Yes, it’s that time of year again. The 1st of January. The start of a new year; a clean slate; the new year stretching out ahead of us full of promise and we may feel excited and full of good intentions.
Do you make new year’s resolutions? … And then do you soon find yourself breaking them? Then your enthusiasm wanes, busy life takes over and your good intentions fade away?
Why do we break our resolutions?
I think there are two underlying reasons why New Year’s resolutions get broken so easily.
Let’s look at popular resolutions.
E.g. give up smoking, get fit, lose weight, join a gym, stop drinking or to drink less, spend more time with family / friends, achieve a better work/life balance…
What have they all got in common?
They’re either not based in the here and now or they’re negative.
They’re about stopping a behaviour e.g. giving up smoking or drinking less, which is starting from a negative i.e. something you’re no longer going to do.
Or they’re something that’s going to happen in the future e.g. you’re going to lose weight, you’re going to spend more time with friends.
And that’s the problem.
You see them as something that’s going to happen if you do x,y, or z. They’re an aspiration. They’re something you’re going to achieve if you can give something up or make an effort.
From the get-go, they’re something which you’re identifying as not being part of your present reality.
Focus on the here and now
So try changing the focus and see how that feels. Change the focus, from something that’s got to stop or will happen in the future, to the present tense.
Don’t make new year’s resolutions – make new year’s affirmations.
- Instead of resolving to give up smoking, affirm “I am free from my dependency on cigarettes”
- Instead of saying you’re going to drink less, affirm “I value my health and eat and drink only what is good for my body and well-being”
- Instead of resolving to get fit, affirm “I am motivated and full of energy and take regular exercise to look after my body”
A good affirmation will make you want to say “yes!” – it should resonate with you deeply.
Yes, all these affirmations still require to take actual steps and change your behaviour, but bring them into the present tense makes them feel so much more real and attainable doesn’t it?
Write them down and put them somewhere you’ll see them every day. Get into the habit of taking a few minutes every day to read them.
As you read them out, visualise yourself in the state you’re describing. How do you feel? What effect does this have on your body, mind and emotions?
Start to feel and connect to your new reality. Make it real.
So what are my new year’s affirmations?
I’ve taken my resolutions and turned them into positive affirmations:
- Watch less television becomes “I only watch television programmes which delight, inform or amuse me”
- Stop rushing around and worrying about how little time I have to do everything I need becomes “I have all the time I need. I know my true priorities and make the time to achieve them”
- Stop worrying about what people think of me becomes “I am perfectly content with who I am”
- Stop worrying about the future becomes: “My life is unfolding perfectly.”
Make yours a a happy new 2013
Identify the changes you’d like to make then turn them into positive statements in the present tense.
Say “yes” to change you’d like to see in your life.
Say a loud, emphatic “YES”, to that inner voice which questions “can you really do that?”
Say “yes” to the new year and the wonderful opportunities it will bring.
Happy New Year!
May 2013 bring you all you truly need to live a prosperous, authentic and happy life. May you connect to the inner strength, resolve and love which enables you to become or maintain the best version of you and to share your unique gifts with the world.
Stella Tomlinson teaches Dru yoga in Southampton, UK. Dru yoga is a flowing and therapeutic style of yoga, characterised by graceful movements, directed breathing, relaxation techniques and working with affirmations and visualisations. Connect with Stella via Facebook and Twitter.