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Extend the shelf life of your resolutions

© iStockphoto.com / Alexey Ivanov © iStockphoto.com / Alexey Ivanov

By Derek Beres
From Completely You 


This week, I want to talk about the word "resolution." Remember that one? Like holidays, this particular word has a shelf life. For many, it expires around the end of January, when that distant promise we once made is pushed to the back of our brains.

If April showers produce May flowers, then January's resolutions tend to create February's "I said that?!"

It doesn't have to be this way. In an ideal world, resolutions would be unnecessary to begin with. If we had a straight line from intention to manifestation, we wouldn't have to resolve to do anything. We'd just do it. Too bad the world isn't a straight place. All those curves make for a very wobbly reality.

In yoga classes, I've often heard teachers speak of the word "intention" before class. But it never resonated with me until recently. Announcing an intention is like prayer: nice thought, little substance. That's because it is our actions that really count when making an intention. Throwing it out there is literally throwing it out.

And if you have a resolution, you have to begin by chasing it down, understanding that you might not catch it on the first attempt, or even the 10th. With that in mind, here are a few tips that might help you on the hunt.

1. Get your karma going.

The word karma, which is often translated as something like "action with benefits," really means "action." That's it. All of the extra words at the end were added by self-help writers hoping to sell books.

Action does produce results, but it's still the action that counts. If you have a vision, work toward it. Don't worry about when or if you'll see it. If you enjoy performing actions for themselves, the result is that you are always enjoying yourself.

2. Use a Post-it, not a text.

In this digital age, I text myself often when I have an idea. Or I leave a digital Post-it. Most often, I never look at them again. So I keep an empty space on my wall right next to my computer in my home office for Post-its. Very analog, I know.

Yet I can't sit down without seeing it right in front of me in all its bright pink glory. When I really need to remember something, it goes there. Create your own unavoidable space and write your resolution.

That daily reminder is important. Soon, you'll no longer need to remind yourself, as what you are aiming for becomes you.

3. Forgive.

Yourself, that is. Too often I've come across people who have "cheated" on their resolution. A dark tunnel quickly opens. The feeling is that if you've cheated once, the game is over. It's not.

Defeatist thinking is dangerous because it defeats you. You have to forgive yourself if something doesn't work out like you thought it would. Then give yourself permission to try again.

Derek Beres is Completely You's Getting Unstuck blogger. A journalist, yoga instructor and DJ/music producer, he has written for such publications as Departures and The Huffington Post. He teaches yoga at Equinox Fitness and Yogis Anonymous, and is one-half of the music production team EarthRise SoundSystem. For more info, visit DerekBeres.com.

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