You can’t catch happiness; it has to catch you. Slow down so it has an easy target.
So there you are, stepping onto the scale after a month of holiday indulgences. This year, you promise yourself, will be the one where you lose those 4 kg and keep them off. But what makes 2018 any different than all the other years you made this pledge? And why are you waiting until January 1st to make this change?
According to an often-cited study conducted by the University of Scranton in the United States, over 50% of people make serious New Year’s resolutions, and only 8% of those people actually keep them. Losing weight or stopping a bad habit like smoking are the most common promises people make when confronted with a new year. But then why do we abandon our gym routines or nicotine gum somewhere in mid-February?
Dr. Roberta Anding has a strong opinion on this subject. “January 1 signifies a new beginning,” she writes in The Huffington Post. “However, each day allows for a new beginning, and hence it is a reset.”
Your new beginning starts today, every day
Wise words. We encourage you to celebrate each day as a new beginning. So the fact that we choose an arbitrary date like January 1st to start our new beginning is not only silly, it’s counterproductive. That’s why we suggest looking at 2018 in a different way. We believe you can reach any goal you set for yourself by embracing one simple thing: the art of slowing down. And there’s no better way to do this than by eschewing New Year’s resolutions in favour of creating rituals all year round.
Rituals, not resolutions
Rituals have the power to ground us and find happiness in even the smallest of moments. They require us to slow down our racing minds and be present in the moment. When we take the time to focus on what’s happening this second rather than where we want to be in 3 months from now, we’re creating new neural pathways in the brain—which leads to long-lasting change for the better.
The fact of the matter is: resolutions don’t last. Rituals do.
Here’s an example. Imagine that you’ve vowed to eliminate sugar completely from your diet. Then, during a particularly chaotic day at work, you find yourself rooting around your office for that last bastion of emergency chocolate. You binge, feel sated for around two minutes, and then immediately the guilt feeling sets in.
Stop. Slow down. It happens.
Rather than beating yourself up, put on your coat and take a walk around the block. Notice the sights, smells and sounds of winter. Feel the crisp air against your face and breathe deeply. This is a form of meditation. Listen to that voice inside yourself that says tomorrow is another day—a new start—and you will do better. For dinner tonight, eat a delicious salad with fresh, sustainable ingredients. Take the time to enjoy preparing and eating your meal. For inspiration, read our article about soulful cooking here. The next time you get an unhealthy craving, remember to take things one step at a time, and you won’t give into it.
And with that, you’ve just created a new ritual. One that you can practice the entire year, whenever you feel stress levels rising or self-doubt creeping in. It really is as easy as it sounds.
Live with intent for a more soulful life
Focusing on the things that are good in life—even the smallest of things—is the essence of soulful living. And when we live soulfully, anything is possible. All it requires of us is to pause, reflect and live in the here and now. To listen to our inner self and let external worries fade away. Instead of obsessing about unrealistic, specific goals, simply live each moment with intent. When we do this, we become more emotionally and physically prepared to attain the life we want. We also experience more joy.
2018: the year of slowing down and becoming your best self
So, when you’re agonizing over making your New Year’s resolutions in the upcoming days, why not make just one? Resolve to slow down.
Resolve to take the time to start a daily yoga practice instead of signing up for a gym membership you’ll stop using in a couple of months. Resolve to pamper yourself with a long, luxurious bath instead of a 5 minute shower. Resolve to stop and see the beauty of others, in yourself, and in the great wide world around you.
Make 2018 the year you slow down. Join us in living a more soulful life and become the best version of yourself.