positive way. So, what would it feel like to have a pile of money? And not have to worry about paying the bills? Would you feel free? You would worry less. You might even be able to lend or donate money to causes that you support. When you associate your goals with a feeling it is easier to recall that emotional connection when feeling low or may have lost sight. For more information on creating and connecting with your core desired feelings, check out www.daniellelaporte.com

3. Check in. We’ve all had days when we don’t feel like ourselves; when the universe seems to be conspiring against you at every turn. I recently had a day that felt like the universe had it out for me. People kept pushing my buttons left, right and centre. By early evening, I was ready to crawl under the covers and sleep which sadly wasn’t an option. While in the car, on my way to a meeting, I was able to pause, breathe and check in. Without over analyzing things, I recognized the patterns of the day. I paid attention to my response to the situations. I considered what I could own and what belonged to others. This check in gave me the perspective necessary – I clearly needed to set firmer boundaries. I owned what was mine, and didn’t get hung up on what wasn’t.

4. Set SMART resolutions. Chances are you’ve heard the term SMART – Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Setting yourself up for success begins with setting SMART goals. The more complicated, the less likely you’re willing to buy in. Adding a numerical component helps as well. I typically practice yoga 2-3 times a week. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking my teacher training. To do that I have to up my game and try different classes. I now practice 3-4 times a week and have added a different series into the mix. With this, I also had to ask myself if I was taking too much on. With three kids, a dog and a home to maintain, was this attainable and even realistic? After a few modifications, and a commitment to batch cooking on Sundays, it is working.

5. Support. This is more important than you might think. A full cheer leading squad may be a little overkill. However, there is benefit to including people in on your plans. They might even join you for added inspiration. But at the very least, you can have a support person(s) to bolster your confidence in those moments when you may not feel certain.

6:29 am – March 20, 2017 marks Spring Equinox.

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true. Sarah Ban Breathnach

With gratitude,

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© 2014 Odessa Gill

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