As I was in yoga class last week, it brought me back to a story a few years back. I would like to share this story that resonated for me, especially since we just started a new year, and can therefore start with a clean slate – tabula rasa.
So…. a few years ago. Yoga. Yes. I was totally into it… relaxed, lying on my back, eyes closed, breathing. I had worked hard during the hour, so my body was feeling fatigued. I had also been completely overloaded at the time, so I just allowed myself to sink into the mat, and listen to the teacher’s soothing voice. His comments about why we have chosen to come to yoga class today, and how we choose to live our lives each and every day was very calming. I was truly in the moment.
We had just finished a 10-minute relaxation pose, shavasana corpse pose, and the instructor said he would like to share a story. It went something to the tune of– he was babysitting his 18 month old nephew, when he entered the baby’s room, and saw this little cute boy without his diaper. All over the walls and the floor was the baby’s poop. He had shmeered it everywhere! The little boy was laughing, despite the instructor feeling completely panicked. He proceeded to ask his nephew, “why are you playing with your own poop?” to which the little cutie answered, “because it’s fun!”
The point the instructor was trying to make, was that we all have our shit in our lives, and many choose to keep the shit around (instead of unleashing it) because it brings them a sense of comfort, as oddly as that may sound. They’re used to the shit and chaos in their lives, and letting it go is often harder than keeping it around. We all know that person who seems to thrive in their drama. Maybe that person is even you.
What an interesting concept. Something to think about.
It’s almost February. This is usually about the time my gym starts to get quiet again (so much for all those new members), people are smoking and drinking again, they’re less patient, they’re re-addicted to their iPhones and crackberries, and all those good intentions made in December, fall by the wayside. No matter how great we are for a period of time, it’s human nature to slip back into old routines. I once wrote a blog post on change— can people really change? My mom, my best therapist says, YES, but there is a big BUT after the yes, and it’s followed by a complex list of things. I’m not sure. I’ve always been from the school of thought that we have a natural inclination to be a certain type of person.
For example… I am a hardworking, anxious, type A, over-achieving person. For me to try and not sweat the small stuff is about as easy as a gambling addict trying to stay away from a casino…. virtually impossible. I work like hell to implement a lifestyle of calm and zen into my day to day routine. Change isn’t easy, we all know that. Clearly, change isn’t easy– statistics show that 40-45% of people who make New Year’s resolutions or goals for the year, only 75% are able to keep them past the first week. That means that 25% of people who make New Year’s promises do not have enough willpower to be good to themselves past seven days. Yikes!
So, how do you keep the momentum going past January? How do you keep New Year’s resolutions and goals? That’s the million dollar question. Here are a few suggestions:
- Break your goals into a series of smaller goals. Studies show you will be 35% more likely to stick with any Bucket List item or resolution if you focus on small, easier to achieve goals, than one massive long term goal. Break ’em up, and celebrate the smaller victories.
- Tell somebody! Studies also show that if you tell someone your goals, you will feel more accountable to them. For example, if your goal is to quit smoking, shout it from the rooftops. Your friends and family will be there to support you. If possible, even find a buddy who has the same goal, and hold each other accountable for your common resolution.
- If you do it, it will become habit forming! Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. Your new healthful habits will become second-nature if you stick to it. That is a very motivating thought.
- People have slip-ups… that doesn’t mean the resolution cannot be attained. Similar to rehab, many people who finally stay sober after rehab, often had many slip-ups along the way before they finally quit. If eating right or going to the gym are something you care to implement into your life, but you find yourself falling back into old habits, this is NO REASON TO QUIT. Give yourself permission to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again tomorrow. There is no shame is experiencing setbacks and then starting over.
- Check your list. I do this one just about every week. I have my Bucket List and vision board, but then I have a short list of about 8 things I want to accomplish at any given time. I never keep that list too far away as a mental check. Keep 5 goals on a piece of paper near your bedside. Even use an app to help out. I just did a TV segment last week on using apps to keep resolutions…
- Pick a steady day… nightly, weekly, bi-monthly, whatever. Look over your 5 things… as an example, for me, it’s to find 1 more corporate sponsor, book 2 more speaking gigs, do not forget to meditate minimum of 4 times per week. I have more on that list, but these are examples to demonstrate. Every day (depending on nature of the goal) should be spent towards working toward your goals. So for me, that means, I should be trying to reach out weekly to bi-monthly to solidify corporate sponsors and other speaking gigs. Small steps, small things, but daily holding yourself accountable, and glancing frequently at that list to make sure you’ve got your eye on the prize.
We all deserve to live the best possible life. Why should you NOT aim for the stars?? Just a word of caution: getting the most out of your short time on this earth takes WORK. But I’ll tell ya, YOU’RE WORTH THE WORK.
And one more thought before I close– don’t play in your own shit. That will just lead to more shit. 😉
Tell us, have you already broken promises you made to yourself? Feel free to also share your tips with our community… how have you been able to keep your resolutions the past three weeks? We’ love to know.