Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Vision boards? Intentions? For many years, on January 1st, I wrote pages and pages in my journal about my accomplishments over the past year and my dreams for the upcoming year. It was a pretty good system. I was celebrating all the things I did rather than beat myself up about all the things I did not do. And I was creating my vision for the next year... how I wanted to live. It worked for me. I felt refreshed and ready to begin a new year with passion and purpose. During that time of my life, I was very goal oriented, and I felt great accomplishing these goals. I was happy and content.
Now, I have a bit of a different approach. I have shifted from being goal oriented to living with intention. I think they can go together. I was living with intention back then - my intention was to live a healthy, adventurous life and inspire my daughter to do the same. My goals were very much related to that. However, I was driven by my goals. Now, I'm driven by how I feel. I'm not so attached to outcomes - a lesson I received from my mindfulness practice.
My 2016 began with a 7 hour drive from Central Newfoundland back to my home, followed by a weekend of getting groceries, unpacking from visiting family, tidying around the house, getting my 4-year old back on a regular sleep schedule (not there yet), trying to fit in some work that I didn't get done during the holidays, spending the last couple of days of holidays doing holiday things with my family, and sorting out the next week of activities, work, and life in general. Monday, I had three yoga classes to teach and had unexpected things happen that caused some stress. I was watching others set intentions and begin their inspired new year routines, while I was working at barely keeping my head above water.
By Tuesday, I was down.
Tuesday, my energy had waned and my head pounded. Although I had also stopped my Christmas indulgences a couple of days earlier, I caved and ate chocolate and cheezies. Yes, even after posting a photo of my yummy detox green smoothie the day before! I really should have posted a photo of my chocolates the next day for true authenticity:)
Before Christmas, I had planned out my January. It was full and I was excited about it... still am. I wanted to begin the new year being that stereotypical healthy yogi and energetic but calm mom. I set my intention: "I am free." But something wasn't feeling right. I was not aligned. One of my challenges in my new life is to not be so goal oriented. In the past, it worked. I was your typical Type A, I am woman, hear me roar, kind of gal. It was not a bad thing back then - actually, I was quite successful. But now it doesn't work. My old habits seep in, though. I have this underlying belief that if I don't DO DO DO... I'm a failure. It's plastered all over social media too. All these posts about determination, discipline, persistence, hard work, success. Yada... yada... yada. I believe that really depends on your definition of success.
Some days it is easy to pull up my big girl pants and move through the so-called failures and challenges head first - be persistent and disciplined and keep moving. However, some days, I need to slow down. I need to rest. I need to reassess. I need to surrender. I need to be OK with the fact that moving forward like a bull is NOT the answer. It may only makes things worse because what's actually happening is I'm spiralling. Sometimes DOING needs to change to BEING... even in business... and even if that is perceived as behaviour of non-successful people. When I know when I need to take action and when I need to simply allow things to flow, I am free.
2016 has begun as a bit of a bumpy ride. It has not been horrible by any stretch. But it did not go as planned. My energy is low. My neck is sore. My to do list is not done. In the past, I would have ignored how I felt and pushed through anyway. It may have even worked back then. But now, that approach simply does not work... and I know it does not work. So I observed my attachment to the goals I had planned for the week and began to detach. I began to flow over the bumps, rather than resist them. I wasn't perfect. But that was the perfect way for me to begin 2016.
Just because we begin a new year.... just because we set intentions or create goals... just because we have decided to make some changes... doesn't mean we won't fall back into old habits. A new year is also a continuation of last year... and all the previous years. We bring all of our experiences with us into the new year. It takes consistency to create change. It takes an ability to flow through the challenges and continue to revisit your intentions and make conscious decisions to choose differently. The repetition is what makes your intentions work.
In yoga, we learn about the three gunas: tamas, rajas, sattva. Tamas is a state of inaction and darkness. Rajas is a state of action and change. And Sattva is a state of harmony and liberation. We need all three and oscillate between all of them. That's how we grow. The first week of the new year for me was planned as being very much full of rajas. It ended up being full of tamas. And, in the end, I believe I may have found a little sattva.