In honor of the New Year that’s just a few days ahead, I enter the Internet today with another lesson learned in yoga land.
While I was sweating through a mid-morning class earlier this week, my teacher said something that’s been rolling around in my head like a marble ever since. She mentioned how, when we start setting goals for the new year, we have a tendency to focus on less. We resolve to eat less sugar, watch less television, spend less time on our phones…the list goes on. But why, my instructor proposed, should we be so focused on removing things from our life? Why not instead focus on adding more?
Pretty profound, right? Just think about this for a second: When our New Year’s goals have to do with eliminating, they take on a disciplinary connotation. Instead of taking steps towards to creating a better life for ourselves, we focus instead on righting our past “wrongs.” As a result, we approach the start of a new year- aka something that should be exciting and hopeful- with a sense of resignation and dread. I don’t know about you, but “resignation” and “dread” are not the two feelings I want associated with the beginning of 2016.
So how do we avoid this trap? It’s pretty simple, actually. Most of the time, the shift can be as simple as changing the language. For example, if one of your goals is to eat out less, rework it to read “I want to cook new recipes more.” See what we did there? Just a mindful change in word choice took a mundane, vaguely punitive resolution into an upbeat intention that is a lot easier to get excited about.
If you haven’t started thinking about New Year’s resolutions yet, try to keep this principle in the back of your mind: subtract less, add more. More laughter, more spontaneity, more time with family…whatever it is you want more of in your life, write it down. I took this approach when brainstorming my goals for 2016, and now I have not one, not five, but ten resolutions I cannot wait to get started on. At the top of the list?
You guessed it: more yoga. 🙂