It’s the time of year again to reflect on the past year, identify some things you’d like to change in the coming year and commit to doing them. Unfortunately that reflection is usually a cursory look in the mirror with horror at the state of your body. The decision is made through a haze of sugar, alcohol or caffeine withdrawal. Or maybe it’s a reflexive decision based on the pain of your most recent embarrassing moment. None of these lay the foundation for successful change.
Yes, an embarrassing event can make you WANT to change. In the moment, it’s as clear as day that I need to stop eating sugar or drinking wine. But as sure as January 1 rolls around, that desire to do what I committed to not do again will bubble up. I may not cave the first time, but I will eventually give in. You know it. I know it.
I was actually never a fan of New Year’s Resolutions except when I had no idea how to control cravings and say no to myself. Back then it seemed like a noble promise to myself to do better but I had no clue how to accomplish that. That commitment would pile up on the trash heap of broken promises and unrealistic expectations I had set on myself. I finally just quit doing it. In the meantime, I started learning how to take care of myself, and January 1 just became another day of the year.
For the last 3 years I’ve committed to a 30-Day Yoga Challenge with one of my favorite yoga teachers, Adrienne. It’s a small commitment of 15-30 minutes per day of showing up on my mat and looking inside. Some days the practice is cozy and relaxing. Other days kick my butt with power moves. But every practice is over in about the same amount of time it takes to cook steel cut oatmeal. And I’ve never regretted doing it. Not one day. Not ever.
Yoga cuts through the haze of addictive behavior. It walks me compassionately through the regrets of broken promises to myself. It cuddles me when I’m tired. It helps me accept my weaknesses with less judgment. The 30-days helps me find my footing so I can decide what – if anything – I want to change. I notice if I’m down regularly. It’s apparent when I’m not sleeping. If I’ve gained weight, I can tell. I can also see my progression of getting stronger. I can move through difficult emotions. In being gentle and loving with myself, I learn how to be present and deal with life as it is. It is grounding for me.
This year’s challenge is called Home. It’s free. You don’t have to go anywhere. You don’t even have to put on a bra. The only thing it takes is a commitment to show up for yourself. I promise it will give you time to learn what – if anything – you want to change.
When I am practicing yoga regularly, I eat better and I am calmer. I can sit with my anxiety or depression and know that it’s not going to kill me. I notice when sugar from the day before impacted my sleep, and I notice how coffee actually makes me feel. And when I really notice what is happening, I do better.
Won’t you join me? You can sign up here! And there’s a free group where you can chat with participants all over the world.