Finding Sustainable Solutions

It’s mid-January. Declarations about health, wellness, sleep, relationships and food/drink/lack-there-of have been made.  There is a 30 minute wait for cardio machines at the gym. You have to reserve a spot in yoga classes or you will be unfortunately non-asana-ing. Essentially, we are throwing ourselves into 2013 with gumption – feverishly working away at being ‘the best me!’ at every opportunity.

In my case, I took on the new-year with a commitment to defining my practice – through yoga, through my personal planning – and declared I was going to have the most progressive and productive year. To go along with my declaration, a bold schedule change. ‘Bold’ in the form of a daily 5:00am wake up time to complete my new 4 pose/3 breathing technique home yoga practice. 5:00. AM. All in the name of finding peace in my day to day and building a solid and reliable approach to how I practice yoga.

In short – it’s been inconsistent.

With the concept of ‘practice’ in mind, I am also looking at this year as being about defining what the sustainable factor of my ‘resolution revolution’ looks like. Being a type A, ‘get into it’ kind of person, I tend towards extremeism when approaching new goals.  I want the outcome, and I want it NOW. Whether that’s 6 workouts a week with the cleanest diet possible (think boiled chicken and steamed broccoli) in pursuit of ‘next level fitness’ or if it’s working 80+ hours a week to get to that ‘next place’ in my career, I have been known to DIVE in. What has happened from that has been burnout, overwhelm and a really bad taste in my mouth for flavorless protein and greens that resemble small trees. Body changes and career advancement aside, what I know is my slightly insane, 147% all the time approach hasn’t been really working for me. So, what I am committing to and what I would invite you to consider is finding impactful yet sustainable ways to make resolutions and goals come to fruition. Sustainable solutions.

I faced the concept of sustainability in a yoga workshop with a good friend and exceptionally inspiring yogi, Ryan Leier. The content of the workshop was cultivating your daily practice – and for someone who creates a super full schedule week on week, committing to doing something on a daily scheduled basis seemed daunting. I went right to making a ‘daily practice’ involve the experience of going to the yoga studio, practicing and then spending time with friends afterwards. ‘How in the heck am I supposed to find time to do that EVERY DAY?!?’ my brain screamed. And, as the conversation progressed, the screaming subsided as I began to understand that less, when it comes to cultivating something in ourselves, truly is more – and that patience and trust in the process, really does pay.

How sustainability surfaced was through commitments to something attainable that works for YOUR lifestyle and schedule. Instead of a 60 or 90 minute class, how about defining a personal practice by 3 to 4 postures, done in your own home, at a consistent time throughout the day, each and every day? THAT concept made me really relax and consider what would work for me – in yoga, in my work life, in my writing career, in love, in family relationships – the sustainable factor seemed to apply everywhere when I made it work…for me.

I have been a goal setter for a while. Very focused on what I wanted, willing to put in whatever work was needed to make it happen. And, very much tied up in it all happening NOW. Being that focused has had its benefits, and its downfalls. Most of the downfalls have come from being attached to timelines – to things happening by a certain date. And it’s been that attachment to time that has created very unsustainable practices/schedules/choices – and normally an under-slept, over-caffeinated and slightly punchy Jess.

If there’s anything that I am looking to ‘resolve’ to do this year, it’s to look at where I am pushing, crunching or trying to stretch time. And, if I find myself in that place – look to see what’s not going to be an everlasting way of approaching that part of life. It’s all about balance – and knowing that tomorrow is the next opportunity to move yourself in the direction of your goals – taking it step by step – one day after the next.

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