Resolving New Year’s Resolutions…

It’s a New Year and with every New Year, I find there is rejuvenation among individuals to make a “new” us, a “better” us. “New Year’s resolutions” are made, new goals to achieve, new hopes to desire, new dreams to attain; there is a renewed sense of hope, creation, and optimism. The gyms are packed, grades are up, work performance improves, and debt goes down; the month of January seems to focus on what we can do to better ourselves. Yet, all this “newness”, as good as it may seem, begins to fade away and by March old habits have resurfaced attached with a sense of disappointment, defeat, and failure. I’m not saying this happens to everyone, but in my professional experience I observe this each year.

As a counselor, one of my main focuses has always been to help individuals create goals and the steps to achieve them. The first week of January, especially, has always been a goal-setting activity. Yet, as my yoga and meditation practice has deepened, with a greater appreciation on the now, I feel I have perhaps done a disservice to my students and myself. In Rodney Yee’s book “The Poetry of the Body” he discusses his views on goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. He felt that by creating goals and stating what you need to do to “better yourself” said that you are not in the present moment and are not happy with who you are in that present moment. It made me think of my own work, and how that message may be portrayed and why so many of my students are disappointed with themselves by early spring. Usually, goals created are not attainable which sets up for failure, as well as saying, you are not good enough right now, so what can you do to better yourself.   It was a different perspective on what society views about New Year’s Resolutions, but one I am most grateful for because it has helped me with staying in the present moment with appreciation of the individual in the now.

It is because of yoga, that I am able to alter and welcome this new perspective. My yoga practice has allowed me to place emphasis on the now with concentration on the breath. Through the wisdom and guidance of the skilled Sangha Space instructors, intentions are set with a focus on the present, rather than on goals which focus on a fixed outcome for the future. Yoga has allowed me to have kindness for myself now without setting goals to improve myself. Yoga is a time to “just be” with how I am, now at this moment, with acceptance, love, and gratitude.

“Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just Be.”                                                                                                    ~Thich Nhat Hanh


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