"When you can do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you can command the attention of the world," — George Washington Carver
If you’re ready to call it quits on your new year’s resolutions, you’re not alone: 2 out of 3 people abandon their new year’s resolutions in a month, according to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. You may start off with all the best intentions with grand visions and vision boards for how you’re finally going to change your life. But the everyday practicality of keeping up with change can be taxing, and it’s hard feeling like you’re letting yourself down.
Now that we’ve passed most of the major winter holidays, and the new year is in full swing, how can we keep our momentum going?
PRAY is an acronym I use to remind myself of how to take action by doing incremental common things in an uncommon way, in order to slowly change my world. By using these 4 tactics, you can incrementally maintain and achieve your resolutions, big and small.
Put Things in Their Proper Perspective
One of my favorite sayings is: “There are two days that we have no control over, yesterday and tomorrow”. The universe often reminds us that remaining grateful is a daily effort, because all we have true control over is what we choose to do in each present moment. Making time for reflection everyday goes a long way towards strengthening your ability to be present in the moment. It also empowers you to set intentions and create plans from a place of calm and positivity.
The ability to see the small picture while holding space for the bigger picture is an art. Invest in your resilience canvas by committing to daily attentiveness — take a moment to sit, breathe, journal, think. Reframe how you think and speak about your current situation: if plans have to be delayed, or you’re forced onto a path you had not expected in the new year, consider what this means in the short term vs. the long term.
I find it helpful to pull out my drawing pad and map out my plans. Doing so can help you visualize that what you first perceived as a blockage or a detour towards your goals, could instead be a chance to regroup or go down a fork in the road that may just lead to an even lusher forest.
Renew and Revise Your Rituals
As you kick off the new year, what are some of the rituals you have held onto that may benefit from review and revision? Make a list of your daily habits, good and bad. What rituals for self-care served you well during the pandemic? Which should stay, and which would you like to modify? So much of our lives have changed, but before you say out with the old and in with the new, honestly assess what matters most in the balance of spiritual and material.
The new year can also be a great time to review your budget for the next year. Vision boarding is a useful tool for conceptualizing what you want to manifest in the year ahead. Then, go back to your list of habits and work on creating or redefining rituals that honor who you truly desire to be in this year and the others to come.
Ask for What You Need
If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t take our health and wellness for granted. It’s also taught us the corrosive impact of chronic stress on ourselves, our loved ones and our co-workers. We’ve also seen the toll unaddressed anger, anxiety, and depression takes on our mental and physical health, as we navigate an ever-changing pandemic.
Never has it been more clear that we must speak up for ourselves when the burden becomes too great. As you review your list of new year's goals and resolutions, start with the question, “Who or what is creating stress in my life?” Then follow up with a list of ways you can take control to address it. You may need to have a difficult conversation, create a new community, or revise your commitments. Although it may be daunting, doing so allows you to stay on track with your self-care and resilience.
Yield to the Moment
Just when we should be feeling joyful about the fresh start the new year offers, unexpected expenses or work volatility can create challenges that dampen that joy. Family conflicts and drama can also rear their ugly heads because when we commit to our happiness and advocate for our well-being, the people around us might have strong reactions, especially if we’re redefining our boundaries.
Unfortunately, this is to be expected if you are dealing with people who aren't committed to their wellness or have a zero-sum mindset, and think that doing something positive for yourself takes something away from them. When you find yourself confronted with this type of dynamic, it’s important to remind yourself often that you’re committed to building a new you. Change takes time. We must be gentle with our expectations for ourselves as well as others as we learn and grow. Creating a mindset of incremental gratitude can be helpful in navigating those adjustment periods. In other words: be grateful for the little things.
Mourning and releasing the old in order to create a path to future healing and joy can be the most challenging New Years resolution you make, but the benefits are worth it; YOU are worth it! So yield to the moment, thank the universe, and watch your new world unfold.
I wish you continued resilience in 2022 and beyond!