Studies suggest that 20% of New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week of January! And the other 80% break down over the year… Are we setting our expectations too high? Are we trying to break all our bad habits at once, thereby setting ourselves up for failure? While the pendulum swings wildly from extreme excess of the holidays through to self-imposed monk-like austerity on January 1, consider catching it somewhere in the middle and hanging out, somewhere you can be nicely challenged, maybe even a tad uncomfortable, but not the house of pain and punishment we are all capable of inflicting on ourselves. We need new lifestyles, not new rules.
If we were to seize each day as though it’s New Year’s Day, live each moment as though it’s a brand new opportunity to become a better version of ourselves, everything else would take care of itself. The only effort required would be in breathing consciously in the moment, becoming more present with ourselves and others, bringing more awareness to every action we take, every thought we think and every word we speak.
Rather than offer suggestions for resolutions, I’d like to share with you three simple things I’m working on for a better life, whether it be January or July…
1. Rise above the little things ~ because they are so very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Look at those little annoyances as opportunities to learn something new about yourself or someone else. Challenge yourself to shift perspectives when something or someone threatens to throw your good mood. Think of those much less fortunate than yourself and send them a silent blessing. All of a sudden, your cold coffee or that kid on the airplane kicking your seat aren’t miseries you can’t endure.
2. Live up to your mythology ~ we’re all spending a lot of time building our own legends online, tweeting into the cosmos, updating our facebook profiles several times a day, creating websites and blogging regularly. Most of us have a version of ourselves we put “out there” and a version of ourselves we live with. If we were to take a close look at what’s on the cutting room floor, we’d probably find the human stuff – the stuff that makes us uniquely beautiful. No one does you better than you. What would happen if you dedicated your life to the expression of your highest purpose, even if it meant firing your inner critic and stepping into that mythology for real?
3. Open wider ~ as any seasoned yogi will tell you, no matter how many years you have taken to the mat, there is always more strength, more stretch, more depth, more refinement, more grace, more joy, more bliss, more surprise, more understanding, more acceptance, more compassion, more love, more insight to be gained. The practice applies off the mat as well. The one magic ingredient, I’ve found, is surrender. Stop trying so hard. Let go. Breathe. Be. Open.
Happy endings, beginnings and in-betweens! Now is the time.