Happy New Year! Okay, so since it is the start of 2015, I’m guessing all of the yoga blogs are going to focus on New Year’s resolutions and promises. We all have this on our minds as we’ve had some time off from our hectic lives to consider and reflect on what we want to do differently this year. But, most of the time, our best intentions fall by the wayside as the business of our “normal” lives take over. Promises to eat better, exercise more, and spend less are difficult to keep when you are working late and rushing to your kids’ games and then struggling to finish homework and the laundry. It was a lot easier to go through the drive-through lane than to cook a healthy dinner and find time to exercise.
So what makes a resolution stick? I don’t have any definitive answer and I definitely have my share of FAILS. Keeping the house clean has been on my list – unsuccessfully – for as long as I can remember. But, I’ve had my share of successes too. I’ve made good progress with my son’s autism treatment, I’ve expanded my movement practice, I’ve done more volunteer work, and I’ve been cooking more homemade meals. There are a few things that have upped my chances of success.
I try to be realistic. I have a lot of goals for my family, my home, my career, my yoga practice, my personal life, how I eat, how I clean… the list is endless. If I list a million goals I’ll be too tired to do any and then I’ll be spending most nights feeling like a failure eating frozen pizza over the kitchen sink and drinking boxed wine (not that that ever happened…). So, I start off with a million goals and then I pull out some for the year that seem realistic and achievable and I keep the others on a wish list (or a pinterest board now – so much fun and saves so much paper, but that’s another story).
I take the goals that I can get serious about and then I break them into smaller quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. This way I know if I’m on track. And I have to keep track! Then, I can decide whether I need more time, if I need to reassess, or if I can CELEBRATE!
Celebrating is important to me. If I reward myself for an accomplishment, I feel more motivated to accomplish more. It can be really small (like a good chocolate bar for cleaning the bathrooms or a glass of wine just for making it through a tough day without falling apart) or bigger (if I get my website up by March I’m going to get myself a new coat). But so many of us lead a task-oriented life and so many of the tasks are not only thankless but are never done forever (like cleaning the bathrooms) that it’s important to recognize yourself for getting them done.
I read somewhere that if you do something 30 times it becomes a habit. So, make the first month count and commit to hang in there for at least a month no matter how much you want to throw in the towel. Then it becomes just like brushing your teeth. I did this when I wanted to try oil-pulling – after a month, I now automatically do it each morning. It can also be helpful to find a friend with the same goal, to work it together if possible and compare notes and keep tabs. Then you can hold each other accountable.
It may seem obvious, but avoiding toxic, unproductive, negative people will lead to greater success. These people are success-sappers. They never wanted to accomplish their goals anyway (at least they didn’t want to put in the work!) – they just want people to commiserate with. So, their goal is to get you to fail and to make you feel bad if you don’t. You know who I mean – the chick in the office who says sarcastically, “We are all going to go out for a pizza, but you’re not eating gluten, right?” Avoid if you can and if you can’t, rise above! Your success will be your reward (and you will learn to make a kick-ass cauliflower-crust pizza).
Set time aside for your goals! This is essential for busy people. I have to carve out time on my calendar for each thing I want to spend time on, otherwise it’s way too easy to get sucked into email, social media, internet searches and other time sucks. When I am breaking my goals down, I determine how much time I will need each week. Then, I give myself extra time (things always come up, people pop in my office, etc.). Then, I put that time on my calendar and when I’m working on it I remove all other distractions. For example, I want to finish my online photo albums (I’m up to 2012 haha!), so if I set aside an hour each week to work on this, I need to turn Outlook off so that emails aren’t popping up in the corner, distracting me and drawing me in.
Another way to make your goals more achievable is to make them public. This makes you feel more accountable. You’re less likely to order that dessert if your friend is sitting next to you and ready to remind you that you gave up sugar. So, tell a friend or post your goals on Facebook. Post your successes too – people will congratulate you and this will make you feel good. That’s what Facebook is for right – for people to post everything great and then everyone tells them about how great they are haha – you might as well join in!
Here’s some of the items on my 2015 goal list. I’ll check in and update my progress (accountability!) and let you know how it went…
-I will continue to heal my son (who has autism) and I have specific goals for therapies I want to try, supplements I want to use, and other things I want to start doing. Somehow I’m also going to spend less money on supplements and therapies (I haven’t entirely work this out yet).
-I will continue to expand my yoga practice, practice at least every other day, and put together all the information I’ve been gathering about children’s yoga classes, making sure I have at least one lesson/class planned each month.
-In my continued efforts to be healthier and save money as well, I want to plan my meals out better and start buying my meat from a local farm. To buy in bulk, I’ll have to plan a lot of meals for a few months in advance (and if I fail, I’ll have to run to Whole Foods and spend a fortune). I also want to start making daily morning smoothies, prep the week’s meals over the weekend, and make a special healthy treat for my kids at least once a week.
-I’m going to start sharing healthy living tips and resources. Specifically, I plan to start sending out a monthly newsletter in February, have my website created by March, and have a FB page for it by April. I have some more specific goals related to this as well.
-I will spend more time with my husband and family. I want to do at least one just-for-fun event with them each month, and spend time alone with my husband at least once every other month. This will be difficult since we don’t have a babysitter and our kids are pretty high-maintenance, but I think it the benefits will be worth it. And, if my husband is more relaxed he’ll be more productive at work so the money spent on a sitter will make its way back to us…
Finally, make sure that you are actively visualizing yourself achieving your goals – see it and believe in it until you already accept it as fact. Do not focus only limitations – only your triumph! I know you can do it and I wish you success and happiness!
Now please excuse me while I treat myself to a latte for finishing this blog