How to keep your resolutions this new year

Tapas is the third Nyama of Patanjali Eight limbs of yoga. It is translated from Sanskrit as “heat” or “discipline”. This can be interpreted as having self-discipline to practice physically through asanas or mentally through meditation for example. With discipline and consistency, one can distance themselves from the ego(?) and gain control over mind and body.

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If you wish to make a long lasting change and keep your New Year resolutions in 2019, you need to set up specific goals, also known as SMART goals.
For each goal take the time to reflect and ask yourself the following 5 questions:

  1. Why do I want to achieve this goal?
  2. What result am I expecting?
  3. How will I measure success?
  4. What tools or support do I need?
  5. What is my time frame to achieve this goal?

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Let’s assume that you want to stop smoking for example; you will want to question the reason why you picked this goal. Are you doing this for yourself? Based on what ideas, belief or experience are you making this decision? It may be that you cannot walk your dog without feeling short of breath, or maybe you are catching a cold several time in the winter. (Link to home remedy for common cold) You may be doing this for someone else like your kids, who you do not want to be affected by passive smoking. Whatever the reason is, try to get to the root of it, it will help stay committed when you will face challenging times.

Determine what results you expect from making this resolution? Is it that you want to be able to walk in the park or climb some stairs without having to catch your breath? Or do you wish to recover the senses of smell and taste? By laying the reasons down you are acknowledging your desires and taking responsibility for making a change.

The next step is to define how you will measure success. Depending on your reflections on the first point, you will you will have different ways to observe your progress. You could for example see significant savings, or use this new “free time” to finish off some small projects. These measurable will motivate you to stay committed.

Let’s be honest, changing certain habits is not easy, especially if they are old ones, anchored in your routine. So you may need tools or resources to guide you in your experience. Getting back to the quit smoking goals, you could use tools such as a nicotine patch, a recommended acupuncturist or a group/family support.

You should determine a realistic time frame, based on your circumstances. Similarly to the approach of a yoga practice, do not compare yourself with the colleague or neighbour. We are all very different and unique individuals; so what may work for someone will not work for someone else. Specify what you want to achieve within a predetermined time frame. For instance in two months you may want to be able to climb up the stairs to the office without feeling out of breath, in three months you may start walking every day.

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Discipline is key to transform these New Year resolutions into a lifestyle change. Having a visual plan will help you keep track with you progress. You could simply download one of the free weekly planners’ templates available on internet or get a magnetic one to stick on your fridge.

Taking the time to reflect on your reasons for change, is already a great step.

I wish you all the best with setting your goals for 2019 and a wonderful New Year.

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