The Life You Want to Live Lies Within Your Breath
A Yogi’s Guide: 8 Steps to Meet Your Goals
The start of a new year, what’s not to like?! The joyous (yet chaotic) holidays are behind us and we’re offered the opportunity to start fresh! Start new! Make big changes! This year is going to be the year!
And as it is now a couple weeks into the new year, those expectations can be daunting, and asking ourselves to accomplish more than we can wrap our minds around brings up feelings of stress and anxiety.
We all want to climb the ladder of success in our own way, whether its improvements in our physical health, relationships, career or quality of life. But in order to attain what we desire, there is a lot more to it than writing down a resolution, buying a gym membership or putting a few dollars in your savings account.
Aspirations and goals are a vital part of life. They give us purpose and meaning and allow us to see a side of ourselves that we may not otherwise see, a side that tells us, anything is attainable.
But why are some able to attain those goals more than others? Why do New Years resolutions fail more often than they succeed? Explore these methods, and perhaps you may find your answer.
8 Steps to Meet Your Goals
1. Address the root of the issue, not the symptom.
Just as we’ve seen in Ayurvedic, Holistic or Functional Medicine, the way to truly cure oneself of an ailment is to determine what the cause is, and fight that. For so many years we’ve been treated based on symptoms - have a headache? Take some Advil! Pain in your back? Take some Advil! Trouble sleeping? Take some Advil PM! Meanwhile, perhaps all you needed was a glass of water, more core strength and a few minutes of meditation.
In this same way, we can observe what we’d like to manifest or a change we’d like to make in order to reach a more lofty goal.
2. Visualize the end result
Take a moment to consider what you’d like to welcome into your life. We’ll use the example of “a promotion at work” but this could be anything and it needs to be meaningful and specific to you, Perhaps you’re seeking increased energy, more loving relationships or patience. Maybe you’d like to run your first marathon, climb Everest or visit an exotic country.
Now, take a moment to visualize yourself in that role, having attained exactly what you wanted. Picture your surroundings. In regard to our example of a job promotion, maybe you’re sitting at a nice desk with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Take in the smells, the temperature of the room, the sounds of soft chatter while people pass your door and the cars outside whizzing by. Breathe here for a few deep, smoothe breaths, allowing yourself to absorb it, while remaining completely at ease.
3. Visualize the moments preceding the end result in reverse order
After having been at that place of attaining your goal, take a step back and ask, what needed to be done right before that moment in order to find myself there? Maybe it required a meeting with your authority and a discussion of the measurable and positive outcomes from a certain program that you devised and implemented. Use this same visualization for that very meeting.
What occurred just before that?
And before that?
Keep visualizing each and every time you trace back from that larger goal.
4. Meet yourself where you are.
Continue in this same way, until you meet yourself where you are, at this very moment. Find those long deep, smoothe breaths once again, and simply be in the present moment. Allow your mind to be still, simply observing your immediate surroundings. Become content here by finding one thing to be grateful for. Perhaps it's the pleasant smell of a lit candle, the taste of a warm cup of tea or the sweet sound of your own breath.
5. What can you do at this very moment?
With a clear mind, write down one thing you can do at this time in order to move in the direction of your goal. In the case of our example, perhaps you can decide on the relevant issue in your company that you find is necessary to address.
6. Write down the next step.
And now step away, and do it again tomorrow. Allow yourself to let what you’ve just done to seep in. When we allow our thoughts to settle, the next measureable step comes from a more mindful, logical and truthful outcome.
7. Put it on your schedule.
Give yourself some space, but not too much that you forget to come back to it. Look at your schedule for the next day, and plan a time to come back to these steps, and commit to it.
8. Come back to the breath.
As soon as your journey along this road to successfully reaching your goals becomes overwhelming or uncomfortable, pause and breathe. We are only able to accomplish anything as long as our mind is still and our thoughts are clear. The quickest way for that to happen is to focus on your breath, the one thing you have complete control over. Breathe here as long as it takes to find an even, smoothe, deep breath.
The important thing to remember here is consistency. Take a moment each morning to write your intention for the day, always keeping that goal in the back of your mind. As you move through the year, the vision and path may change, but never lose sight of your dreams.