A New Year’s resolution is a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year. With the end of one year and the potential for a new fresh slate, has long invited people to both reflect and resolve to change undesired traits or behaviors.
In fact, New Year’s resolutions are not only a modern-day trend. It is said that Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts; that the Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named; and, that in the Medieval era, knights took “peacock vows” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
I’ve always felt New Year’s resolutions, to be frank, were a bit bogus. Something we resolve to change about ourselves on an often-superficial level, that ultimately, when dropped by the 2nd or 3rd week of January, leaves us feeling worse about ourselves than we did before. Statistics show that, while 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, only 9% of people feel they were in fact successful in achieving their resolution. Not exactly a ringing endorsement to jump on the New Year’s resolution train!
However, with the changing of the calendar year it is impossible to not reflect on the year we have left behind, and with that, what we want to cultivate in ourselves for the future. I’ve always appreciated the Judaism tradition of the New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), where one reflects upon one’s wrongdoings over the year, and both seek and offer forgiveness. A tradition routed in self-reflection, examination, and introspection; a popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of a wish for a sweet new year.
Having personally made some serious life changes over the past 9 months, including but not limited to, exiting my high-profile job in the fashion industry, leaving my husband for a month to head upstate for a 300-hour rigorous yoga teacher training with Jivamukti for the entire month of May, becoming a vegan, and working to deal with my anxiety and depression with lessoned help of pharmaceutical drugs, 2016 had enough changes to last a lifetime.
So, instead of choosing a New Year’s resolution, after listening to a podcast The School of Greatness, and interview with Joshua Fields Millburn, the co-founder of The Minimalists; for the month of January I’ve been challenging myself (and my husband) to Millburn’s “Minimalism Game”. For the month, each of us has to get rid of one thing on the first day, on the second, two things, three items on the third. So forth, and so on. Anything can go, clothes, furniture, electronics, old beauty products (in my case), or old cds/media (in the case of my music industry attorney husband). Donate, sell, or trash. Whatever it is, it just must be out of our lives—by midnight each day. A challenge to test our willingness to get rid of our excess stuff, and consider what truly adds value to our lives. Whoever can keep it going the longest wins. We’ve decided to put the stakes on a nice dinner out at our favorite date night spot. Either way, we both win, as this means spending quality time together (infinitely more valuable than a beloved Helmut Lang blazer no longer applicable for “work attire” as a yogi!) At this point, I’m about half way through the month, and with 159 less items in my life, it’s been refreshing, challenging, and an interesting kick off to the new year.
And with that, personally, I walked into 2017 with a simple wish to remain committed to the changes I’ve made, and with the hope to cultivate inner peace by practicing compassion towards myself and others. A promise that I feel confident I can follow through on: clearing out material clutter to create literal and theoretical space for happiness within. Instead of throwing everything out the window, with resolutions to change my entire life and personality; I look forward to this year, with any luck, as a year filled with greater appreciation for who I am, flaws, imperfections and all. New Year, same me, and it feels great.
Recently joining the Provita Team, Dorothy has naturally infused herself into Provita’s heart and soul and has become an integral part of our efforts and team to spread fitness, health and wellness. Dorothy was originally drawn to yoga for it’s challenging physical asana practice. However, soon her interest in the spiritual elements of her yoga practice grew, with its intrinsic ability to heal. With an innate ability to relate and engage, Dorothy has a distinctive interest in helping her students find balance, healing, connection to the world around us, and realization of their unique personal potential. She practices daily, and continues to remain committed to a life of exploration – cultivating peace, health, wellness, compassion, and love. To book a session with Dorothy, please click here.
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