When the end of the year is in sight New Year’s resolutions and “new year, new me” ideas start to come up for people. This can be a good and bad thing. On one hand it can be a great way to evaluate your goals, gain motivation, and reflect on your year. Yet, New Years can also be filled with fad diets, workout regimes, and body shaming that leads to more than 80 percent of people giving up their resolutions by February.
Whether you want to add new habits or change unhealthy ones, don’t wait for New Years to think about goals for the next year. Set yourself up for success by starting the work now in a way that can promote overall health.
1. Reminisce on Your Year
Before thinking about all the things you can change or goals for the next year, take some time to journal about your year so far. Include the goals you reached, highlights, as well as low points and challenges. Think about what went well and what you learned.
Was this is the year you finally decided to go to yoga after thinking about it for years? Was this the year you started writing a book? Was this the year that you started going to therapy?
Whatever it is, write it down. Take note of any disappointments, heartbreaks, and even maybe where you traveled. Try to not judge yourself in this journaling activity; simply look at your year with honestly and compassion.
2. Take Note of What Hasn’t Worked in the Past
Begin by reflecting on what types of resolutions have you set, how you implemented them, and if they worked. Did you fall off a month later? Do you know perhaps why? Did you try to make unreasonable goals?
Some issues with creating goals are that we often try to set them too high. We say things like “I will workout every day, no exceptions and eat a perfect diet, meditate, drink lemon water in the morning etc.…” Often people make them so comprehensive that it’s not reasonable and once they try and see it’s not sustainable they give up on all of them. This all or nothing mindset doesn’t lead to lifestyle change.
3. Start Now
Many people treat the holidays as if they can just start fresh on January 1st. While this approach might work for some, we believe that to get where you want to go your need to practice now.
For this reason, try taking these next weeks of December to begin your intentions for the New Year. Work out any details of when, how, and where before you start. Find out if your possible goal is even reasonably in your current life. This will help you flush out any issues with your goals and plans.
4. Identify Areas of Improvement and Go For Your Big Goals
Look at areas of your life (e.g. relationships, career, health and well-being, nutrition, home environment, family etc.) that you feel as if you could improve or grow. If you already just moved into a new place, maybe try decorating it more. If you just wrote your business plan out, seek other professionals that can help you take it to the next step. If you want to focus on your nutrition, go see a nutritionist or an Ayurvedic practitioner. Small steps help to build to larger goals.
Narrow yourself to two or three elements that you can really focus on. Overcommitting is a way to burn out before you’ve even started.
Are there big goals you might be too afraid to go after? Do you have some great ideas, but procrastination, time, or knowledge keep getting in the way? Ask yourself how you could take even just one step forward towards that goal before the year is up.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
“99% practice, 1% theory.”- Sri. K Pattabhi Jois
As much as planning, setting goals, theorizing helps for the New Year, the best plan of action is practice. All of our goals, if they are really worth it, take time, patience, and dedication. They won’t just come in two weeks or a month. We can make slight changes in a short amount of time, but long lasting changes can’t always be seen so quickly.
When people set these big goals for weight loss and nutrition all based on aesthetics of what they want to look like, they often go into extreme caloric deficiencies and work out 2 hours a day. While this may work for a few weeks, it is ultimately unsustainable and why so many “resolutions” end within the first month. If you have these big goals, it is better to work out 20 minutes a day or every other day than 2 hours a day for two weeks and then a few times a month. This progressive building will help you build up to your goals. Also, our suggestion is to not have your goals be based on how you look or material things. We are all impermanent and our bodies will change and age. When we attach too much importance or our self-worth on our bodies, we can get caught up in our samskaras (cycles of our conditioning).
This brings up your WHY. Why are you making these changes? If this isn’t clear to you, your resolutions will probably not go far. Focus on why you’re making these changes, learn from the past, imagine the growth, and practice.