I used to make crappy New Year’s Resolutions. (After much thought - yes - crappy is the most effective word to use here). I’d start by thinking of all of the things that made me feel not good enough in the world, making a nice little list, and then, from my self-created world of guilt, resolve to become an entirely different person. I don’t think I need to tell you that I almost always failed to keep these resolutions, which added to the guilt, the not-good-enough-ness. It was truly effective. Beautiful to watch.
In spite of this crappiness, I’ve always loved the promise of a fresh start. To me, New Year’s Day is the perfect time to re-evaluate, a chance to ask myself what I’ve gained in the past year and be honest about what I’d like to change. In the past few years, learning about the nuances of languaging (thank you, yoga teacher training) has taught me about the power of my thoughts. Countless studies have shown how our thoughts program our cells, our actions, our lives. Beginning the year by focusing on the ways that I’m less-than was only setting me up for a year of feeling less-than. So, what to do instead? Good question.
Positive, affirming statements.
If you’re a methodical, formula-loving, type-A person like me, you’re gonna love this. Ready?
I + present-tense verb + affirmative goal.
Here are a few examples:
Limiting statement: “I want to stop eating all junk food forevermore.”
Affirming statement: “I nourish my body.”
Limiting statement: “I’m going to exercise every day.”
Affirming statement: “I move my body in ways that make me feel alive.”
Limiting statement: “I’m bad with money.”
Affirming statement: “I budget carefully.”
Instead of a resolution/goal/something you can succeed or fail at, these statements can become a mantra for you. A reminder. A shift in perspective. Instead of setting rigid, black-and-white goals, these statements also provide wiggle-room. Maybe a big order of fries would feel nourishing to you today. Maybe dancing around the living room with your dog makes you feel most alive. These goals are not dragging you toward a number or specific achievement, but supporting your ability to make decisions that connect you to your higher self.
This year, I encourage you to sit down with a journal. Write about what you learned in the past 365 days. Ask yourself the tough questions: How can you better align with your purpose? How can you better care for yourself? What shifts can you make to support your happiness? From that space of reflection, craft your positive, affirming statement.
I love you all so much. May your new year be filled with every possible blessing and heartache that leads you closer to your purpose.
P.s. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how deeply the Kripalu School of Yoga and Dr. Lisa Garner Santa have taught me on this subject. All that I know and understand about affirmative mantras is because of the opportunities they created for me to dive deep. Thank you.