I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. In fact, a couple of years ago when I noticed that many of my sentences about my life began with “if only…” and “when X happens, I’ll be happier,” I made a life-changing decision to stop wishing my life away and live in the present. Instead of waiting for the “perfect conditions” or hoping I would find the “perfect job,” I made sure to appreciate what I had and make more time for the things I loved. Gradually, I adopted a more regular work-out routine; I read more books on a regular basis; I cooked more at home; I prioritized getting together with friends (sometimes at the expense of sleep) & visiting family regularly; I bought more tickets for cultural events like the ballet, Broadway shows, and friends’ comedy shows. As a result, I’ve found that my life feels more balanced even amidst a hectic schedule.
While I don’t make specific resolutions for the new year like participate in Dry January, or eliminate carbohydrates from my diet, I like to re-center myself at the beginning of each new year. Last night, I took a hot yoga class for the first time in a long time. I used to do yoga regularly, but when I switched gyms a long time ago, I never got back into the routine. There are a lot of yoga-esque moves incorporated into the barre classes I often take, so thankfully I wasn’t as rusty as I thought I would be!
During last night’s practice, our teacher had us participate in a mala, which is much different than the traditional vinyasa yoga classes I’ve taken. A mala commemorates the changing seasons and is usually done in conjunction with the solstice. In a full mala, participants do 108 sun salutations in 4 rounds with each round dedicated to a different purpose. Last night, we did about a half mala or close to 56 sun salutations.
After the practice, while lying sweaty in corpse pose, I thought about the four rounds of dedications we’d done and how I would like to focus more on these things in the coming year. So, here are the four things I’m focusing on in 2018:
- Myself–It’s weird to think about one’s self especially when so often we feel selfish if we celebrate our selves. Have you ever taken the time to thank yourself? Or congratulate yourself on overcoming adversity. This year, I will focus on remaining kind to myself mentally and physically (more sleep!).
- My loved ones- My loved ones are often at the forefront of my mind, but in 2018, I would like to focusing on showing my gratitude through acts of service (my love language).
- My challenges/challengers- This dedication came at the most challenging part of the practice and I found it empowering to think about my adversaries while doing more chaturangas (aka the yoga push-up/low plank) than I’d ever done in my life and sweating profusely onto the mat and floor (sorry, yoga studio). I love a good physical challenge, but this year I focus on being more grateful for the other challenges I face in life instead of wishing they would disappear. Challenges help me solidify my beliefs and motivate me to fight for the change I wish to see.
- All beings- I make it a point to be polite and kind to those I encounter in my every day life and since I live in New York City, I encounter a lot of people on a daily basis. However, in 2018, I would like to focus on being a stronger advocate for marginalized voices and actively work to amplify those voices.
These things certainly aren’t new and are already on my mind, but this year, I’d like to deepen my commitment to them. What are you focusing on in the coming year?