6 Tips to Make Your 2014 Resolutions Real

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If you’re like me (and at least 50% of Americans) It’s likely that you’ve been dancing into New Year resolutions.  (Yay for positive growth and self-care!) 

 

This time of year is a great time for renewed commitment.  But, it turns out that 88% of Americans fail at meeting their New Year resolutions.   

 

Why?   

 

(What interests me about my resolutions – and yours – is what might cause us to succeed in keeping them.  So, I’ve done some research into the science.)

 

It turns out that motivation doesn’t function in terms of broad goals.  Our brains just get overwhelmed when we tell ourselves to do things like “loose weight,” “work smarter,” “eat healthier.”   

We are hard wired to change incrementally – in specific, manageable ways.   

 

In my coaching practice and in the practice of Dancing Freedom, which is a practice of self development and liberation, I like to say, “Non-specificity is a form of sabotage.”    In other words: 

 

We need to be specific about what we want to change, create, let go of or begin, if we are going to succeed in living the lives we want for ourselves. 

 

Here are 5 tips for making commitments to yourself for the coming year (or any time of year) that stick. 

 

1.)  Focus on intrinsic rather than extrinsic goals.  

We are more deeply motivated by goals that come from inside – goals like feeling good, having more intimacy, practicing gratitude or connecting with wild nature.  External goals – like looking good, having more friends or making more money – set us up to fail in our own eyes and in the eyes of the projected “other” who we are trying to please. 

 

2.) Be specific rather than general.

Get very clear about the habit you want to change, rather than setting a generalized goal.  Examples:

 

General resolution:  Dance more.

Specific habit:  I dance twice times a week – once on Sundays and at least one other class or event. 

General resolution:  Eat healthy.

Specific habit:  I make a green smoothie every morning instead of coffee and toast (yummm!).

General resolution:  Get in shape.

Specific habit:  I take a power walk every morning after finishing the kid’s breakfast and my first round of to-dos.

General resolution:  Manage stress.

Specific habit:  I take 5 minutes every morning to breathe and pray before I do anything else. 

 

3.) One goal rather than a life-makeover.  

Decide the one thing that is most important to you, then focus on that.  Example:  I’m focusing on radiant health.  This also supports me in secondary goals around spiritual practice, fitness, diet and stress management.  

 

4.) Doable rather than crazy ambitious.

Similarly, choose something you can actually DO, rather than thin about while you feel shameful and guilty that you’re not doing it.  My to-do is to exercise at least 5 days a week in a way that gives me joy (dance, yoga, hiking, riding my bike).

 

5.) Notice and affirm.

When you DO that one, doable thing, make sure you a.) notice yourself doing it and b.) affirm yourself for doing it.  This creates a positive loop in the brain that allows the habit to stick.  (It turns out that we are not that different from Pavlov’s dogs.)

 

6.) Create accountability.

Write down your goals or tell a few friends or loved ones who are willing to check in with you on a regular basis about your progress.

 

I hope this helps you focus your intentions and resolutions for the coming year.  As I move into my own intention of RADIANT HEALTH, I hope to see you in the dance!  

 

Love,  

Samantha

 

I found this useful, too.  🙂

What to do upon waking

ImageWaking up is sacred business.  In the moments between dreaming and waking, the universe changes.  That is, the universe as you (and you really are a whole universe!) shifts consciousness in a truly basic and radical way.  When we are asleep, we dream the world awake.  When we are awake, we live it.  How you surf the numinous bridge between your dreaming and your waking matters to the way experience meaning, authenticity, connection and fulfillment in your life.  Do you live in and create from the architectures of your soul’s dreaming, or do you live as a lonely wanderer in a world that alienates your essence?  The choice is up to you.  It’s all about making the bridge between your true creative capacity and your daily life.  The moments between sleeping and waking hold powerful keys to becoming the You that you dream you can be.

What do you DO with your dreams?  Literally.  What is the first thing you DO upon waking?  The difference between really “inspired” people and other people is that inspired people DO something with their guidance.  Everyone gets inspiration.  But it takes focus to let that stream of big information flow through you into words and actions, blogs and art pieces, conversations and businesses.  It takes attention and diligence to repeatedly create a living bridge between your dreams and the behaviors and physical forms of your life.   But, it’s pretty much the only game worth playing while living a human life.  That is, if you want to know and feel and experience the crazy awesome pleasure that comes from creating in integrity with who you really ARE. So, you might as well get GOOD at it.

How do you wake yourself?  What thoughts are habitual at that tender moment of bridging this world and the other world of dreamtime?  Do you pause to receive your dreams?  And do you take the time to thank your life and pray your way into the day?

Here’s some tips from my own practice of navigating waking.

What do I do upon waking:

Listen.  Stay as still and as quiet as possible and listen to the tender bridge between my dreams and my waking.  Occasionally, I will write them down.

A yawning big-cat stretch.  Taking a few moments to feel the soft animal of my body.

Here’s what my inner self talk sounded like:

Long listening silence, simply feeling.

“Good morning beauty.  Good morning dreams.  Good morning breath.  (Big breath!)

Thank you for my life.”

Listening to my dreams:

What often comes for me, these days, is something like a directive.  This blog, for example.  This is what came through my dreams to DO, to SHARE, to co-create a more awesome and evolutionarily optimal conversation with my world.  But, sometimes, what comes is visions that aren’t so easily translated.  These are fun.  Other times, what comes is the need to feel into something disturbing, or to let myself thing and feel long and hard about some old unresolved loss.  It is always a healing opportunity.  And, if I am honest with myself (about my honest feelings, pleasant or not) and present with the dream images themselves, the healing bundle always reveals itself.  Dreams can be subconscious or superconscious, lucid or non-lucid.  All of them are valuable.  The more present you become to them, the more lucid and superconscious they often become, and the more powerfully they inform the living of your life.

Remember, even if you feel grumpy or stiff or a bit hung over, this is YOUR day:

All the world: the bird, the dawn, the smallest green thing, is saying to you, “LOVE YOUR LIFE.”  All that life wants from you is that you soften and open to living.

It’s up to you to listen and to STAY AWAKE.

Living Questions #1: Intimacy

Living Questions Part 1:

Somatic Sensing and The Real Conditions Of Intimacy

Think of yourself as an experiential scientist.  You are the researcher.  Your life and your experience is the laboratory.  The dance is the experiment.

In this laboratory called LIVING, what you can see, sense, feel, test out and replicate for yourself is proof, it is the evidence, the verification, of what works.  It reveals an experiential (or phenomonological) condition of reality.  It reveals the true conditions through which consciousness arises.  So, If it is true for the body & heart… it is probably TRUE.  If we can embrace this in mindfullness, we can actually start to live non-dually – in body and spirit, in transcendence and immanence, AT THE SAME TIME.

Here’s a collection of questions about INTIMACY that I use when teaching Movement Genius, Dancing Freedom, Contact Improv and Partner Yoga.  They are sourced from a lifetime of work in embodied leadership & practice, and from my coaching & healing practice.  The basic premise:  What is true somatically is true holographically.  We can test things out for ourselves through real experiences and integrate what we learn on a CORE LEVEL through somatic awareness and mindfullness.

If we can feel and know it through the body, we can learn how to apply it to life.  If some way of being is out of alignment with the body or heart’s well being, it is probably out of harmony with the universe, as well.

When I do this work, I create an agreement field that we are all on a level playing field in terms of our basic equipment.  In other words, in a class filled with able-bodied people, we are all equipped with with two legs, two arms, a spine, the same sensory organs.  We all have the capacity to move, the capacity to respond and the capacity to react.  Most of us are dealing with hidden bumps, bruises or pain – either physical or emotional.   We are all mammals; we are all people.  We are all Spirits in bodies.  We all have hidden vulnerabilites, and part of compassion is to allow presence for this.

We are all the same; and, each of us is an-other alive, creative & entirely unique self.

The only RULE is YOU CAN NOT DO IT WRONG.

For the first half of class, I ask you to focus primarily on the direct body-based experience, to dive into the minutia of our sensations.  It is important to slow down and build the depth of feeling and sensing (direct perception) before asking questions that take us emotionally and imaginally beyond the our immediate awareness.  Once the field of somatic sensing is awake, the the bridge between immediate somatic insights and the capacity to mindfully apply them to your life is totally open!

~ • ~

Questions:

Photo by Sean Stutchen ~ Epic Eden Hot Springs Retreat

• How are you listening to your partner?
• How are you listening to yourself?
• How are you meeting your self and this person in a new, fresh way?
• What do you know about them right now just by how they breathe and how they hold their body?
• Can you relax into connection to invite a deeper connection and trust from them?
• How are you bringing luminous awareness and presence to your actions?
• Where are withholding your awareness and presence?
• How are you attending to your body, to your own needs, boundaries and desires?
• Are you willing to articulate boundaries and needs?  Can you do this with an open heart?
• Are you moving from INTEGRITY?  Do you compromise basic needs for the sake of “the other” or in order to “get it right”?
• Are you willing to feel all the sensations that are present?
• Where is the sense of pleasure in your body?  Be specific.  Go more deeply into it.  Breathe and move from there.
• Where do you feel deadness, dullness, pain or stiffness in your body.  Be specific.  Are you willing be present with this and to move and breathe into this place?
• Are you willing to be vulnerable?
• Are you willing to NOT KNOW?
• What new possibilities arise when you stay present and curious with not knowing?
• How do you experience your CENTER in partnership?
• What are the motives behind your actions?
– Are you trying to please your partner or the instructor?
– Are you trying to prove yourself?
– Are you trying to “do it right?”
– Are you trying to control the situation?
• CURIOSITY.  How can curiosity support you to innovate, open and thrive?
• How is power showing up for you in this exercise?  What are you learning about cooperation, feedback, balance, listening, trust & levity in relationship to power?
• Can you give and receive at the same time?
• What does “giving” mean for you?
• What does receiving mean for you?
• The way you are experiencing this exercise is a reflection of how you experience relationship in every other aspect of your life.  What do you notice?
• Is competition showing up for you in this situation? How does competition support your success & excellence?  And, how might it undermine collaboration and compassionate leadership?
• Are you willing to trust your partner?  Can you trust yourself?  What do you get when you CHOOSE this trust?  What happens when you don’t trust?
• What is the difference between supple and rigid strength?  Can you cultivate one while releasing the other?
• Are you more comfortable leading or following?  Can you balance following withleading?  What does this mean to you and your work?
• Can you balance effort with relaxation?
• Where is the “sweet spot” for you in the balance between striving and surrender?
• Do you feel more safe, present or empowered when you are giving or when you are receiving?
• What does this tell you about the ways in which you lead and build relationships?

• How do you want to apply the simple lessons you have learned from your body and your experience of your partner in this exercise to your life and your work?

• How can experiences like this support you to work and play more from your heart rather than your head (your ideas & goals about projected outcomes) or your will (the desire to maintain control over the outcome)?

• What qualities do you notice are most supportive of collaboration, shared leadership and ease?

• What did you learn about your own impulse patterns, motivations and commitments?

• Where were your growing edges?  Do you want to commit to any particular mindfulness practices as a result of your experience today?

….Well, that’s maybe enough for a lifetime.

Next post: Questions on PURPOSE.

Love,

~s.s.