I’ll bet when many people woke up yesterday, they set New Year’s resolutions. A promising practice, one that’s a regular event for most of us, it stands the test of time but hardly provides promising results. Studies have shown that a year is much too long for goal setting; something more like 3 months is the longest you should use as a time frame for to achieve a goal (this is a bit off when it comes to running, as standard marathon training plans are 4 months long).
Many resolutions are around healthy eating, losing weight and exercise. I’ll admit I fall into that category as well. I bought my first bottle of flax oil yesterday and a box of oatmeal, vowing to stick to a new plan of daily oatmeal with flax oil. It’s a start but talk to me in April and let’s see how I’m doing.
So, my focus for 2015 is more around a theme. I love creating themes for my yoga classes so this fits in nicely with that idea. I tried to think of an overall word that encompasses something I struggle with and something I’d love to change. For me, the word is Attitude. Having a positive attitude can change your perspective. It can change how you view the world. It can soften your voice. It can help you stay connected to your breath instead of being reactive. Having a positive attitude can create the ripe environment for good things to happen in your life and, in tough times, can create a resilience so you can work through it.
Having a positive attitude is different from being in a good mood. Moods are based on your emotions while attitude is based on your perspective. You could be in a rotten mood but still have a positive perspective and attitude on your life, your work, your relationships or whatever aspect of your life that is your current focus.
When we work with something like a theme for the New Year, we free ourselves up from trying to meet all these individual goals. We free ourselves up from the pressure of meeting undefined global targets (“This year I’m going to eat healthy”) with endless timeframes. Now, on that front, if you do want to pursue individuals goals, make them short term and really specific. For instance, the goal I have to add flax oil to my diet is currently focused on this month or at least until I use up my current bottle.
I’m always amazed at how people who face adversity, like a sudden injury or illness, can have a positive perspective. Living in Boston, I think about the many victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the news stories that track their progress. When you hear how they’re doing, so many have stayed positive despite incredible challenges. I also love to watch Ellen, as she always has inspiring people on her show. What is it that makes one person more resilient when it comes to attitude and others seem to fall into a slump? I’m sure just like metabolism, we all have a set point from which we can either improve our attitude or watch it take a dive but my hope is that with a theme for the year, I’ll create a new set point for my attitude.
So, for the year ahead, I’ll be keeping this theme in mind. I wish you all the best in 2015 and hope we all have lots of health, happiness, prosperity and love.