As the calendar finally flips over to show February, we can put the pressure of those new year’s resolutions behind us! I always find January a long and tough month, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The days are so dark, everyone is desperately trying to stick to a plan to dramatically change their lives and there seems to be too much month left when we reach the end of the money!
For me, resolutions at the start of January will never work. I believe that we are still too full – of food, of drink, of partying, of living excessively. It’s like trying to go swimming straight after food – you just aren’t ready for it, it’s too much too soon. I also believe that making a resolution often has a negative association, one of giving up something (that we probably quite like doing!), so it doesn’t feel like you are doing something good for yourself. Denial never feels good, and our brains will actively fight it – the idea of giving something up we like doesn’t sound logical to the brain!
I prefer to wait until February for my goal setting. The nights are suddenly noticeably drawing out, the spring bulbs are usually appearing, we know that spring is just around the corner, and I have a much more optimistic feeling. I am much more ready to make change in February than January, it feels like a positive personal decision, rather than something forced upon us by convention.
The language we use when we talk to ourselves is extremely important – if we talk about ‘losing’ weight, did you know that the brain is programmed to find anything it considers ‘lost’? Keys, phone, purse, weight… you could talk instead of ‘shedding’ fat. Try it – see if the unwanted fat stays ‘unfound’ more easily this way!
I prefer therefore to talk about setting an intention (we call this Sankalpa in Sanskrit). Sankalpas are phrased in positive language, and start with ‘I will…’ or can be set in the present ‘I am…’. So instead of making a resolution to give up smoking, drinking, eating cake, and to lose weight, we could set an intention: “I will treat my body with respect, nourish it and love it”. The healthier life style we are seeking should follow automatically if we work with this Sankalpa. Whatever you choose, the same Sankalpa should be used for at least 3 to 6 months, and repeated daily 3 times over, using the same words used when it was first set. This is powerful stuff, so be sure that you want whatever intention you set!
Enjoy your February, and remember that you have everything inside you that you need! Whatever you do, move from the strength of your inner core, harness your internal warrior, and let go of anything which no longer serves you well.
Om Shanti, and see you on the mat!