New Year resolutions

New Year resolutions: Why I don’t make them

As we bid farewell to another year and look to welcome a fresh start in 2024, the tradition of setting New Year resolutions is a common practice for many people. However, I have never really been a believer in this tradition and find myself questioning the effectiveness and sustainability of making resolutions in January.

In this blog post, I’ll outline the reasons why I don’t believe in them and explore how the principles of yoga can offer a more holistic and enduring approach to personal growth throughout the year.

Unrealistic expectations and short-lived motivation

One of the primary reasons I’m sceptical about New Year resolutions is the tendency to set unrealistic and often impractical goals. With the enthusiasm of a fresh start, people often aspire to achieve significant changes in their lives overnight. Unfortunately, this approach can lead to disappointment and failure, as most goals require time, effort and consistent dedication. The initial motivation that accompanies the New Year soon fizzles out, making it challenging to sustain the necessary commitment.

External pressures and societal norms

New Year resolutions tend to be influenced by external pressures and societal norms. It’s not uncommon for individuals to feel obligated to set resolutions simply because everyone around them is doing so. However, these resolutions may not align with their true desires or personal growth aspirations. Succumbing to these external pressures can result in setting goals that lack personal significance and may ultimately lead to frustration and a sense of failure.

All-or-nothing mentality

Another drawback of New Year resolutions is the tendency to adopt an all-or-nothing mentality. Many resolutions involve strict rules and restrictions, such as extreme diets or rigorous exercise routines. This rigid approach can be demotivating and counterproductive, as it doesn’t allow room for flexibility or self-compassion in case of setbacks. Life is unpredictable, and setting goals that are too rigid can make it difficult to adapt to changing circumstances.

Continuous growth throughout the year

Rather than confining personal growth and goal-setting to the start of a new year, I believe in embracing a mindset of continuous improvement and learning throughout the year. Instead of relying solely on New Year resolutions, I find it more effective to set realistic and achievable goals consistently throughout the year. This enables me to prioritise and adapt my goals based on changing circumstances, making them more attainable and meaningful.

It’s essential to recognise that self-development shouldn’t be limited to a specific time of year. Instead of falling into the trap of setting unrealistic goals that fade away by February, incorporating continuous improvement and learning throughout the year can lead to more sustainable growth. By adopting a growth mindset and setting realistic goals, we can embrace personal transformation at any point in our journey.

New Year resolutions

An alternative yogic approach

I find that New Year resolutions can be limited in their scope and effectiveness. By embracing the principles of yoga philosophy, such as being present, setting intentions, cultivating self-awareness and surrendering to the natural flow of life, we can foster a more holistic and enduring path of personal growth.

Rather than setting New Year resolutions, I prefer to focus on developing healthy habits and creating a growth-oriented mindset all year round. Here are a few strategies that have worked well for me, which are also supported by my yoga practice.

Reflect regularly

Set aside time regularly to reflect on your progress, goals and achievements. This reflection will help you gain clarity and adjust your actions accordingly.

Set SMART goals

Instead of broad resolutions, set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART) goals. Breaking down larger goals into smaller, attainable milestones will keep you motivated and allow for a more tangible sense of progress.

Embrace self-compassion

Remember that setbacks and challenges are a natural part of growth. Practising self-compassion and kindness allows for the resilience needed to keep moving forward, even when progress feels slow or non-existent.

Cultivate a supportive community

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who support and encourage your personal growth journey. A strong support system can provide accountability, inspiration and valuable guidance along the way. Why not join a yoga class at SPACE!

Embrace the present moment

Yoga philosophy teaches us the importance of being present and fully engaged in the current moment. New Year resolutions often focus on future goals, creating a sense of anticipation and pressure. However, this mindset detracts us from appreciating and making the most of the present. Yoga reminds us to embrace each moment as an opportunity for growth and transformation, rather than fixating on future outcomes that may or may not align with our true selves.

Setting intentions instead of resolutions

In contrast to the rigid nature of resolutions, yoga encourages us to set intentions. Intentions are rooted in the present moment and reflect our values and aspirations. The practice of setting intentions allows for flexibility and adaptation as we navigate the ever-changing circumstances of life. The Yoga Sutras, particularly Sutra 1.2, emphasise that the purpose of yoga is to calm the fluctuations of the mind. By setting intentions, we align our actions with our inner purpose, leading to deeper personal growth and transformation.

New Year resolutions

Cultivate self-awareness and mindfulness

Yoga emphasises self-awareness and mindfulness as essential components of personal growth. Rather than focusing solely on external goals, the practice of yoga encourages us to tune into our inner selves, observe our thoughts and emotions, and make conscious choices in each moment. By cultivating self-awareness, we develop a deeper understanding of our strengths, weaknesses and true desires. This heightened awareness allows us to set goals that are rooted in authenticity, leading to a more fulfilling and sustainable path of personal growth.

Embrace effort and surrender

Yoga philosophy teaches us the delicate balance between effort and surrender. While setting goals and working towards them is commendable, an attachment to outcomes can lead to frustration and disappointment. The Yoga Sutras highlight the concept of Ishvara Pranidhana, surrendering to a higher power or the natural flow of life. By relinquishing control and trusting in the process, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and experiences. This surrender allows for personal growth and transformation to unfold naturally, rather than forcing predetermined outcomes through resolutions.

New Year resolutions and the Yoga Sutras

As New Year resolutions often involve setting goals for self-improvement, it’s worth considering the relevance of yoga in promoting overall wellbeing, and exploring the Yoga Sutras can be beneficial. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a foundational text on classical yoga philosophy. The Sutras provide guidance on living a balanced and harmonious life.

Rather than confining yourself to resolutions that may not align with your true self, why not journey through the New Year with mindfulness, intention and the wisdom of the Yoga Sutras to foster genuine and sustainable transformation.

Physical wellbeing

Practising asanas (physical postures) is commonly associated with yoga. The Yoga Sutras encourage the practice of yoga postures to maintain a healthy body and free it from discomfort.

Mental clarity

The Yoga Sutras emphasise the importance of calming the mind through practices like pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Setting a resolution to incorporate these practices can improve focus, reduce stress and enhance mental clarity.

Self-reflection

The concept of Svadhyaya (self-study) in the Yoga Sutras promotes the idea of understanding oneself better. Setting a resolution to regularly reflect on one’s thoughts, actions and behaviours can lead to personal growth and self-awareness.

Ahimsa (non-violence)

Ahimsa is a key principle in yoga philosophy, advocating for non-violence, compassion and kindness to all beings. Setting a resolution to practise ahimsa in thought, speech and action can foster harmonious relationships and a more peaceful world.

Mindfulness

The Yoga Sutras teach mindfulness as a means to experience the present moment fully. Setting a resolution to cultivate mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, increase gratitude and enhance overall wellbeing.

New Year resolutions

Be kind and nurture yourself

I feel that life is hard enough in the depths of winter when it’s so cold and dark outside.

It can be difficult to stay motivated with New Year resolutions at this time of year, not to mention the impact on our self-esteem when we feel that sense of failure, if we’re unable to follow through. Personally, I prefer September for making significant changes, as this time of year feels more like a new year to me.

January is a time when many people may be struggling with coughs and colds, so the last thing we need is additional pressure. Be kind to yourselves.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, 5 things to do in winter for self care, the best thing to do in my opinion is to stay warm and cosy, to rest and do things that feel nurturing and soul soothing.

So, you could set yourself some New Year resolutions, or you could just give yourself some Hygge instead!

Join Our Community

Category:

Tags:

Read more blog posts