5 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail + Their Fix

We have all done it. Most of us more than once. Made a New Years Resolution…or two. “I resolve to lose weight” or “I will quite eating junk food” or “I will control my temper” or “I will exercise more”, etc. etc, etc. Ugh!  Year after year it’s the same thing. We continue to repeat old habits + patterns never fully committing and never really changing our behaviors.

Why is that? We really feel we mean it when we make these resolutions. We truly want to follow through + make it happen. Why then, is it so difficult and why do we always seem to fail or give up?

Here are 5 reasons why we fail at New Year’s Resolutions and their fix

  1. The resolution is too vague – We tend to make such statements as “I will exercise more” or “I will stop eating bad.” or “I will be nicer to people.” What exactly does “exercise more” mean or “eating bad” consist of? The meaning behind those statements would differ from person to person. Exercising more could mean taking the stairs to the 2nd floor office and running 3 miles 4 days a week to the next person. How about eating bad? What exactly makes something bad? One person’s medicine could be another person’s poison.

The fix? Make the statements relative to you and to your current life. Find what is realistic and be specific. If eating bad in your world is eating 2 donuts for breakfast then change your resolution to something along the lines of, “I will eat an apple for breakfast before eating the donuts.”

Kale is good for you. Kale all the time is not good for you.
Kale is good for you.
Kale all the time is not good for you.
  1. The resolution is stated in a negative – “I will stop procrastinating at work” or “I will no longer yell at my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.” etc. These statements are telling you your behaviors are bad + you should stop behaving in such a way. When we talk about things in the negative it is our unconscious way of saying that we are failures, losers, or not good enough with the way we are right now.

The fix? Turn the statements around. “At work, I will turn off my cell phone notifications and use social media only during my lunch break.” and “When my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend causes me to get upset/angry I will take 3 long deep breaths before responding.”

  1. The resolution is our conscious mind speaking – Our conscious and unconscious minds are almost always out of sync with each other. What beliefs + needs do we have about ourselves that we aren’t willing to see or admit? These beliefs and behaviors were developed because at the time they served us and gave us what we needed to survive and get through whatever it was we were going through. Those behaviors become habits; those beliefs become part of who we think we are. They provide a sense of security and safety, changing them brings us into fear mode…fear of the unknown.

The fix? Bring our conscious + unconscious minds together. Both need to be on the same page before we can expect to be successful at making any long-term lifestyle changes. Start with compassionate curiosity to the real forces that motivate our behavior and, more important, that inhibit and resist our development. We can adopt personal practices such as daily affirmations, a personal mantra, mindfulness practice, breathing techniques, journaling or metta meditation. All of these techniques will help get to the underlying beliefs + where they stem from and then we can work on moving past them. Find the techniques that work for you.

  1. The resolution has no external support – We don’t seem to enlist supporters. I am talking about real supporters. People who will join you + sweat with you. People, who will motivate you, lift you up + call you out on your own BS. It’s not easy-going it alone. So many of us are afraid + embarrassed to ask for help.

The fix? Talk to your family, friends, coworkers. Tell them about your resolution + what you want to accomplish. Ask for their help + support. Ask one or two to join you. Hire a life/health/fitness coach depending on what your goals are. Make a plan with these folks to check in regularly, talk about how it’s going…the struggles, gains and setbacks.

  1. The resolution is not something you are willing to struggle for – The real question is not what you want out of life but rather, what are you willing to struggle for? Most of us want + look for the easy way out. A quick fix to our resolution. We aren’t willing or ready to put forth the effort + the work it takes. When it comes to following through with a resolution, are you willing to endure the pain + sacrifices it takes to reach the end result?

The fix? Stop! Think about the resolution before putting it out there. Ask yourself…what pain do I want to sustain? Be specific and make it work for you, not your family, not work, not your friends but for YOU! Your quality of life is determined by the quality of your negative experiences.

Choose your hard

Happy New Year’s Everyone!!

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5 Ways to Practice Ahimsa (non-violence)

In the wake of all that has been happening in our world, I feel I am revisiting the yoga philosophy and practices at just the perfect time. I began reading a book on the Yamas & Niyamas. The Yamas & Niyamas are the foundation to all yogic thought. It is not a religion in and of itself but rather a way of life. You can think of them as guidelines, precepts, ethical disciplines or restraints and observances. There are 10 jewels in all – the first 5 being the Yamas (restraints) and the last 5 the Niyamas (observances).

Yamas = Nonviolence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Non-excess, Non-possessiveness
Niyamas = Purity, Contentment, Self-discipline, Self-study, Surrender

Ahimsa

The first jewel, Ahimsa or non-violence has resonated with me since I first learned of its full meaning and the real intention behind the practice.  Ahimsa is non-violence in your words, thoughts and actions not only in regards to those we love but towards all people, animals, the Earth and most importantly oneself.

Ahimsa takes courage, balance, self-love and compassion. “We learn compassion as we dissolve our personal version of the world, and grow gentle eyes that are not afraid to see reality as it is.” This takes courage. Courage to step outside of societal norms. Courage to accept not only ourselves but others just as they are. Courage to learn the difference between belonging and fitting in. Courage to discern between real fear that keeps you alive and fear that keeps you from living.

Here are 5 ways to begin practicing Ahimsa.

    1. Begin by doing one thing daily you normally wouldn’t do. If you’re feeling brave, make that one thing that scares you.
    2. Create balance by finding guidance from messages of your body. Practice yoga or find movement through a connection to your breath and listen.
    3. Notice what you might be avoiding in your own life because you are so interested in others lives. Are you a worrier? A fixer? Discern the difference between ‘help’ and ‘support’.
    4. Pretend you are complete. There is no need to expect anything from yourself or to criticize or judge or change anything about you.
    5. Start practicing Tonglen or Metta (loving-kindness) Meditation.

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I try everyday to live with ahimsa. For me, I keep the word and its full intention in the forefront of my mind. No, it is not always easy however it becomes easier over time. I am catching myself more quickly when I begin to judge or make not-so-nice comments/thoughts. I have also stopped beating myself every time I slip up, recognizing that I too am living a human life and am not perfect.

It begins with loving yourself. Accepting you for you….just as you are. Then and only then can you truly love another. Then and only then will you truly respect, care for and cherish the Earth and everything on it. Then and only then will you begin to realize that your health is directly related to the health of the environment and want to protect it.

“Our inability to love and accept all the pieces of ourselves creates ripples – tiny acts a violence – that have huge and lasting impacts on others.”

You can learn more about all 10 jewels by reading The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele. (some of the words/phrases in this post come from the aforementioned book).

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Morning Routine

The stereotype is that all yoga instructors get up with the sun, meditate for an hour in lotus position followed by a full hour of Vinyasa flow. After all of that they take the time to cook an extremely healthy breakfast which is eaten mindfully with tea.

Ha! Not me!!  I will admit, even though I am a yoga instructor + wellness coach I am far from a morning person. I have tried multiple times throughout the years and it just does not work for. And I am ok with that.

Here’s what I found works for me…

    • Lying in bed, with my legs in butterfly pose and focusing on my breath for several minutes.
    • Then I snuggle with Izzee, my sweet pup.

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      • Before I stand up I sit up + stretch gently. Usually a seated forward fold and a butterfly stretch.
      • Next, I let Izzee outside. I walk outside with her, close my eyes, breathe in the fresh air and go through a few 1/2 Sun Salutations. If it’s too cold or rainy, I stand in the doorway taking those deep breaths.

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  • Followed with tongue scraping, teeth brushing, and drinking a cup of hot water with high quality organic lime essential oil + Ayurveda herbs.

After all of that, which does not take very long, I begin getting ready for my day. That consists of black coffee + breakfast.

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Scrambled eggs, quinoa, greens + avocado

and usually entails packing a change or two of clothes, food/snacks and a water bottle. Oh, and don’t forget the laptop + journal.

If I have an appointment/class free morning, I will enjoy my coffee while writing a new post, networking or journaling.

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I have come to realize that not every morning will look like this. Be kind. Allow yourself to stray if needed, for whatever reason. Then, begin again. No need to stress about it.

Have you found what works for you? Tell me here in the comments or post a photo to Instagram + tag @rockwateryoga.

I look forward to hearing how you spend your morning!

www.rockwateryoga.com

 

Free-Spirit

I’ve been called a free-spirit more than once. More often in the last few years than ever before. Maybe the labeling lingo has transformed from rebellious, independent, and adventurous into free-spirited or maybe it was quitting my government job to work outdoors and travel.

Google tells us that a free-spirit is an independent or uninhibited person. While dictionary.com elaborates by saying a free-spirit is a person with a highly individual or unique attitude, lifestyle, or imagination. Some even go as far as calling them ‘nonconformists’.

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In society, being called a free-spirit has a negative taste that lingers. Where that mindset began I do not know. What I do know is that if one must put labels on us then I am pleased with free spirit. You see, to me a free spirit is…

A person with a unique attitude of refusing to compromise his/her truth, loving freely and living wholeheartedly. Offering hugs to strangers, entertaining small children, and practicing random acts of kindness; even though…society balks at openness and vulnerability.

Being a free-spirit doesn’t mean shunning away responsibility or structure. But it does mean being spontaneous whenever time allows and going against the flow of societal norms.

Living a unique lifestyle today is a person who enjoys the moment. Finds the magic in the ordinary and revels in the beauty all around.

Someone that doesn’t hesitate to kick off his/her shoes and flop down in the bright lush green grass to take in the sunshine and fresh air. Even if only for a moment.

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A free-spirit will always find time to tell you how special you are to his/her world. Open his/her heart to you. How scary that can be for any non-free-spirit. Accept it and be open to receive this beautiful gift.

It doesn’t matter what he/she does for a living or enjoys in his/her free time. It’s his/her openness to live life as an adventure in each moment, every deep connection and all passionate experiences that makes him/her a free spirit.

Free spirited people are sensitive souls and recharge through their connection with nature. It’s important for them to spend time outside in reflection and solitude.

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One who is labeled a free spirit thinks about the future, plans and wants to build a life. The difference – the free spirited can put it into perspective, stay present and make goals. He/She knows holding too tight to a plan full of precise goals and mile markers becomes to strict and closed to all possible opportunities leaving no room for error.

If you are lucky enough for a free-spirit to enter your world…brace yourself!  Let him/her in, open yourself up to his/her love and step out of your comfort zone. He/She will scare the hell out of you, love you like no other, make your heart sing and hold strong at your side through thick and thin.

This an opportunity for intense love, growth and intimate connection that you will regret walking away from…especially if that walk is lead by fear. Choose love over fear, be vulnerable letting him/her love you fully and you’ll see…the free spirit will give you all of him/herself.

2020

A few weeks ago, someone I have come to respect and care for deeply asked an intricate question. This question has been pin-balling around my mind, bouncing through my heart and containing my thoughts even since he uttered those words so nonchalantly.

Tell me where you are in 5 years??

5 years…that’s a long time from now or is it?? Wow, 2020. Really? What does that look like and feel like? For me, for the planet, for the world? Can anyone really say for sure? So many questions…where does one find the answers?

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Do I hold tight to a plan full of precise goals and mile markers or do I just let go of what I want and see how life unfolds? The first is so…so strict and closed to all possible opportunities leaving no room for error. No room for new ideas.. The latter? The latter is, well, irresponsible and childish lacking direction and responsibility. Or is it?

I am not confused about what I want. I want to quench my thirst for life and nourish my soul. I want to grow and expand in ways never thought possible. I want to break my heart wide open, touch lives and inspire those around me. I want to love so strongly it’s unstoppable. A life overflowing with compassion, wonder and beauty. All shared with that one…that one who get’s me and I get him, engulfing each other in love, support and understanding.

Is that too much to ask? Am I supposed to be more methodical and realistic? Conforming to society, moving to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo. I fight the pressures of the crowd that unconsciously conditions our minds, tells us to follow the path of least resistance. I will not succumb to ‘normal’. That is not who I am nor who I want to be.

My relationships are not shallow. Tears flow, my heart breaks, and disappointments are inevitable. I am still me: fiercely loyal, understanding, intense, and intrepidly passionate. When I love you, you know it. It’s available to everyone I invite into my life. I give all of myself…

I may not have a set plan for year 2020 but….I most certainly know the type of life I will live. I will stand up for what I believe and fight for the environment that is so crucial to our well-being. Spread loving-kindness and teach others to cultivate self-love. Live my life wholeheartedly with adventure, heartfelt connections, and finding magic in the ordinary. What exactly that will look like I do not know and that’s ok.

So tell me….where will you be in 5 years??

What do you choose?

Cool morning
Sipping coffee
Thoughts racing
Chaos ensues
Page is empty
I remember…
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I chose
To live wholeheartedly
Be vulnerable
Making each moment magical
Each experience precious.
Opening my heart to
deep connections
passionate adventures
heartfelt experiences
Only I know
the inevitable is just around the corner
It will bite me in the ass or
Stab me in the heart
It’s only a matter of time
But without all that,
I lose so much more of life.
I will
Break myself open
over and over again
Hold strong
Love uninhibited
Have courage
Be me
Let my light shine
Live life fully.

Morning Mind

Blurry morning staring into the dark.
Mind tugs ... 
climb back under the embracing warmth of the covers.  
Something inside eases the tug as I stand in the doorway,
feeling the cool darkness of night hanging on.
Embracing energetic movements as the night breaks way to morning, 
intoxicating my senses, 
melting my heart with the miracles of the day.

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