The New Year is a time many of us invest in our health and in healthy habits. The art of making New Year’s resolutions is a forgiving one that can be adapted to work for you in your own way. There’s no right or wrong way to set resolutions for yourself, but keeping them can be tricky.
In Chinese Medicine, strong Kidney Qi helps us keep our resolutions. The Kidneys house the spirit of Zhi, or strong will. If we have taken good care and rested adequately over the winter months, the Zhi will be strong and keeping resolutions will be easy. If you work in a job that doesn’t naturally slow down over the Winter months (like retail or the food and beverage industry), the Zhi and the Kidneys can be a little weakened and won’t bode well for keeping New Year’s resolutions.
Here are some little tricks to help with successful New Year’s resolutions well into Spring.
- Use your little electronic device for good! If you’re into gadgets and technology, this could work well for you. For example, if you work a desk job and one of your intentions is to get up and move every hour for five minutes, you could set an alarm on your clock or desktop to remind you to get up and move during the work day. If you have specific fitness goals, you can add an App to begin working towards them. Some good recommendations, depending on your choice of workout, include: Treadmill Trails, Bvddy, Charity Miles, Vida Health Coach, Fitocracy, 5 minute yoga or Seven.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition. The ancient yogis knew about this one in relation to the practice of japa mantra. Modern neuroscience is now echoing the same story. It takes repetition to create new neural pathways and about 3 months to solidify a new habit or new way of thinking. You don’t need to repeat your mantra 108 times each day to be successful with this one. Carving out a few minutes in the morning to either write or say aloud your new intention, in the present tense (as though it is already manifested), can do wonders for creating the energy needed to sustain resolutions.
- Place your goals where you can see them! Sticky notes or lipstick on the mirror was a favorite method of my college roommate, but you can place a piece of paper on your fridge or front door. Someplace where you will see your resolution multiple times throughout the day. Take 5 seconds to remind yourself and connect with your resolution each time you see it, and build positive change.
- I learned this one from my Kindergarten teachers, but it still works for me: create a physical rewards system where you can see your accumulated results. I like to set up a small intentional space on a desk or table with a little box that contains 108 tiny turquoise and coral beads. Each day that I stick to my resolutions, I move one bead from the box onto a little dish. The visible pile begins to grow quickly and with it my confidence. There are endless ways to count ~90 days with physical representatives that are meaningful to you, or you can always mark each day you met your goals on your wall calendar and see how they quickly begin to add up.
- Join a community with similar goals to keep you on track. Having a workout buddy, a couple of friends or a group of strangers can be a wonderfully effective way to stay motivated. There are plenty of mornings that I might have skipped morning Qigong practice if it wasn’t for the group of people I knew would be there. Community does wonders for helping us uphold commitments to ourselves.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2019, filled with positive changes. May your health be luminous and bright!
Julie Baron is an East Asian Medicine Practitioner at the Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. Julie seeks to empower individuals and communities. As a movement and mindfulness educator, she has a penchant for functional anatomy. As an EAMP, she has also has a passion for herbal medicine.