As we move into the New Year, we all get the itch to better ourselves. We make sweeping declarations that we are going to kick our bad habits, lose some weight and make the world a better place. These are all good goals, but they are coming from the wrong space. They are reactionary sentiments coming off a month of holiday parties, too many rum and eggnogs and decadent holiday squares. Causing your body, mind and maybe even your waistline to scream out, “enough”! It is for this simple reason that New Year's resolutions rarely work. The truth is we have the opportunity for change in every moment, not just with the beginning of a new year. Unhealthy habits are hard to break mostly because we don’t want to dig deep into our programming and acknowledge agreements we have made that give our habits power.
1. Never Move From The Land of Should
January 1st, we start feeling pressured by the mass mob mentality that we need to make a resolution. Couple that peer pressure with our fabulous gluttony over the holiday season and we guilt ourselves into pending failure. I call this moving from the land of should. For example, “I know I should lose some weight”. If you are still in this space then you are not ready for change. Trying now will only later become a great reason why you can’t do something in the future. Your mind will look back on this moment as a justification for not trying. The truth is you were not ready to make the change and that is OK. If you are in the land of should, do some research, educate yourself and begin watching your actions and how your body responds. In other words, start becoming more aware. Don’t make any sudden moves yet; wait until you ache for the change. It has to be part of every cell in your body, mind and soul. In the land of should, you have not yet owned the behavior. The accountability lies in the external environment and not within you.
2. Set Intentions Instead of Resolutions
A resolution is a declarative statement about a definite outcome. An intention is also specific, but it is born out of soul work and a real longing for transformation. A resolution is about the destination and an intention is about the journey. The feeling behind the two makes all the difference. An intention is a present moment, energetic investment that makes our lives more purposeful and fulfilling. It is striving for impeccability, where joy isn’t found in the missing 10 pounds, it is found when our heart and our actions are in alignment. When your values match your behavior and that is not measured by outcome, but by growth.
3. Breaking the Contract
The thing about habits is that they serve us and they do so quite well. We make agreements with our habits. Some where along the line we decided to give that habit power. You don’t create a habit without full agreement on your part. Unless you make new agreements with healthier behaviors, that behavior will continue. Look at what need the habit is satisfying and why you agreed to it in the first place. It is important to understand how it is serving you. Ask yourself why, if you know that habit is creating dis-ease, you choose to continue it? It is not about the smoking or the fast food. Don’t get me wrong there are highly addictive components to each of those, but what makes you different than the many people who have quit an unhealthy habit? Are they stronger than you or do they have more willpower?
First, they are not moving from the land of should and second, they understood the function that the habit played in their life. For example, is the habit a form of stress reduction or does it hide your emotions? Once you have identified how it is serving you, you can find ways to fulfill that need in a more positive way. Hopefully, one that brings you closer to joy and purpose.
4. Create New Energetic Investments
I used to be a pack a day smoker and the greatest part about quitting for me, was that cigarettes stop dictating my time. I spent so much energy anticipating and calculating how long it would be before my next smoke. There was an amazing sense of freedom when that hold over me was lifted. Back then I didn’t think of things in terms of energy, but I was investing serious energy in a habit that had a rather poor return on my investment. Consider the energy you give to your habit, how does that energy return to you? Your energy flows where intention goes, so next time you get a craving, imagine drawing that energy back into your heart center. Imagine severing the energetic ties you have to that habit or urge and then consider where you could better invest that energy. Remember, you don’t have to abstain from that habit for the rest of your life; you just need to do it for this moment. Don’t worry about tomorrow or a year from now, you just need the strength in this moment and if you look at it this way, you’ll be surprised just how long that moment lasts.
5. Use Your Connection to Source
We all know intellectually that we are all connected, but we need to appreciate how this connection can help us in times like these. One of the most powerful recommendations I can make for someone wanting to kick a bad habit, is to draw on the strength of the divine. Contemplation meditations are a powerful way to do this. Some words, such as temperance, have universal energy attached to them. Use the word temperance as the anchor of your meditation. Draw in the breath and breath out temperance. Allow the word to originate in your heart center and move throughout your body. If it is compassion or forgiveness you seek, then do the same thing using the word that resonates with you. Drawing on the divine energies of these words bring a relaxed, stable physiology to the body, balances the mood, works on changing the programming in the mind and opens the heart without focusing on the negative habit. With each breath you are breaking your agreements and allowing the healing energies of that word to permeate your energy field.
Angela Levesque is health educator, writer, exercise physiologist and energy healer. She hosts a weekly online radio show called On Health & Healing on a2zen.fm and teaches several classes on self care for chronic illness. Visit www.hestiahealth.com for more information. Follow her on https://twitter.com/HestiaHealth andhttp://www.facebook.com/hestiahealth.