12/13/2018 Mind-Body Health
There are three steps for selecting and achieving your New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve failed in previous years to achieve your health goals, this year might be the time for your goals to meet your willpower.
The New Year is often revered as a special time to make changes in your life for the good, turn over a new leaf, and set some productive goals for your health and more. Some of the more common New Year’s health goals include:
- Getting a gym membership
- Losing weight
- Eating healthier
- Doing more yoga
Over the years, you have likely given this a few attempts. More than 80 percent of people fail to achieve their New Year’s goals. While making a change in your health can be daunting, and plenty of ‘life’ can get in your way, the path to making the sustainable health transformation you desire will ensure you get clear on what you want, set a strong intention, and are able to manifest what it is you are seeking in your health and beyond this New Year!
The following map to manifesting a healthier you includes an inner GPS into awareness, mindfulness, and attention to witness some of your automatic behaviors and patterns.
Signpost 1: Clarify Your Desire
Desire is often considered a powerful force for creating change in your health, yet desire can also be confusing and complex. Much of the confusion comes from the variety of forms of desire. The pure forms of desire (said to be free from ego and greed) can help you clarify where you put your attention, focus, and diligence. Others forms of desire can create illusion and lead you astray. For example:
- You might reach into the cookie jar time and time again, knowing that this temporary gratification will later leave you feeling tired, guilty, and off-balance.
- You might order that extra drink and wake up the next morning tired and lethargic.
- You might stay up too late watching Netflix episodes or perusing Instagram to then find yourself overstimulated and unable to get a deep night’s rest.
Pure desire (free from ego and greed) is said to be a true expression of who you are, including what you want for your health, your unique purpose, and your spiritual fulfillment.
Pure desire is often considered auspicious—meaning that it brings you into alignment with what serves the highest outcome both for yourself and others.
- Find quiet: Guide yourself into a calm and quiet space. Meditate or journal about your desires.
- Visualize: Take a moment and visualize yourself embodying your desire. What are the feelings and experiences you have when you visualize living your desires?
- Forecast: How do you want to feel in your body, mind, and soul with regards to your health? Do your desires serve the highest part of yourself?
Signpost 2: Set Your Intention
An intention is a conscious decision to put your pure desires into motion, to make a plan and a commitment, and to take a step forward. Your intentions are built on your desires, personal will, and diligence to stay focused.
While setting intentions may appear to be a common spiritual trend in today’s world, setting intentions is an ancient practice that has been documented as far back as the Vedic texts (as early as 1000 BCE.)
Often known as goal setting, setting intentions are said to focus your mind on creating the desire that you are seeking. One study showed a higher success rate for the participants who wrote down their goals, shared them, and had some accountability measures in place.
- Set clear, positive intentions: Researchers have found that setting clear positive goals focused on various aspects of life as well as health, creates an awareness that can remove the various obstacles to healthy eating allowing your overall diet to improve.
- Practice aligned action: Your life would likely be easier and more manageable if you were able to consistently align your actions with what you want. In fact, spur-of-the-moment food choices may be one of the most common situations in which you forget what it is you want or intend and find yourself doing the exact opposite. The good news is that practicing aligned action—actions aligned with your intentions—is a mission that gets easier with time, practice, and frequency.
- Start small: According to the American Psychological Association, one way to make goals stick is to set goals you know you can keep up with by choosing simple, manageable, measureable, and clear goals.
- Seek support: Having accountability and support around both your goals and what you are going through in the process of achieving your goals is a valued asset that leads to greater success. According to the Mayo Clinic, having social support in your life will promote healthy behaviors.
Signpost 3: Reveal Your Resistance
Often, you repeat your old behaviors out of habit, fear, or resistance to change. Studies show that the primal mind often chooses something familiar with rather that braving unknown territory—where something worse or unpredictable could happen.
Revealing your resistance can give you a chance to inquire into why it is arising and decide consciously how to move forward through it. Here are some common reasons you may experience resistance:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of vulnerability
- Avoiding feelings you would rather not feel
- Engaging in a limiting belief
- Believing the limiting stories and beliefs embedded in your mind
- Being uncomfortable with change, the unfamiliar, or something new
Once you witness your resistance, you will often see one key element is needed to move forward. The key element may be a new idea, a new feeling, a new attitude, a new level of support or accountability, or a new piece of information.
- Acknowledge: Acknowledging the resistance that you observe in yourself with regards to your health goals will help you to move through it swiftly.
- Inquire: Often, resistance has a way of combining with your limited beliefs or thoughts to disempower you. Taking stock in what your resistance feels like and what may be underlying it is a good place to begin to reclaim your power in manifesting your desires.
- Track your progress: Often, you may find yourself ignoring your little successes and focusing on the gargantuan goal that may require some time and patience. When working toward your health goals, try celebrating the little successes and victories, and mark your progress to fuel your hope and inspiration to keep going.
Living with clarity and intention around your desires for your health is a wonderful way to navigate the complexity of human consciousness. These signposts will lead you through personal awareness to a more fulfilling possibility of achieving what you want for yourself and your health this year.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
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