Foundations

I’ve never really done the whole new year’s resolutions thing. It’s just never seemed very authentic or something I’m capable of keeping up with. I know lots of fellow yogis and friends who set intentions for a year or pick a theme for the year (my best friend, Katie‘s theme is Bravery!). This is something to meditate on, pursue and come back to periodically. I like this idea, but I didn’t really find anything that spoke to me when the year was turning. Yesterday something – an idea, concept, word – popped into my mind and I’ve decided to make it my 2014 theme/project.

FOUNDATIONS

Foundations. I know a lot of things that help me to be my best self, but I struggle with implementing them systematically and reliably. So – I’ve decided take the idea that it takes 21 days to form a habit into 2014 and give myself 11 (!!) strong foundations on which to stand, grow and build the rest of my life! That is one new habit – or foundation each month. I want this to be a transformational process for a transformational year. I know that it will be difficult many days, rewarding others and will hopefully also help myself discipline, or rather, help me to make these habits such a part of my life that they no longer (or rarely) require discipline to accomplish.

I have not figured out what I will choose for each month – I think that as a transformational process begins the actions that I feel called or drawn to will also change. I have a tentative schedule through June thought up, but I am completely willing that this is fluid. Here is what I have so far:

February: Eating well by focusing on planning and cooking, paired with a vegetarian fast

March: Daily HOME yoga practice

April: Daily meditation

May: Running (still working out how many times per week)

June: Be on time, EVERY TIME!

February will be focusing on planning meals, cooking at home and eating healthfully and mindfully. I think I will finally need to get a dining room table 🙂  I am going to couple this will a second challenge – a vegetarian fast. My main goal in this is to stop eating food at work late at night! I want to be able to bring and have waiting for me at home healthy food that is giving me energy and nourishing my body well. Planning will be a key element here, and this is the main piece I have struggled with since starting at the restaurant last year. My schedule is not fixed; I don’t know how early/late I will get home, how early I will be able to get up, etc. I find this a real challenge in planning my days generally, so planning will really be the main element I will be working on this month. I even have the next two days off to get started!

March will be creating the habit of a daily HOME yoga practice. I don’t really care if this is 3 sun salutations in the morning, a full hour modified primary series, or a headstand before bed, it just needs to be something. I think a big part of this will be setting the stage (again, planning!). My idea for now is to start out with morning sun salutes and to get myself in the head space by unrolling my mat at the foot of my bed before going to sleep so it’s there waiting and urging me on in the morning. I will probably play with this in February and see where I get with it, but I won’t focus on making it a daily practice until March.

April will be a daily meditation practice! I’m not very good at meditation! My mind wanders or I fall asleep. Focusing on breath helps, and I’m currently reading Peace is Every Step by Thicht Nhat Hanh, which has some excellent tips/exercises. My favorite so far is repeating these lines as breathing in and out:

“Breathing in I calm my body

Breathing out I smile”

These should be followed by “Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment”, but I’m still working with the first two lines. I like to substitute “Breathing in I calm my body” with “Breathing in I am at peace” as well. So anyway, I’m a beginning meditater (is that a word?!) but I see benefits from even my small practice. I am hoping that my daily yoga practice will naturally lead into a meditation – that it will be the foundation. 

May will probably be running. This may change, but the weather should be reliably good enough by then to not be a barrier (I like to think I’m hardy, but I seriously am not running in temps lower than about 45F!). I don’t really know what type of running habit I’m going to aim for (times per week, miles per week, etc.) but I’d like to create some kind of running habit. I got into a good running groove last summer but stopped around September/October when I was working 60 hours per week. Standing on my feet for that long did NOT make me want to run! I also got shin splints, so that will have to be something that I will need to try and protect against. I will need to begin running before May if I am to run a lot with no injuries!

Last of my plan-in-advance months is June: being on time, every time! (That exclamation mark is necessary, I need to be amped about this or it won’t happen). Everyone who knows me knows I generally run 10-15 minutes late for EVERYTHING except job interviews and yoga. I need to change this; it’s disrespectful and childish, so in June I get to work on it!

The first half of the year is basically entirely focused on me and what I need to do, change or improve to be a more effective, compassionate, loving person. I am hoping that taking care of myself better and creating habits that will be a foundation for success will then help me to look outward. I’d like the second half of my year to focus on others. Some ideas I have are:

  • Call one family member per week
  • Read four times/week for at least 30 minutes
  • Send a handwritten card to one person each week
  • Write or journal daily
  • Compliment one person every day

I wrote those down earlier and now see that a couple are still me-focused… perhaps reading and journaling will come naturally with everything else and I won’t need to give them each their own month 🙂

This plan I realize is very ambitious, especially for me. I am learning a bit more about Ayruveda and very much have the Kapha qualities of being lethargic and unmotivated when I’m out of balance. Hopefully mindful eating will give me a strong foundation to stay in balance but we’re all prone to ebbs and flows and I will have to give extra vigilant when this happens.

For now, namaste.

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