Scrap New Year’s Resolutions: Opt for a 40-Day Practice.

One strand at a time.
One strand at a time.

One strand at a time.

Set yourself up for success this year using ancient wisdom for modern life. This new year, dream your dreams, make your plans, then commit to a 40-day (or more) practice and achieve your goals.

The 40-day practice is a long spiritual tradition aimed towards creating powerful change and new habits. Yoga practitioners have used this practice to bring about change and transformation, creating 40-day, 120-day and 1000-day practices. Put this ancient wisdom to work for you.

1. Pour yourself a cup of tea, light a candle, put on music and allow your imagination to paint the canvas of the coming year. What do you wish to create this year? Is health a priority? Is this the year you create an energized you? A calmer you? A more confident you? Become a more patient parent or partner? Do you have your sights on a new career or position? Do you wish to start your own business or dive into the arts? Do you plan to prepare healthier meals or make time for self-care? Write your list.

2. Determine the details. Do your dreams have a due date? Is it a spring conference you’re planning? A summer charity drive? A fall book release? Slimmer and trimmer by your family reunion? Or is it a dream that will unfold over time? Our dreams can look big. Too big. Often we become overwhelmed by their size. How do we accomplish such a grand dream? One step at a time.

3. Here’s the magic. Commit to your dream(s) every day for 40+ days. A client wanted to find time to exercise and eat better. She committed to 40 days of yoga. 20 minutes each evening – the time when cravings took over and snacking took place. She stayed with her commitment, showing up for herself each day of the 40 days, no matter what was happening in her life. She stopped evening snacking, since she was too busy doing yoga to be poking around the pantry. She slept better as her practice allowed her to de-stress at the end of each day. And she felt better with regular movement every day. One simple change, practiced daily, awarded her a wealth of benefits. One of the greatest: that she showed up each day as her own champion.

Planning an event, new business venture, mastering a skill, writing a book? Dedicate even 15 minutes every day towards your project. Allow room for new inspiration, ideas and people to surface and coincidences to appear. The magic is that when you show up each day, when you declare to yourself and the universe, “I am here. Let’s do this,” the universe obliges and begins to funnel resources your way. That 15 minutes may be researching details, sketching ideas, investigating options, or it may turn into a meeting, a class, a collaboration, an outline, the first chapter, a green smoothie, or 10 sun salutations. If your dream has no deadline, commit to 40 days and see what unfolds. If your project has a place on the calendar, your daily practice is set in stone until that day.

4. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. See yourself completing your dreams. See it in detail. Who are you with? How do you feel? Allow yourself to feel the celebrated success of your accomplishments right now. Let every cell light up in joy, relief, completion, celebration, recognition, and gratitude. See the smiling faces around you and feel your dreams in form.

5. Show up January 1st. And 2nd. And 3rd. And every day of your practice. Mark it on your calendar. Keep it simple. Take a step each day towards your dreams. The year will pass whether you show up or not. Where do you want to be at this time next year? Walk towards it. If you feel better taking that walk alone then keep your agenda sacred. If you wish to make that walk with a friend, enlist support: trustworthy, caring, dedicated support of good friends or family and be accountable to them as you become more accountable to you and your dreams.

Be gentle with yourself. A daily practice does not mean you will not work hard. It does mean you agree to show up each day, no matter what. And with that commitment the work may be hard but the struggle will be less. Hard work does not tire us. Struggle, however, is exhausting. There is no need to struggle as each day you agree to take one step. One step towards your health, your creativity, your service and gifts, your purpose and fulfillment. After all, these are your greatest dreams. Enjoy the walk.

Make this the year to accomplish all your heart desires. And make room for the possibility that your heart may surprise you with greater abundance, joy, passion, wisdom, success and love than even you can dream.

Happy New Year!

Inspirations:

40 days of green juices

40 days of gratitude

40 days of dance

40 days of service

40 days of learning something new

120 days of writing

120 days of painting

120 days of yoga

120 days of saving for a trip or class

120 days of creating your new business

Resources for starting and sticking with your 40-day practice:

My Yoga Online – for yoga videos, recipes, health & wellness practices and supportive community.

Spirit Voyage 40 day global practices.

The Writer’s Circle with Jenna Avery – because it’s time to write that book.

100 Days of Spring Forest Qigong™ - cultivate energy, empower yourself.

 

3-Day Reset

Reset, naturally.
Reset, naturally.

Reset, naturally.

Creative projects are on the rise – spilling out onto scrap pieces of paper around the house – and I notice the portion of chocolate-covered pretzels has steadily increased while yoga has decreased as my source of fuel.

Rather than plow through and set myself up for a full detox, I choose a 3-day reset to restore balance in my body, my work, my creativity, and my sanity.

Before the chocolate train takes me any further, I make a quick stop at Reset-ville. A 3-day stay always does the trick for me.

There are 5 parts to my 3-day reset:

1. Sweat and stretch. I replace my home practice with a trip to hot yoga and a deeply detoxifying hour of sweating, breathing, and stretching. I take 1 litre of mountain spring water with me, complete with added flower essences to support my practice. I chose Strong and Beautiful from Wild Rose College this time. If hot yoga isn’t your thing, try a studio that offers a warm flow instead of the full hot. If you prefer, grab a cycling class or Zumba, just remember a good, long post-sweat stretch. Show up all 3 days.

2. Liquid nourishment. I hit the grocery store pre-3 day reset and grab beets, carrots, chard or greens of choice, and apples. Ginger, too, if you like. I found fresh pea shoots this time – why not? I juice enough veg for 2 cups of juice and add 2 cups of mountain spring water, put the blend in a pitcher in the fridge and drink it throughout the day. I add another litre of spring water to my day -on its own or as herbal teas.

3. Eat clean. I keep dairy, gluten, and sugar at bay for the 3-day stay at Reset-ville. I enjoy rice, veg and chicken or fish. I snack on nuts and goji berries, and warm my belly with chia-chaga porridge with hemp hearts, apples, coconut oil and cinnamon.Try a rice pudding recipe for inspiration.

4. Get salty. A daily detox bath with himalayan salts, dead sea salts, or herbal salt blend of choice provides nourishing hydrotherapy. Add essential oils of mint and lavender or deeply-relaxing neroli. Grapefruit is energizing and sweet orange provides a lift. Petitgrain is purifying.

5. Play footsies. Self-massage helps with the reset and connects you to your body. After your bath rub each body part with a quality oil. Add essential oils for the benefits of aromatherapy. Pay particular attention to your feet. Give yourself a reflexology treatment as you rub rich cocoa butter or oil into your tender tootsies. Better yet, if you have a willing companion, exchange foot rubs with one another. Don’t forget the kids. Rubbing your little ones’ feet is a nourishing way to send wee ones off to dreamtime.

If your plate is full and there is more to do on the horizon, don’t wait for a break to get a handle on your health. Try a 3-day reset and restore balance naturally.