A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!
A large number of people make New Year resolutions. But for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep them; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8 per cent of people achieve their New Year's goals. So why do we make the big list each January?
The practice of making resolutions itself dates back to ancient Babylon, where folk made promises to their gods for the New Year, often having to do with concrete, easily achievable tasks like vowing to return borrowed farm equipment. Today we can hear extreme goals of complete makeovers, in physical, emotional and financial well being, announced to each other or secretly wished, with no accountability to any New Year deities.
But are we are setting ourselves up for failure by making our list that is focused on what we don’t like about ourselves and what we want to change about our lives? This mind frame sets the foundation in a negative structure from the start. Perhaps there is more beneficial ways to reach our goals without making these overwhelming to-do lists based on what we don’t desire.
The traditional list may be born from our “guilt” of how we are currently doing things in our lives or from “lack” mentality of what we don’t have, but want. What if our resolution was setting intentions of acceptance and awareness, rather than fixing and changing? When we can accept ourselves (warts and all) with a true awareness of ourselves and our lives, we can start to look honestly at the why's, how’s, who’s and when’s?
The top resolutions made each year are to lose weight, get healthy, less stress, gain organization, and spend time with loved ones. Plans are put in place to join fitness classes, meditate and make promises of a better life. But what if we were to bring more insight to why we have gained weight, what is causing our un-health and when we are stressed? When we ask the key questions, we clear up some of the struggle that sits between wanting to change and making it stick.
Change can be difficult for most of us. The subconscious conditioning is often not in our conscious awareness. It can be challenging to figure out why we sabotage ourselves in varying degrees. Dig a little deeper and get curious about your life: what works and why, and what doesn’t work and why? Examine your belief systems and consider your motives. Start with intentions to be open and willing to change what needs to change.
Kudos to you, if you are in the 8 per cent category but if resolutions don’t work for you, what if you couple an awareness of your current circumstances and release what no longer serves you? Try letting go of safety nets of old patterns, examining blocks, releasing resentments, surrender to realities and disengaging in activities that don’t allow you to be the best you.
When we open ourselves to the underlying reasons paired with our acceptance of what is, releasing what isn’t working, then we can open up to our possibilities and potentials with more ease. If we can judge ourselves less and instead witness the current realities, we can shift the guilt/lack motivation to conscious positive intentions and goals.
So this year instead of make or break resolutions and change or fix lifestyle, what if we make goals to feel more content with what is, set intentions to allow more love and happiness in all the small things that we do instead of big overhauls of our life. Perhaps the subtle shifts of inner energy and attitude will bring about the changes we were looking for.
It’s wonderful to want change, growth, expansion and even resolutions. In fact that’s really what life is all about. Perhaps if we try a new tactical approach we may be able to up that 8 per cent success rate. May 2015 bring you awareness, health and happiness.
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