While New Year's Resolutions are a common tradition, so are the guilt and shame that follow when your unrealistic resolutions don't hold up in the long run. These negative thoughts and feelings result in low self-esteem and more self-deprecating behavior and unhealthy habits. Instead of following that same vicious cycle year after year, why not break your pattern and start with the basics?
Send yourself a little love.
Ahimsa is one of the first yogic principles, and it's one of the most important. While it is more commonly translated as non-violence, it can be thought of as positive thoughts and feelings as well. What we think of ourselves or others can be just as harmful as a physical attempt to harm. So do yourself a favor, and congratulate yourself on just how spectacular you already are.
When we look at ourselves in that light we are better able to set our intentions. For our practice, our day, or the new year. In Yoga, this intention setting or resolution is known as Sankalpa. It's a will, a purpose, or determination. But it is done in a way that does not focus on the negative, which is unfortunately often tied into our traditional resolutions.
Here's some examples:
"I'm going to lose 15 pounds!" Translation: "I'm really fat."
"I'm going to stop drinking coffee!" Translation: "I'm really unhealthy."
"I"m going to be more patient." Translation: "I'm a terrible person for getting frustrated."
Sankalkpa encourages you to look behind that thought. So instead of those traditional resolutions, why not focus on "Learning what foods make your body feel the best", or "Recognizing a craving when it occurs and giving it time to pass." Sankalpa allows us to surrender to our intentions, instead of forcing them, and open ourselves to the universe.
Happy New Year Friends! Hope yours is filled with love and light!