January makes sense as a great time of the year to work out your goals.
I always start by looking at areas that feel like they need some change or improvement. What parts of your life could be better? Think about all aspects here – family, work, finances and your health.
By thinking about multiple areas and how they connect together, you’ll find balance. For example, while it’s an amazing goal to do a daily meditation, and I think you should, if you set aside a huge amount of time for mediating but never see your family and friends you might have better mental clarity but your loved ones aren’t happy because they never see you! This is out of balance. When finding your areas of improvement think big but be on the lookout for any negative unintended consequences.
Setting goals helps us fulfil a very important human need. The need to feel like you are growing and making progress as a person. When this is not happening, there can be an underlying sense of discontent and frustration from the knowing, deep down that you are capable of more.
I had this experience when I first tried yoga. When I first started I was bad, real bad. I came to yoga right at the bottom, at total zero. I couldn’t do a quarter of what the class was doing. I was used to being good at anything that required physicality. Yoga? A different story. It was new to me and at first a major dose of humility was required. I was challenged big time by some real simple yoga poses. I did recognise though, that I shouldn’t feel so awkward in my body and I shouldn’t find this so difficult. It was something where major improvement was required.
I knew deep down i was capable of more. It’s said that the area’s where you are challenged the most, also provide the most room for growth. I committed to improvement. To being a better version of myself.
When you start something very new it can be a struggle and the upward curve can be so subtle that it’s imperceiveable. It doesn’t seem to make any difference. After some perseverance however, it starts to come. For me with yoga, at first, it was a feeling. I have to admit, up until this point in my life, I wasn’t much of a “feelings” kind of guy. Yet, I could FEEL it working. I felt amazing. Nothing else in the physical realm had even come close, to matching this feeling. It took a bit longer, but I started to see my body lengthen out. I felt and looked lighter without any actual change to my weight. Strength, which I had developed over the years, was starting to become balanced with more flexibility. The strength I had, was becoming functional. I was hooked. Yoga, was helping me feel and look great.
I began to wonder why I was only discovering yoga now? What had I been doing all this time? Aaaaagghh. I felt like I needed to make up for lost time. It ignited immense drive and passion in me, which I still have to this day. I wanted to know, experience and learn as much as I could. I was on a mission. I dedicated time and money to this process. I would travel all over Sydney in the early days, to catch all the great teachers who were around. Then, I began to radiate outside of my familiar landscape and travelled all over the world; Mexico, Bali, Greece and the U.S.A to learn from the best. I did classes and trainings with whomever I was called to.
I discovered over time, that apart from all the wonderful knowledge that is gained from great teachers, it’s the inspiration they provide which has the greatest effect. It helped me cultivate a stronger practice and in turn, a better sense of self. It got me dreaming about what else is possible. When you find someone who inspires you, that person will often see capability in you, that you didn’t know you had. Your horizon for what’s possible expands. What you aspire to, grows. You start dreaming. You feel like you’re growing, developing, moving forward. Your whole life has an upward lift and not the downward spiral that comes from doing nothing. I recently came across a quote by Lou Holtz which bluntly sums this up.