I’m fresh off a trip to Florida to visit some family and ready to tackle 2020. This time of year when we launch into Capricorn season we tend to have a lot of energy and ambitious, no-nonsense goals.
That’s why so many people head into the year with super aggressive New Year’s resolutions. I watch year after year in my yoga classes how January will have classes packed to the gills only to slowly diminish towards the end of the month, and balance back out to the usual in February.
So why is it so hard for us to set manageable goals?
I’ve been reading a lot about this over the past few weeks with trying to manage my own resolutions and set goals that make sense to me. I think a big part of it is that we have a limited amount of motivation and it’s easy to burn out when you use so much motivation all at once.
Another reason is that a lot of people don’t know the “why” of their goal.
So let’s look at the typical New Year’s resolution, I want to make healthier and more conscious meal choices.
While this is a great goal, what is the actual motivation for doing it? Are you just trying to lose weight? Does it sound good to you? Is it something you’re hoping you will get around to eventually?
When we focus on things that sound good to us, that we haven’t been able to find the motivation for yet, it’s important to ask yourself why it hasn’t been a priority until now.
A few years back I wanted to try to get into running. I absolutely did not enjoy it, but it sounded good to me. I wanted to learn and I thought that was enough and for a few weeks it was. But, after about a month I was running out of steam.
I really took some time to ask myself why I was doing this and why it was important to me. Then, I reflected back on a study I read about how just 30 minutes of cardio exercise three times per week was enough to significantly reduce cancer-risk.
That was it for me. I set a small goal and my running grew from there. After about three months, it was normal for me to run three hour long runs a week. I maintained that for several years and I really learned to enjoy it. It was a commitment I made for myself and my health.
I’m not telling you all this to toot my own horn, it’s really about finding your own motivation.
We tend to set some ambitious spiritual expectations for ourselves as well. My advice is to start small and figure out your why.
Spiritual practice doesn’t have to look like meditation every single day. Maybe that’s not feasible with your schedule. Maybe you say you won’t go more than 3 days without making at least five minutes of meditation. Maybe you vary your types of meditation so you stay motivated and find your favorite type.
You can also find ways to include this in your everyday schedule.
I wanted to bring a journaling practice into my life but I could never find the motivation to be consistent. About three months ago I committed to just five minutes every morning and five minutes every night. That’s ten minutes a day and because it is such a short amount of time, and it’s built into my schedule as soon as a wake up and right before I go to sleep, it’s easy for me to stay with this habit I’ve built.
Give yourself some time this week to really focus on your “why” for your resolutions or goals. Really break down why each one is important to you so that when your motivation wavers, you can come back to your practice with renewed vigor and excitement.
This doesn’t mean you need to sit down for an hour and do breathing exercises or deep meditation. Just give yourself the gift of twenty minutes of quiet and ask yourself a couple of questions. Maybe even write it down so you remember.
I hope 2020 brings you and yours a lot of joy and good fortune. I have a lot of exciting offerings coming up over the next three months so make sure you are paying attention to my weekly emails (you can get on my email list here) and keep an eye on social media.