I hope your New Year’s resolutions are going great this January.
If they aren’t going full steam ahead, it could be time to evolve how you actually accomplish goals in your life.
When we study the tools from modern behavioral science and ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, we learn that our bodies and brains work in cycles. The cycles of the day (circadian rhythm), the cycles of the year (seasons), and the cycles of our lives (physical growth, focused action, and aging).
Our modern culture prescribes the new year as the time in our yearly cycle that we set new goals. The tricky thing is, our culture doesn’t have set cycles for revisiting these goals based on the time of year and things that we are juggling in our lives. Instead, we have more of a “one and done” approach to set our goals for the entire year, without reassessing and realigning throughout those 12 months.
Our brains need repetition but at the same time, our bodies need to be consciously synced with the changing environment around us, the seasons. That’s where Ayurveda and behavioral science can help you meet your goals by creating better daily habits.
Let’s consider where we currently are in our seasonal cycle. In the Northern hemisphere, we are in winter. In New Orleans, we’re in Carnival season. How does that impact our goals?
It means that naturally, we are turning more inward and slowing down. We may notice ourselves wanting to sleep more or eat heavier foods. These are normal responses to the season. There are steps we can take to adapt our desired daily habits to this season and still keep our New Year’s resolutions. Modern culture, however, has disconnected us from the natural seasonal cycles and instead gives us beautiful images of fit bodies on the beach with tropical beverages all year long.
Why is this a problem?
Because even if you haven’t seen any beach photos recently, you are likely approaching your goals as if we are in a perpetual summer season of activity. Different seasons require different adaptations to your goals. While it’s true that action is critical to achieving something new in your life, when your actions are out of alignment with the seasons you can find yourself out of balance quickly and not understand why you can’t seem to overcome your own resistance. This leads to a feeling of failure, when in fact you just need to balance yourself based on the season. Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint. Aligning yourself properly and adapting throughout the seasons will enable you to make lasting changes.
Steps to help you keep and evolve your goals
Daily: Keep your goals visible. Use a journal, printed list of your goals, or a spreadsheet that is in a prominent place where you will not only see it – but READ it daily!
Weekly: Take stock of your actions from the past week. What did you learn? What took you off course from your goals? What helped you take the new actions you wanted to take?
Seasonally: How are your daily habits aligned with the current season? Are you prepared for the next change of seasons? Essentially, do you have a strategy that is nimble enough to adjust, yet strong enough to keep you on course when transitions occur in your life?
Want to know more about how to live in sync with the winter season? Check out this winter guide from Banyan Botanicals.
Photo credit: Isaac Smith