I’ve made a tradition out of avoiding New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s not the parties I particularly mind, but the sense of impending doom that comes with it: The notion that this is the final fling before the oppression begins.
I’ve spent most of my adult life in San Francisco, a city with abundant opportunities to celebrate the New Year. Yet, I always hear that New Years’ gatherings are disappointing, and herein lies the answer: New Year’s Resolutions. There’s nothing worse than spending an evening with a group of people about to start a diet, a punitive exercise regime, a detox, or a fast. We obsess over our perceived flaws.
Standing on the edge of one of the year’s most significant moments—a moment of transformation—we waste it in guilt. Ashamed, we subtract from the ledger of our lives and try to convince ourselves that we’re better off without all of life’s little pleasures.
But what if we made an addition to our lives rather than a subtraction? What if we used the New Year to invite in some expansive pleasures rather than to impose stringencies?
Adding a new pleasure into our lives implies change, a step toward fulfilling our desires. Whenever we decide to change, our environment will often support us. Remember, the initial eagerness and energy may not last, even if it’s for joy!
Challenges to a New Beginning
Here are a few common CHALLENGES in behavior change that can get in the way of bringing pleasure into our lives:
- Physical effort
- Brain cycles
Can you think of a time when you wanted to do something fun, but one of these challenges got in the way? Integration of positive change requires patience and perseverance. Unfortunately, many want instant gratification and quickly move on to something else. Yet, real, lasting inner change takes time.
Ways to Overcome Challenges
Financial Management. If money is keeping you from your New Year desires, create a budget to track your expenses and prioritize spending. Set aside a portion of income regularly for savings and emergencies. Lastly, explore investment options to grow your wealth over time.
Physical Effort. If possible, use technology and tools to automate repetitive tasks where possible. Divide strenuous tasks into smaller, manageable steps to reduce physical strain.
In regards to living a healthy lifestyle, schedule 1-2 ZaaS classes a week to maintain regular exercise. Join the Sleep Habits Workshop to see how you can get enough rest to keep your energy levels up. When it comes to physical routine, we’ve got you covered!
Brain Cycles. To get over the hump of brain cycles, clear your schedule for one afternoon or day to tackle a project. Take regular breaks to rest your mind and avoid burnout. Incorporate 1-2 meditation classes every week to enhance focus and mental clarity. Join. If you incorporate the Pomodoro Method from above, these regular breaks are included.
Focus on high-impact tasks during peak mental hours and save lower-priority tasks for less demanding times. If you’re not sure what your peak working hours are, watch the “Using Ayurveda to Create an Ideal Work Environment” Workshop to discover your personal peak times.
Community and Environment. Engage with your community, join groups, and build networks that provide support and resources. ZaaS has a built-in community with like-minded people participating in every session. Having an accountability buddy, whether it’s a friend, coach, or personal trainer, can get you over the hump!
Non Routine. This is where the yoga practice comes into play. Embrace change and be open to new experiences and challenges with non-routine activities. Cultivate adaptability and flexibility to handle unexpected situations or opportunities that arise. Introduce variety into your routine to keep things fresh and stimulating.
In Sanskrit, the word atha means auspicious beginning, uninterrupted continuity, and an appropriate end. So, when we experience a challenge that knocks us off our pleasure path, remember atha. Every moment can be a New Year’s moment to bring pleasure into our lives.
ZaaS | Zen as a Service offers yoga and meditation services to B Corps and large companies worldwide. Join us!