Boosting our resolutions

Can we give you a little boost for your new resolutions?

By Martine van Beusekom

The making of New Year’s resolutions on January 1st is historically linked to the symbolism of the new year and the desire to pursue self-improvement. It is likely originated from age-old cultural and religious practices. We often see the beginning of the new year as a fresh start, a moment to leave bad habits behind and to make positive changes in our lives. So, collectively, we take steps to modify habits, avoid extremes and to set goals.

And that this is not always easy for everyone and in all circumstances becomes apparent after just a few weeks. We succumbed to temptations and abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. And to make the whole thing more challenging, this often coincides with a period in the year characterized by cold, rain and darkness. Some call it Blue Monday. Ugh. 

Can we support you with some ayurvedic tips?

  1. If you are somewhat familiar with Ayurveda, you know that this system recognizes three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha – which determine one’s individual basic constitution. Each constitution has it unique needs to maintain balance and feel well. If your New Year’s resolution aligns with creating harmony among these doshas, you will benefit from it. For instance, if you are more of a kapha type, have overindulged over Christmas and decide to embrark on a two-day hot water cleanse, there’s a good chance you will feel better. However, if you are someone with vata-related issues like sleep problems and restlessness, and you choose a salad diet to start the New Year with and decide to exercise vigorously every day, you might risk throwing yourself further out of balance. Choosing for warm comforting food and rest might benefit you more at this moment. Trust your intuition, go for what works for you and opt for self-care that restores your equilibrium.
  2. Ayurveda encourages gradual and achievable changes instead of sudden, drastic ones. Avoiding extremes and incrementally integrating new habits increases the likelihood of long-term success. Gradually introduce change to your eating habits or lifestyle that you can sustain in the long run. Don’t force yourself to go to the gym if you don’t enjoy it, instead, choose a form of exercise that brings you joy. Allow yourself that morning coffee and commit to drinking more warm water throughout the day, cutting down on other cups. Set the alarm on time in the morning and establish a pleasant morning routine for yourself. No problem if you miss it once in a while, we are all human. Just start again the next day. Small changes often lead to significant results. There is a strong power in a healthy daily routine.
  3. I hope you don’t misuse this advice, but sometimes it’s just not the right time for too many changes or to adjust a ‘bad habit’. Occasionally, you may need this habit at that moment to cope with what is going on in your life, of course within boundaries. Be especially kind to yourself and let it be for now. Perhaps you need the sweet in your diet for the moment to feel good. Assess whether it’s the right time to this change in your life. Maybe it will be more successful when spring begins, which is a more natural period of letting go. Or safe the goalsetting for after your exams or when the stress at work is a bit less. Always be conscious of the fact that what might be the best option for someone else, is not always the best for you.
  4. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of self-awareness. Before attempting to change habits, it is crucial to be aware of current habits and the reasons behind them. Why do you need them? Meditation helps to calm your mind, find inner peace and become aware of your thoughts and habits. Yoga can give mental flexibility and better understanding of yourself. And mindfulness can help you to be present in the current moment and can also support you in this journey of change.
  5. And last but not least, it is important to realize that habits are deeply ingrained and require time and effort to change. That is the reason why we tend to revert to familiar old habits over time. Therefore, ensure that you set realistic goals, increasing the likelihood of sustainability. This will also boost your motivation. Don’t be disheartened if you face setbacks. Simply start over and see if your immediate surroundings can join you – that always helps. It can be challenging to maintain a commitment like ‘Dry January’ if, for instance, your partner stays committed to a glass of wine on a daily basis.

Stay happy and healthy!