New Year, More Thoughtful You
by Liz Sherman
Ah New Years. The time of year where we decide we’ve finally “got it” and we’re going to suddenly go from a carnivorous lifestyle to a raw vegan diet. From the couch to a marathon by June. From dragging ourselves out of bed and inserting a caffeine IV directly into our arms to getting up at 5 am to meditate our way into a peaceful existence. Right? Right?!
Let’s be honest. While we may actually achieve those things momentarily, how likely is it that we will be still doing them by January 15th?
We are all for #goals. We love them. We have them as a team at Drunk Yoga, and we also discuss our personal/professional goals together. But, as great as they are, we need to be certain the goals we set are setting us up for success, not setting us up to feel like garbage when we don’t accomplish something we weren’t hugely keen on in the first place.
So, how then to flush out old habits and set intentions for the new year in a way that holds us accountable without holding us ransom? Here are our suggestions:
Understand your underlying reason for setting your goal.
A few years ago, I decided my new year’s resolution was to “weigh 126 again”. Here’s the thing though. My body doesn’t really like to weigh 126. It gets cranky, I have to run roughly 6 miles daily (who has time for that?!) and if (god forbid) I eat a brownie, it’s almost like in a cartoon where you can see it moving through my body. So why was I so fixated on the idea of getting to this number? I talked to myself for a bit, and I realized, I wasn’t. What I wanted was to feel the way I did when I weighed 126. Happy, sexy, and ready to take on any adventure that came my way (unless of course that involved something athletic, because as I previously mentioned, felt like garbage at that weight). I changed my goal to reflect what I *really* wanted: “Seek people and experiences that make me feel comfortable and confident in my own skin”.
Know that your goal does not have to focus on a number or a date for completion.
Not wanting to totally give away my earlier goal, which I mistakenly thought was health conscious, I found a different way to focus on health by swapping my number based goal to setting a goal reading “treat your body with respect in your words and actions”. Sometimes that meant going to the gym when I didn’t feel like it, sometimes it meant drinking extra water, and you know what? Sometimes it meant eating the freaking block of cheese. Like, a LOT of cheese. Because I am a human person, and sometimes, I want cheese and a salad isn’t gonna cut it, and cheese is a means of self care. The most major change though, was my self-talk. Treating my body with respect meant saying “my arms are strong and give great hugs” when what I wanted to say was “my arms are enormous and I need to do something about it”.
Learn to re-evaluate.
At the beginning of last year I made a goal to read one social justice related book a month. It started out awesome. I was killin’ it. But then, I got really, really time poor. I would start a book, read two chapters, put it down, pick it back up, all while feeling like I was failing at my goal. I smartly remembered that goals are aspirations. My underlying desire remained -- learn more about the experience of others so I can be a good ally. I simply decided to do this by shifting my means. Instead of doing the whole “mm, that looks sad. That was a racist thing that person/company/police officer did” and scrolling by an article, I take time to read it, imagine how I would feel in that person’s shoes, and then often share the article. My method is different, my underlying goal is the same. I didn’t fail -- I adapted to my circumstances so I could achieve.
Break it down.
Some people just do better with short-term goals. In 2017, I made myself a goal a month. Would I do these all again? Probably not (May goal, I see you). But, I love that I wrote myself a year mission statement at the top and broke that goal down into manageable things in different areas my of life I thought would help me achieve the main goal or challenge myself.
Create a community.
Some things, especially difficult or challenging things, really are better with friends. Friends can support us (people cheering me on in my no drinking month was great!) or call us out when we need it (like when I called my arms “tharms” aka thigh-sized-arms and my friend told me to be nicer to myself). If ever you need some yoga fun and a place to meet great people who aren’t judgmental, come to a Drunk Yoga class. We’ve got you.
So let’s practice, shall we? That goal from the beginning, about going from a carnivore to a raw vegan might look like this. “I want to eat less meat because I care about the planet and about animals. I will start by designating one floating meatless day a week, seeing how I feel, and checking in with myself after the first month. I’ll ask my vegan friend Eli for some ideas of easy to make recipes and see if she wants to be my meal date on my vegan night.” Voila. You’re on the way not only to achieving, but making permanent shifts toward what you really want, not just hitting a target for the sake of it.
Go forth, Drunk Yogis! Happy New Year!