Responsible resolutions in six steps

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

At a recent Yin Yoga class, I chose to teach with the theme “responsibility”. Yin yoga is a practice that requires no effort. All postures should be relaxed into.  A target area is defined and the practitioner focuses on relaxing that area whilst feeling the edge between that sweet spot where the stretch is felt and the point at which the stretch is painful.  Each person practicing Yin must take responsibility for finding this edge and surrendering into it.  It is a delicate balancing act where the body has the opportunity to achieve maximum gain with minimal effort. Pushing or pulling into a yin posture is likely to result in injury so the responsibility must be taken seriously.

As with all yoga, what you practice on the mat can be practiced off the mat.  There is responsibility in every situation.  If you participate, you can take responsibility for your participation. If you sit back and let life happen to you, you must also take responsibility for your lack of participation.  The reality in which you exist is a reflection of how you are on the inside. As you look at your life through the lens of your conditioning, what can you see? Do you like what you are seeing?

Life has a way of providing the lessons we need to learn and presenting them over and over until we can clearly see what we have missed. Taking responsibility for your participation, or lack thereof, is acknowledging your role in the reality of your world.

Maybe you are not happy with your job and you complain about it. Maybe you talk about leaving and complain about how the company is run. Whatever your current reality is, it’s only when you take responsibility for your part that you acknowledge what you have created. Ask yourself how you would like your world to look.

With the dawn of each new year, many make resolutions to do things differently. Stop drinking, stop smoking, eat healthy, exercise more. Gyms and yoga studios hit peak season in January whilst bars and restaurants tend to see a decline in business. Year after year, the cycle goes on. Year after year people make the same resolutions only to see their resolve fall by the wayside before February is through.

The key to success lies in taking responsibility.  Your reality is a reflection of your inner state of being. The mirror that is your world reflects your lessons back to you, challenging you to courageously make the changes that lead to true evolution.

Start with your current reality
Are you happy with your life in this moment (relationship, family, friends, work etc)? Make a list of the things you love about your life and a list of the things you would like to change. If you find yourself complaining regularly about something – work, relationship, health – try to identify your responsibility for that part of your life. Remember to be compassionate both with yourself and others as you undertake this exercise.

Define your ideal vision
Maybe you see yourself in a new job. Maybe you see yourself with less weight or in better health. Maybe you see changes in your current relationship. If you are single, you may see yourself entering a relationship. Write down the vision you have for yourself in your ideal reality. Try to do this without the lens of your conditioning or without considering what others will think about your vision. Allow yourself to dream big!

Set relevant goals
From this vision of a new reality, pick out your key goals. List them down and imagine what changes you would have to make in order to achieve these goals.

Start NOW!
The time is now. The time is always now. Tomorrow is always a day away. Don’t procrastinate. Take responsibility for your vision in the current moment. Keep your list of goals somewhere close and read them every day.  Make sure to do something every day to bring you closer to your goals. You are the creator of your own reality. Like the practice of yin yoga, focus on the goal which you have set. When you are focused and taking responsibility, the change becomes effortless.  Little by little each passing day you will create reality from your vision.

Maintain your focus
True change happens slowly over time. By maintaining focus on your goal, you won’t lose site of the vision you wish to create. If it’s a new job you envisage or a new business, do a little something every day to try to make this a reality. If it’s weight loss or improved health, take the small positive steps each day that will keep you balanced in that sweet spot where change is effortless versus the painful point where it feels too hard making you want to quit.

Practice self love and compassion
Throughout this process, practice loving yourself. Show yourself compassion. Accept where you find yourself each day and take responsibility for what you are creating.

There are less than 20 days remaining in 2014. Let the evolution begin today. Strive towards the vision of the life you wish to see for yourself for this is your world and you are the creator… go create!