On December 31st the world welcomes the New Year through traditions, rituals and celebrations in honor of the new calendar cycle and new beginnings.
There is a collective state of receptivity and encouragement which leads to the desire for transformation. Resolutions are often made with the best of intentions to create change, yet lack of integrity and creative ways to implement sustainable change, prevents us from actually maintaining the resolution. Even the word 'resolution' can lead us to feel as though we need to 'resolve' or fix a problem within our lives. It's easy to then place our emphasize on what is not working well and how to achieve the desired result to fix the problem. And when we don't achieve the desired result we feel a sense of failure and often spiral back into the negative and unhealthy patterns all over again. It's a vicious cycle for many which often creates added stress and unrealistic ideas for how to create authentic change in our lives.
But what if you switched your thinking and told yourself that you are already perfect, even with your imperfections? What if you realised that you don't need to attain your 'ideal' weight, marry your dream partner or make a certain amount of money to find health, happiness and contentment?
When we make a cognitive shift in our thinking, our entire being is affected. A process of discernment directs awareness and sensations throughout our physical, mental, emotional and energetic bodies. Simply put, when we tell ourselves we are beautiful and enough, we send those messages throughout to our billions of cells and suddenly we radiate the feelings of self-love and beauty.
Intention setting begins to look at ways to create change, which is the desire from setting a resolution in the first place -- yet it is far more supportive and integrated through a cognitive shift...
Sankalpa (intention setting) is one of the many practices of yoga and is a process which encourages the cultivation of heart-based intentions based on our unique desires.
Intentions help us uncover the root and understand why it is we are looking for change within an aspect of our life. This simple process of self-reflection helps shift us from a goal oriented mindset of 'achieving' the end result, to feeling empowered with a greater understanding of why are looking to cultivate something in our lives. We move into an space of loving-awareness. Just like children, when we are in a nurturing, supportive atmosphere, we have a better chance of thriving.
Instead of placing unrealistic expectations on yourself, think outside of your standard definitions previously placed on words, actions or health. Change the language to aid your cognitive shift. For example remove negativity and linear thinking such as ''I want to lose 10 lbs. by February 1st in time for a beach getaway'' and instead use words which are positive, inspiring and as if you cultivate your intention daily, such as, 'I nourish myself daily through home cooked meals to feel strong, energized and sexy'. By shifting the language your mindset will feel more abundant and creative with the ways to incorporate more fresh and unprocessed foods, which will ultimately bring you a stronger, leaner body. Journal all the ways in which you can support this intention, every day through simple actions. For example, learning to food prep, researching recipes/healthy blogs, speaking to those around you who embody health and ask them for their tips and inviting friends over once a week for inspiring healthy meals. All of these actions are simple, accessible and most important FUN ways to incorporate a more healthy lifestyle with a supportive community, everyday!
Yoga emphasizes that each individual is unique in it's body-mind-spirit complex and therefore each persons definition of health will differ depending on what brings the most balance to them. Define your intention with accessible steps for you, so you can adopt these lifestyle changes and live them not only in this New Year, but in many more to come.
LAUREN LEE is passionate about holistic health, exploring the world and empowering others to live vibrant and happy lives. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated yogini and sun seeker, she lives for creating connection and enjoying simple pleasures. Read more about her here