Throughout the year there are times where the desire to change, create, make, move and shift are stronger than others. The beginning of a new year is one of those times. As we close the book on 2016 and move into 2017, the desire to change is strong.
I’ve been asking myself two very important questions lately: What is it that I want to change and why do I feel this need to change?
I suspect that a lot of this comes from media and past behaviour. I was surprised by the number of emails that I received over the last month with a call to action. A call to change. A call to ‘Make 2017 the Best Year Yet’.
The funny thing is, this type of thinking sets us up for failure.
Yup – Failure!
No one wants to fail at anything they set out to accomplish, myself included. So how do you set yourself up for success?
Step 1 – Look at the reason behind the reason you want to change.
What is driving this desire to change? Is it because you aren’t happy with an aspect of your life? Is it because you ‘think’ you need to change? Is it because it’s the new year and this is when new diets, exercise plans and grand plans get put in place?
If you can’t pinpoint the reason behind the reason you want to change, it is likely that the desire is coming from an external source rather than an internal source.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against change. In fact, I am completely for it! Especially when it’s needed, the time is right and it’s coming from something inside of you rather than something external suggesting you need to change.
I made some major changes in my life this time last year. I knew that I wanted to pair teaching yoga with ‘something else’. What that ‘something else’ was took about nine months to figure out and then six months of me getting up the courage to make the leap and letting go of the ‘safety nets’ that were holding me back.
In September 2015, I left my full-time job and went back to school. By January 2016, I was enrolled at Georgian College in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture program. I had changed cities (living part time in Barrie while I’m in school), changed schools (I started in a private college in Ottawa in September), enrolled in a condensed full-time program instead of the part-time program I was in, the list goes on.
The reason behind the reason for all of these changes stemmed from letting go of what was no longer serving me. Letting go of the things that were holding me back and helping me to play small instead of growing into the person I could be and the person I am today.
Now that you’ve considered what is driving the change, what next?
Step 2 – Plan through the change.
Let’s say everything goes according to plan and you make the changes you want, then what? What does it get you? What does this change do for your life?
If you are choosing to change because the desire is coming from within, then go for it! If you are choosing to change because something external is telling you need to, then stop.
How do we know when the desire to change is coming from an internal source instead of an external source?
Ego and willpower are great indicators.
If the desire to change is external, it is likely suggesting that something in our lives is lacking or that something is intrinsically ‘wrong’ with us. Whatever the reason for the desire to change, it is likely stemming from something negative that we need to ‘fix’.
If the desire to change is internal, then it is stemming from a place of love and acceptance. A space where we can honour our true selves. A space where our true selves will shine.
When I decided to add TCM acupuncture to teaching yoga, I did it knowing that the two practices compliment each other beautifully. Beyond that, I know that both acupuncture and yoga will help others heal from within, using what our bodies are already designed to do, as they have helped me. The desire for change came from a space of sharing two things I love with the world.
We crave balance and harmony in our lives. A true desire for change comes from an inner knowing that there is imbalance and disharmony in our lives and a desire to return to our true selves.
Step 3 – How to get there.
True change is 10,000 tiny steps both forwards and backwards and a whole lot of self forgiveness when we think we’ve strayed from ‘the plan’.
If we find ourselves straying from ‘the plan’ more and more frequently, perhaps the plan needs to change.
How we make our dreams happen, means being flexible in how we get there. It is never a straight road that gets us from point A to point B. There are many stops and detours along the route. While it may not seem like it, these are often necessary stops and detours.
If we look at the reason for each stop or detour, it can give us vital information. When we dig into what is stopping us from creating lasting change, we often discover self-sabotage blocks that we weren’t even aware of. This gives us an opportunity to dismantle these blockages and move forward. Intension or sankalpa is a powerful tool that we can use to ensure that we are moving in the direction that we intended to move when we started this journey.
A sankalpa or intension is a present tense statement that brings us back to our true nature and helps to guide our decisions.
A sankalpa is created without ego and without the need for willpower. It is created knowing that we are exactly who we need to be in this moment and that we are perfect as we are right now. It is the seed of your heart’s desire. When setting an intension or sankalpa, ask yourself why and dig into what the reason behind the reason is.
A sankalpa doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. One I’ve been working with for several years now is ‘I am present with love and acceptance.’. This sankalpa reminds me to remain in the present moment and to love and accept myself and others for who they are in that moment. In this ever-growing world, ‘busy’ has become a state of being that pulls us in many different directions. I use my sankalpa to bring myself back to the moment I am in and to re-centre myself.
I’d love to read about your journey and your intension(s)/sankalpa(s) in the comments below!
Love, Light and Om,