Resolutions Humans have been making – and breaking – New Year’s Resolutions for thousands of years. Improvements in health are perennial favorites: losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, and taking time for relaxation, are likely to top many people’s lists.
Unfortunately, research and surveys show that a small minority of resolutions last even one month. According to Deborah Metzger, Director of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, the problem is not in the resolutions themselves, but in our mindsets as we make them.
Metzger explained that – from a yogic lens, most people make three serious errors as they set their resolutions. First, they judge themselves harshly. This leads to the second error, choosing unattainable goals. They magnify the gap between where they are and where they want to be. That causes the third error, thinking that the only way they can climb such a tall mountain is by beating themselves up until they reach the top.
So inspired by this understanding regarding the challenges associated with resolutions, fail we came up with a list of 31 items to inspire you a or to simply explore a new perspectives. Call it a trail of resolutions. Make some choices and see what happens!
Follow us on Facebook for your daily ‘Resolution Inspiration’ all they way to the end of January! Or read them all here.
- Start Somewhere
The New Year stands before us like a fresh chapter in a book. What will you write for the next chapter of your life? It’s entirely up to you.
Thought about starting a list of resolutions? Why not? Not all at once, but one at a time. Follow us for the next 31 days as we give you some inspiration on how you can fill the 2018 chapter with new, old, simple, complicated, easy, hard resolutions to make 2018 a special one.
So let’s start somewhere. Right here. Right now. Nowhere else just here. So for today set the intention to start somewhere. Just the set the intention!
- Say Your Oms.
Say OOOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMMMMM and feel the vibrations. Close your eyes and say it again. OOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMM. Guess what you just did a quick meditation.
Taking up meditation will help you to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and even improve your ability to concentrate.
Need a place to start or want to learn more? Check out our Mindfulness-Based Programs at Princeton Center for Yoga and Health:
- Learn something new
What have you always wanted to learn to do? Do you want to learn to play an instrument, code, knit, whittle? The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of all of the information that exists out there on how to learn new skills. Get inspired to try something new.
Applied to yoga this can be as simple as choosing a yoga pose or better yet, choose that practice and resolve to approach it with ‘beginners’ mind’. Talk to your yoga teacher and ask her/him to give you tips and options to move toward your goal.
- Take one deep breath
A breathing exercise for calming both the nervous system and the overworked mind is a timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale – so that your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale.
Start with 2 counts in, and 4 counts out, with a one count pause at the top of the inhale and a one count pause at the bottom of the exhale.
Try it! Right now, before a speech, entering a meeting, at a traffic light or as a calming exercise after work, see what happens. Just one deliberate breath!
Laughter is great medicine. It helps you reduce stress, lower blood pressure, even boost your antibodies. It can be a workout. Can’t make it to the gym? Try watching/reading something funny and just laugh. And finally who can resist a good laugh and who doesn’t like to see someone laughing?
- Play a game
Play is an important source of relaxation and stimulation for kids AND adults. In addition, it can make you more creative and productive. Bring more play into your life and discover your playful and maybe your competitive side! So bring out a board game and find a friend to play with.
- Pick Up a Hobby.
Did you know that having a hobby is good for you? Hobbies can lower your stress levels, boost your brain power, improve your ability to focus, and more.
How about Yoga? Need a place to start! Check out our schedule – or not sure where to start, contact us!
- Make a healthy choice
Pick the apple instead of the chips. . Park the car further away and walk. Take the bike or stairs. Try it once a day. One conscious healthy choice a day, worth a try, right?.
- Move More
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do: join a sports team; get a pedometer and take at least 10,000 steps a day; get up every 20 minutes and stretch; or join a dance class, start a yoga practice. Just move!
Think of the following quote from the movie “Madagascar“: “Move it nice and sweet and sassy, alright!”
One of the benefits of reading is that it’s one of the activities that produces the state of flow. When you’re fully engrossed in a book, all of your attention is placed on its pages. This means that there’s no attention left over to listen to the little voice in your head, which is absolutely blissful.
Psychologists believe this is because the distraction of being taken into a book’s world eases the tension in muscles and the heart. Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the research, said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”
Reading is a lot more than just a pleasant pastime. Reading sharpens comprehension, teaches your mind to focus, and improves your vocabulary. It also boosts your brain power: just like jogging gives your body a workout, reading gives your brain workout.
Furthermore, studies show that reading can reduce stress by 69%. Since reading also helps you sleep better, a good time to practice this hobby is right before bedtime.
Check out your local library. Many now have online books so there is always a great book just a couple clicks away.
- Be Grateful.
Did you know that studies have shown that gratitude can make you 25% happier? Being grateful will also help you to overcome adversity, improve the quality of your sleep, and allow you to get along better with others. For next year, resolve to be more grateful. Try once a day to pick something for which you are grateful. Write it down, take a picture… so by the end of the year you can revisit and you might realize that often the smallest things/actions have the greatest impact.
- Do it now.
What is it? This only something you will know. But here is a clue: it is what you keep putting off till tomorrow, or next week, or next year…. Just do it now.
- Call someone and just say hi!
With all the many ways we can connect with someone, we often don’t just call and say hi. So why not do it today. Pick someone whose voice you would like to hear and just say hi and that you are thinking of them.
- Spend More Time In Nature.
Humans were not made to be cooped up inside all day. Spending time in nature makes you happier, it boosts your immune system, and it even makes you more creative. Instead of eating your lunch at the desk choose to go outside and sit on a bench. Take a walk and listen. 15 minutes stroll through a forest can be your meditation. Skip the tread mill and go for a run in your local park.
- Don’t rush
There are days you might feel that you are always behind and are playing catch up. Let this not be one of them. Try deliberately to not over schedule yourself. Leave 5 minutes before you intended to go. Not rushing, means you are less stressed and maybe even have time for more than just a “hi”.
- Enjoy the Little Things.
Living life to the fullest doesn’t just mean setting big goals like going bungee jumping or learning to scuba dive. It also includes learning to enjoy the little things. That is, learning to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, such as the following:
- Going outside at night to look at the stars.
- Going to a pet shop to “ooh” and “aah” at the puppies and kittens.
- Walking barefoot in the grass.
- Bring More Peace Into Your Life.
Who couldn’t use some more peace in their life? Mainly inner peace and serenity is what we all need and desire. Aim to bring more peace into your life by accepting what is, practicing non-judgement, and teaching your mind to become still. Set this intention for today.
Sounds too ambitious? Need some more guidance on how? Check out Princeton Yoga’s Mindfulness-Based Programs:
- Be Kinder to Yourself.
You may not be able to control how kind other people are to you, but you can always control how kind you are to yourself. Give yourself some credit. Believe in yourself. And treat yourself with respect and be kind to yourself. All too often we are ours own worst critics. Time to appreciate yourself!
- Be positive.
Having a positive attitude opens your mind to new possibilities, it makes you more resilient, and it can even help you to live longer. Take a moment to consciously greet this day with smile and resolve to stay positive, no matter what happens.
- Tell joke
Remember a few good jokes. Everyone loves to laugh. Having a few good jokes up your sleeve can help break the ice when you meet new people.
Need some inspiration? Look up online or here some of our favorite yoga jokes (yes yogis can tell jokes too):
Q: Why didn’t the yogi buy the vacuum cleaner?
A: It came with too many attachments!
Q: What do Yoga meditation and an apple peeler have in common?
A: They both take you to the core.
Q: What do Yoga meditation and a fudge cake have in common?
A: They each bring you a piece or peace of heaven.
In yoga, it’s just one thing after another — breath, breath, breath
- Tame Your Monkey Mind
Life isn’t easy when there’s a monkey in your head. Especially if that monkey won’t stop screeching and jumping uncontrollably from one branch to another. Taming your monkey mind is to know that it is possible to do so. Your thoughts don’t rule you. You don’t have to believe them or react to them. Acknowledge the thoughts, but don’t let them become loud or wander into ‘bad neighborhoods’.
Yoga and Mindfulness are great practices to learn to tame you monkey mind.
- Keep a Journal
Journaling is a powerful life tool. It can help you to organize your thoughts, plan how to achieve your goals, and get in touch with your true feelings and wants – or simply see and affirm the progress you’ve made. While handwriting your journal can also serve as a meditation practice, with today’s technology a journal can take on different forms. For example take a picture every day that represents that day, in form of an activity, a dream, goal, or feeling.
- Put yourself in a timeout
Today, set aside 30 minutes of nothing. Turn off the phone, the TV, the computer. Lock your door, and go to a quiet place and just be. Don’t try to meditate, but just sit and see what kind of thoughts come to your mind, don’t judge, just sit, be in a timeout. You might be surprised where your thoughts wander, what ideas come to your mind.
- Go on a journey.
Plan a vacation, trip, retreat. Plan to see something close by that you haven’t seen before (example: that park that you pass every day on your commute). Visit a country/place you’ve always wanted to see. Plan a time away to learn a new skill, be adventurous or just relax.
Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, increase your self-esteem, and make you happier. Once or regularly, contact a local organization and see how you can help.
- Grow Something.
Gardening is a surprisingly beneficial hobby. There’s the obvious benefit of growing your own fruits and vegetables, as well as pretty flowers, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It also does all of the following for you:
- It reduces your levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
- Nurturing a plant from seed to fruit-bearing reinforces your ability to cause positive change in the world.
- Studies show that gardening reduces incidence of dementia by 36%.
- Gardening allows you to be outside and you can reconnect with nature.
Reacquaint Yourself With Your Kitchen. Studies show that those who cook their meals at home are healthier and live longer than those who regularly eat out. When you pick out your own food at the grocery store, you tend to buy less processed foods, less sugary foods, and less fat. Instead, you make healthier food choices (and can help you save money as well).
- Treasure a memory
Flip through your pictures and pick one that you truly treasure. Share it with your friends and tell them why that moment was special to you. Honoring our past, (no comma) lets us live in the today and makes us hopeful and excited for the future.
- Meet someone new.
When we get stuck in a rut, we usually end up staying at home most of the time, missing out on a lot of interesting opportunities for networking and having fun. Meeting new people can be beneficial to your mental well-being and help your career, so don’t be afraid to get out there and make some friends. Overcome your shyness, get some knowledge and go and get to know new and interesting people.
- Be kind
Being kind will make you feel happier, doesn’t cost a cent and it is contagious. In making others feel good, you inspire them to want to do something kind for you or for someone else. When you commit a kind act, those around you will take note and your kindness can have a ripple effect. Start that ripple now by being kind to those around you.
- Look back and smile
The month comes to end. And now our resolutions have either failed or are well on their way. Knowing that no matter how big or small that resolution is/was trying to change isn’t easy, but always worth a try. !
And, remember, you are always in a position to make a course correction – so perhaps modify some of those resolutions into more bite-size pieces or ones you know would be more do-able!
Visit our blog if you are looking for simple ideas to make a change in your life, in a non-judgmental and laid back way.
But for now: Look back, smile and march into 2018! May we all be happy, healthy, kind and come together to make this world more peaceful!