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The Zen of New Year Goal-Setting

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It's the beginning of January, so of course there's the usual smattering of social media posts about resolutions and goals for this new year. I couldn't help but get pulled into the frenzy. I started evaluating my life while subconsciously seeing all these posts that seemed like everyone except me had their goals lined up to reach the perfect balance of yin and yang.

It seemed like my peers were going to achieve weight loss coupled with huge business success within their idyllic home life that is topped off with amazing sex with their spouse. I didn't know where to begin to set my goals. My head was spinning... until I turned inward to stillness. I tapped into my Eastern philosophies that guide me to my own version of yin-and-yang balance.

I can't compare myself with my social media peers out there. I know there isn't perfect balance in anyone's life. I know what works for me and I need to stick with my own formula for "success." I love the constant juggle of feeling overwhelmed and then re-evaluating and prioritizing. I thrive on the yin and yang of being out of control (in a good, productive sense) and then taking control back and refocusing.

I think that's why I love the balance of my workout regimes -- loud spin class with rockin' music, pedaling fast, heart rate pumping to the point of exhaustive exhilaration, and my yoga class, a quiet room filled with mindful moving meditation that gives me clarity and strength on a whole different level. I couldn't do just one or the other. This is a statement of how I like to live my life as well, in a back-and-forth shift that works for me. The only constant is change, and I'm comfortable with that. We all have our own sense of what makes us feel that yin-and-yang balance.

I learned a long time ago (when I studied yoga and went through the teacher training course) that it's considered to be a form of violence to force yourself into a yoga position that you know your body wasn't meant to do. You can't compare yourself to the ballerina on the mat next to you, it will only cause harm to yourself. That lesson of how to achieve non-violence (on many different levels in life) stuck with me because I realized that comparing myself to other people's success should also be considered violent, and it certainly isn't going to get me to reach a goal that isn't authentic to me. Success is truly individual. My idea of thin, rich or happy is only real if it's true to me. I always come back to this lesson when setting my goals. I want to be a better version of myself every year, but that doesn't mean I have to meet any specific standard except aiming for a goal that is within the realm of my own imagination.

It's simple. Comparing yourself to anyone else is comparing apples to oranges. The grass is always greener, fresher and better manicured in someone else's yard. Our goals and resolutions made in January are really about the choices we make, the priorities we set and the mindset where we chose to dwell.

I don't have a psych degree, but now that I'm in my 40s what I do know is that when I want to feel down and green with envy, I can choose to do so. But if I want to feel grateful and happy, that's also my own choice. I'm choosing to feel happy and grateful as often as possible, that's my goal. It's easier than counting calories. A simple change of perception can lead to more goals and dreams than you can imagine.

Don't yearn for someone else's green grass... I guarantee their kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes.

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