January is fascinating to me. Both personally and professionally.
For most of us, November and December are about over-indulging—and it's FUN! Parties, friends, family, sweets, wine, more parties, more friends, more family, more sweets, more wine. I had a pretty good time myself at the end of 2015.
And then (how does this work, exactly?), I woke up January 1st (well, not really), encased in a layer of marshmallow. All of sudden (or so it would seem), my strong, muscular body had a layer of padding all over it.
Enter the New Year's resolution.
It is so cliché, but so real. I'm seeing it everywhere. Half of my Facebook friends are on diets, new students and attendance are peaking at the studio. I even joined Planet Fitness.
We all want to feel good. We want to feel healthy and at our ideal weight. We want calmness in our minds and strength and flexibility in our bodies. We want to be our best selves (thanks for the term, Oprah). We want all of these things. We do.
And we get there and then we aren't there. And then we are there, and then not. We have a tendency to wax and wane when it comes to committing to ourselves.
I was on the treadmill this morning (welcome to my New Year's resolution) and I had just begun to run. I started off well enough and then after a little while, I started feeling tired. My feet were aching. My legs sore, my mind was offering me all sorts of reasons that it would be totally acceptable to go and get a coffee immediately.
Enter will. The magical fire of will.
Instead of getting that coffee right then and there, I dug in. I turned up the speed and went faster. I ignored those thoughts and kept going. And do you know what? The run started to get easier. I got lighter on my feet. My body quieted down (and so did my mind) and I felt sustained for the longer term.
This is the key to creating new habits and patterns for ourselves. Creating new patterns is difficult and often the hardest part is getting started—so we must invoke our wills. Ignite our personal fires. Our inner super heros.
Fire is the key to transformation and igniting our personal fire takes work. Rubbing two sticks together to create a fire takes effort. A lot of effort, actually. But once that fire is created, it just needs to be fed and maintained.
How do we feed and maintain our personal fire? Our choices. We choose to continue to go to yoga class. We choose to get on that treadmill. We choose to do things for ourselves that we know make us feel good, healthy and happy. The more we make these choices the easier it becomes because they become our new patterns and habits.
This is what I mean by fire is the key to our transformation. Fire is the key to making and keeping new habits. Our will is that fire.
Let us not forget something really important. We have to like what we are doing. I love yoga so I keep doing it. I like running but I love that light feeling after 15 minutes of heaviness so I keep going to get there.
In every moment we have a choice. The more we choose actions that we know lead us in the direction of how we want to feel; the more we feel committed to ourselves. And when we feel committed to ourselves, our self-confidence blossoms.
A healthy, happy, self-confident person is a powerful person.
So it begins with will and effort. Will to get off the couch and go to yoga. Effort to keep running. Will and effort are the starting points and they ignite the fire that transforms our habits.
And then our choices sustain it. Less effort is required. Less will.
We are not looking to have power over ourselves, or anyone else. We are looking to create a power to be in alignment with ourselves and our lives.
Ultimately, the less effort it takes, the more powerful you become.