I’m always excited about the coming of a new year as it’s an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, begin again, start afresh! Of course, now that I’ve come to the moment of declaration, a moment that will define an entire year it would seem, I’m not so sure.
The notion of wiping the slate may suggest that there was indeed something to be wiped and perhaps forgotten. I can understand wanting to forget a challenging or downright horrible year, but in the vain of believing that we learn from our past, what happens to those lessons learnt? There’s a lot of buzz around social media with the notion “a new year, a new you” and “what’s on your new years resolution list for 2016?” There’s equally as much buzz around the question “how long did it take you to give up your new years resolutions last year?” In fact, my mother purchased a 2016 calendar that actually has Jan 17 marked as Ditch New Years Resolutions Day – hmm, that’s encouraging.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, roughly 50% of Australians will make a New Year’s Resolution with about 88% of them failing to meet their goal.
I don’t tell you this to sway your resolve, in fact I hope to strengthen it. I love setting myself a good challenge and this year will be no different. However, I’m not a subscriber to the notion “a new year, a new you” and not particularly a fan of the idea of wiping the slate, so to speak. I recently attended a beautiful class at Little Mandarin Yoga in Melbourne, where in the opening meditation the teacher asked us let go of the idea that we need to change with a new year. Instead, focus on the idea that “we are enough” and instead create for ourselves a sankalpa or resolve, as a guide for the year.
The yoga tradition offers a profound formula for realizing your heartfelt desires—without asking you to change who you are. It’s the practice of sankalpa (resolve).
This simple task of changing our usual new years resolution phrase of “I will” to “I am”, thus creating a positive starting point with the mind frame that you are enough.
My formula won’t be for everyone and is certainly a work in progress for me. Firstly, take the time to really reflect on the past year, don’t immediately dismiss it – acknowledge the challenges, lessons learnt, grievances and special memories. I had an incredibly exciting, but stressful and challenging 2015. I had a baby. I officially quit a career path I’ve been on for 13 years. I started a new job. I started a business partnership. I forged new friendships. I learnt some hard truths about people. I learnt that the self-esteem issues I thought were reserved for my high school days are very much a part of the present. I took on too much and realised my limitations too late.
Whilst reflecting on my year past, I’ve discovered that there’s nothing I particularly want to take away or add – there’s plenty there as it is! However, my health is something I’ve always put on the back burner for every other aspect of my life. So, in making my health a priority, I’m not going to write a list of absolutes, but rather set myself an intention so that my health isn’t left behind. Using the notion of a sankalpa gives me a purpose without limitations, that will hopefully drive my decisions. My sankalpa – “I am balanced”.
If you really are a list person and a series of goals is your thing, stick with it. However, change the way you phrase your list so that you end up with a positive mindset. Instead of quitting sugar – eat more greens. Whatever your formula, be kind to yourself, because you are enough.
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