by Laura Love, Wellness Educator & Creative Director
Another year … another resolution? I’m so in! and I’m gonna charge super, super hard… for about three weeks, at which time I will start slipping back into old patterns and next thing you know, I’m beating myself up about abandoning not just these resolutions but every goal I have ever made.
Sound familiar? Find some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Studies show that only about 6% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them. That’s pretty uninspiring!
Let’s think about this - obviously if we are taking the time and making the effort to set resolutions, we have a desire to move towards them. There must been an iota of motivation to declare the resolution in the first place, so why then are all of these people failing to stick to the plan?
Perhaps the problem lies in the manner in which we are accustomed to making resolutions rather than the intent. We focus on a specific result and timeline and when we fall short of the expectation, this goal that was important enough to make a resolution over, is abandoned completely.
This year just might be the time to consider something new … choosing mantra over resolution.
Resolution carries a contentious connotation often associated with a short-term fix, accompanied by disappointment. Mantra is a word or phrase that expresses one’s basic beliefs and is used as a constructive, positive-reinforcement tool that may be audible, visible, or present in thought.
Rather than stating the ‘what’ you want to see happen, dive deeper into the why of what you want to achieve.
Let’s say your resolution is lose 20 pounds by April - ask yourself ‘why.’ If the answer is ‘to be healthy’, consider shifting from resolution to personal mantra …“I am healthy.” When we shift our thinking to an affirmation, powerful things happen.
First, we are less likely to feel as if we have failed, and that alone can be huge. Within the limited context of a resolution, when we slip up it is easy to fall into negativity and possibly give up on the goal all together. We’ve all been there- had a great plan to be uber healthy in the new year, then one night we give in to the temptation for a late night bowl of ice cream and thus begins the treacherous decent ‘argh I ruined it – forget-it-I-might-as-well-eat-the-whole-carton.’ Feeling like a failure gets us nowhere and does nothing to further our journey.
Conversely, if we are working towards the personal mantra “I am healthy” and the same ice cream incident happened we might just think “I am a healthy person, and it’s ok for healthy people to have the occasional bowl of ice cream.” Even the difference energetically in these two situations can change the way our body metabolizes food, and therefore impact the end result. Thoughts and the attention we give them have tremendous power!
Second, when we shift our awareness to the present with a personal mantra - “I AM healthy” versus “I want to be healthy” - something powerful happens - our energy and attention go there. We begin to manifest our desired outcome just in declaring that it already exists.
Take time to create a personal mantra, an empowering statement which, upon repetition sinks into your subconscious and attracts whatever you intend. This involves really digging deep, and getting to the why - when we know why we want something, it means more to us, and therefore we put more energy toward it. Also, when digging deep into the why we are able to check our motives. Why do we want to be healthy? If the answers are: to look good in my jeans, to keep up with how the other women at the gym look, to make everyone jealous at my 20 year high school reunion … you might want to check yourself. Are those values? Are they areas of actual importance in your life that you’re willing to dedicate time, effort, and devotion to?
On the other hand, if the answers are: to feel good everyday, to be healthy and vibrant and be able to best serve my family and friends, to prevent disease … that would be a substantive objective to put some energy behind. Getting to the why can be a game changer!
Practicing mantra rather than setting a resolution allows you to go beyond a temporary fix, putting you on a sturdier path toward long-term improvement. Your thoughts, the way you speak to yourself, determine how you feel about and see yourself. So dig deep, ask yourself what you want and why you want it, and use that information to set a personal mantra. Create a positive internal narrative and begin to make big, life-improving strides toward the best of you. Put your mantra into action then sit back and watch it happen.