Right about now, you're probably sick of talk about New Year's Resolutions and the like. You might even be tired of hearing about ways to lose weight, gain money, and/or annihilate bad habits. I, too, get a bit overloaded (and tired of) all of the New Year's messages that we're bombarded with. The truth is, we can make a new start at any time, in any moment. We don't need a new year or a date on the calendar.
That said, why is this time of year so darned popular with making changes in one's life? I suspect it has something to do with the proximity of the holidays. Slowing down, taking time off -- these are the stuff of introspection and personal realizations. While I was away and offline (oh, how I enjoyed being disconnected from technology for a few weeks), I made some decisions about how I spend my days and what I give my time to. Rather than make resolutions, I am choosing to focus on making new choices. For me it's not about being thinner or richer (not that either of those things are bad, mind you) this year. Instead, it's about being more aligned with me.
Of course while I was away from my daily life, it was easier for me to choose differently. I had more time on my hands (the tyranny of email sure is amazing -- and not in a good way); I had more mental space; I was out of my routine and my usual surroundings. Now that I'm back and plugged in again, it's a little more challenging not only to continue to make the right choices but to even grasp that choices exist. Habit and unconsciousness are provocative, that's for sure.
I'm happy to say that I'm still choosing right for me. In order to do that, I've had to let some things go (realizing that not everyone who pitches me regarding blog content doesn't need a response). Rather than thing of it as taking something away (in this instance, taking away time spent pouring through my inbox), I'm choosing to see it as adding something (more time to do what truly ignites me. Sorry email, but you just don't light me up.). Ironically, the more I add, the more simple life gets.
So far, I've simplified my eating (fewer choices for meals), my technology time (I've set time limits for how much time I spend at the computer), my work (I'm focusing only on the projects that delight and excite), my morning ritual (I've got my spiritual practice down to under 30 minutes), and my workouts (I've stopped trying to fit everything in to one day and worked out a schedule that includes all of the forms of physical fitness that I love -- yoga, Nia, rebounding, hiking, and dancing). So far, so good. Sure, tweaking is going to be necessary as time goes on, but I'm liking the changes thus far.
The biggest change for me so far is my meditation practice. I've upped the amount of time that I meditate each day. No more "I don't have time to sit" excuses. I sat all through my holiday time away and the simple act of sitting with myself each day gave me peace, clarity, and focus. No more irregular meditation for me, thank you very much.
So, what are you adding to your life to be who you want to be in 2011?
If you're looking to make some changes, here are a few things that can help:
- Want to develop a more regular yoga practice? Try adding 10 minutes of yoga to your day. Think you can't benefit from a mere 10 minutes of yoga a day? Try it and see for yourself. I highly recommend Mark Whitwell's 7 Minute Yoga Routine, which you can find on his iPromise app (yep, there IS an app for everything).
- If you want to deepen your asana practice by learning more about your body, check out Leslie Kaminoff's 9-month yoga anatomy course. The course, which starts in a few days, is offered online (so no travel expenses) in three trimesters (Breathing, The Spine, and The Articular Body). It is a bit of an investment but one that's worth while. Click here to learn more.
- If you want to be healthier, try adding more vegetables or green smoothies to your diet. The book, Green for Life, is what jumpstarted my interest in green drinks.
- If you want to burn fat more efficiently (and still have plenty of time to fit a yoga practice into your day), try adding 20 minutes of high intensity interval training into your routine 3 days/week.
- Want more peace, focus, and a sense of well-being and less reactivity? Try adding 10-15 minutes of meditation (start with 10 minutes and then work your way up to 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening). Don't get caught up in posture or a technique. Simply sit with yourself and notice what comes up. Meditation doesn't have to be a complex undertaking.
- Looking for ways to rewire your brain? The book, Buddha's Brain, offers up some excellent exercises to help you change your brain's natural tendencies and maintain a sense of peace in our chaotic world. The book is an easy read (you don't have to be a neuroscience major to read it) and is filled with helpful exercises to start you down the Buddha path in minutes a day.
- If you want to clear your head, add this wonderful 10-minute brain balancing Kundalini set to your day. It's easy to do and it is perfect for clearing up brain fog. I love to use this when I get the blahs in the late afternoon or to clear my head before starting a new project.
And in the Body, Mind, and Spirit Category...
- The folks over at MyYogaOnline.com are kicking off the new year with a variety of Whole Health Programs, which are free to members through April 1. The programs include Sleep Well, Be Well; De-Stress Express; Energy Boost; Get Lean, Get Healthy; Get Focused; and Yoga for the Beginner. Each Whole Health Program is composed of eight stages delivered via email, on the user’s chosen schedule, featuring top tips, online videos, and articles on the program’s focus written by health and wellness experts. Click here for more information.
Have fun adding to your life and making the best choices for you!