The transition to each New Year can be a powerful time. Like many, I spend this time reflecting on the past and creating promises to myself for the future. These promises have ranged from the dramatic to the absurd. From larger goals, like changing careers, to physical goals, like losing that dreaded final five pounds, to last year’s seemingly frivolous resolution to spend more time on Facebook
The challenge, of course, is in keeping my annual promises. I start out determined, but over time my discipline wanes, and with it my commitment. And I know I’m not alone. The fleeting nature of New Year’s resolutions is obvious both at the health club I attend and in my own yoga classes. January 1, the studio is filled with enthusiastic students—many back for the first time since the prior January. By mid February, the crowds begin to thin. By April we have plenty of room to sweep our arms and do those space-demanding twisting postures.
And the cycle continues, both for many of my students and for me. Many give up making resolutions all together, deciding it’s simply futile. Believe me, I’ve been tempted.
But in spite of my own struggle with follow-through, I always try again. Because I know that the process of setting these goals makes me a better person. If you don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, that still shouldn’t stop you. There’s nothing special about January 1. Every day is an opportunity to reflect, to commit, and to begin again. By doing so, we plant the seeds of intention that will blossom into future actions. From intention, from thought, comes everything.
The questions below have been adapted from a meditation I learned when I took my first yoga teacher training. As we begin 2012, I hope you will join me and incorporate these reflections into your yoga practice and your daily life:
- What are my most important values?
- How have my recent actions reflected those values?
- How have my recent communications reflected those values?
- How have my recent thoughts reflected those values?
- How can I change my thoughts, communications, and actions to more closely align with my values in the future?
Each of us has the power, through intention and choice, to live a life that embodies our most important priorities. We simply need to use that power.
I hope you have a wonderful 2012. May your new year include not only increased mindfulness, but also great joy. And I hope to see you at Whole Life Yoga soon—not just in January, but throughout the entire year.
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!