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I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the intention behind resolutions—the idea that you can suddenly turn over a new leaf and change all the things you don’t like about your life. I’m sure it works for lots of people—other people who are more disciplined than me, obviously. But it’s never really worked for me. Maybe it’s just my rebellious streak, but the second I start making rules for myself (eat fewer cupcakes, get up early every morning to run before work, never miss another yoga session!), I set myself up for failure. Once I’ve fallen off the wagon, I think to myself, “Well, I botched that on up; I might as well let cupcakes become common occurrence in my diet again.” (Cupcakes are obviously just an example—I have no desire to give up cupcakes.)
Anyway, this year I’m taking a different approach. Inspired by my yoga practice, I’m going to resolve to make very small, very attainable goals for myself instead of big, crazy goals. In yoga terms, instead of resolving to force my forehead to my shins, I’m going to relax, stretch, and go just as far as feels right to me in the moment. I’ll use props or make modifications whenever I need to. I’ll let go of the idea of perfect and just be happy with what’s available to me. I may not be able to change myself, my life, or all my bad habits simply because I’m determined—but I can change my attitude and outlook to see that maybe things aren’t so bad after all.
With that in mind, here are 5 New Year’s Resolutions that I’ve decided are worth making this year.
1. See the beauty, health, functionality, and grace in my body as it is. So maybe my thighs would be more attractive if I lost a few pounds, but it’s pretty great that they’re healthy, support my weight, allow me to walk, let me feel strong in Mountain Pose, and have that nice muscle tone I’ve built through years of yoga.
2. Appreciate the beauty, kindness, warmth, and good intentions of people around me. People are never going to say exactly the right thing or do exactly what I’d like for them to do in the moment. But that doesn’t mean they’re not amazing people who want the best for me—and that’s pretty amazing no matter how many times they put their feet in their mouths.
3. Reflect on my accomplishments. Am I exactly where I want to be in my life/career/relationships? No way. But look at all the things I have accomplished! And look at the exciting journey I have ahead of me as I work toward the life I want to live and become the person I want to be.
4. Have more fun. Life is too short to spend it doing things you hate and hating the things you do. This year, I want to have more fun at every little task—no matter how menial or mundane.
5. Practice more yoga—especially off the mat. I’m not making any unlikely promises to myself to meditate or practice asana every day this year. I know it will never happen. But I do intend to practice yoga at every given opportunity. That might mean taking more deep, conscious breaths while I stand in line at the grocery store. Or it may mean practicing kindness toward others through my words and actions. I have no idea what lessons my practice will reveal to me this year, but I know I’m going to be open to whatever reveals itself to me along the way.
Here’s to an amazing 2012!