SAY GOODBYE TO NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Let's say hello to some good intentions instead. Goodbye New Year's Resolutions!
Yes. It’s that time of year when we are under pressure to be a New Year, New You. New Year’s resolutions are part of that drive for so many of us. However, whether it's a small easy win goal or a huge, life-changing goal, it turns out people tend to fail at the same rate. According to research by Strava, approximately 80 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions have dropped them by February. Actually, many don't make it that far. The same research reveals 19th January as the day most people are likely to give up on their resolutions.
For some, resolutions are hopeful and positive changes as we turn the page on a year. That’s great. For most though, these intentions are a way of changing a negative part of ourselves and a way to shed that little bit of us that we feel is wrong or bad. Perhaps, because these resolutions start from a negative place, they most often fail.
As we trot on into 2021, the New Year doesn’t show yet the promise we held for it when we were in the depths of 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic raging and we’re still mainly confined to our homes. Although the vaccines are providing new hope, it’s still not quite the “new year, new me” we were all hoping for. But rather than despair, perhaps here is an opportunity. Is 2021 the year to put an end to New Year’s resolutions? Is it time to adopt life-long good intentions and a new way of looking after ourselves?
We asked our resident Wellbeing Lab teachers for their views on New Year's resolutions, intention setting and how we can all look at our learnings and challenges of 2020 and using them to create positive mindsets in 2021.
Nina is one of our resident yoga teachers. She has practised yoga since 2009, initially coming to it for the fitness aspects. In 2014 she discovered Ashtanga yoga in India and was thrown into the deep end with an intensive period in Mysore, India.
WHAT INTENTIONS ARE YOU SETTING FOR 2021? ARE THESE DIFFERENT TO ONES THAT YOU HAVE SET YOURSELF IN THE PAST? I don't set intentions at a new year. I live my life by intentions that I set many years ago. Ones that I continue to cultivate: self-acceptance, self-love, acceptance of others, kindness for all and green living.
ANY TIPS FOR THE REST OF US ON HOW TO SET REALISTIC BUT POSITIVE INTENTIONS FOR 2021 AND BEYOND? Well, you won't get that Ferrari but you can do something useful with your energy. Spend time with others. Live the joy. Making small changes like this will affect your wellbeing for the better.
YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SUFFERED ILLNESS AND LOSS IN 2020 – HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES?
Time. Accepting things as they are is all part of life. Some things you don't 'overcome', you learn to live with them and ensure to make every moment precious. Also, through stillness, reflection, meditation, contemplation and routine. If I were to give any tips on overcoming challenges I’d say find something that makes you feel good/better than you thought you could. Stick with it.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO GAIN FROM JOINING YOUR CLASS? Positivity, joy and accessible 'yoga'. More ease, mobility and clear thinking.
Working by day and yogi by night, Declan uses yoga to find balance, stillness and peace in the chaos of modern life. Declan has completed a 500hr teacher training course with Yoga Scotland having previously practiced for many years.
WHAT INTENTIONS ARE YOU SETTING FOR 2021? I want 2021 to be great. While we’re not close to that yet, I still hope that it can be. There are a lot of things I just want to do and the last year has taught me that we should just do them when we can. Don’t wait.
WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST DIFFICULT ABOUT 2020 AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES? Over time, not being able to physically see people became difficult. As great as Zoom is at keeping us all in touch, it often felt like a lot of work and just wasn’t quite the same. My yoga practice works wonders at keeping me sane. So I definitely held on to that. You can easily get lost in negative thoughts because that is all too easy to do with everything going on. But I'm keeping positive in the hope that it’ll all be over soon enough. While I think we all thought Covid would be long gone by now, I think the end is somewhat in sight. We’ve made it this far and we can keep going a little longer!
COULD YOGA HELP OTHERS IN WHAT SEEMS LIKE A FEW MORE MONTHS OF CHALLENGES? Yoga is not just moving and stretching. Yoga translates as “to yoke or join”, the aim being to join consciousness between the mind and the body. Through practice in class and working with our breath we can become a little more aware each week. As we build this awareness of ourselves we understand how things may affect our mood whether it’s the food we eat or thoughts we have. Through our practice we become equipped with tools to either calm ourselves or try to prevent the negative emotion coming to the forefront. This awareness has certainly kept me pretty level throughout the year.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO GAIN FROM JOINING YOUR CLASS? During a class you will work through your whole body; gently stretching it, building strength, finding balance. As you slowly engage with your body your mind will still itself. Gradually you will find your energy levels have been replenished; and you are ready to carry on with the rest of your week. I aim to keep classes quite light and have fun while we all practice together.
Tess started practicing yoga to help with a back injury, but soon found its benefits in helping to process stress and emotions as well.
WHAT NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS ARE YOU SETTING FOR 2021? ARE THESE DIFFERENT TO ONES THAT YOU HAVE SET YOURSELF IN THE PAST? Resolutions are a funny thing, at this time of year there’s always lots of chat about them. It’s never really been my thing. By the end of January any I half-heartedly made were generally forgotten by the end of January. The only New Year’s resolution I have ever kept to this day was to practice yoga every day. That doesn’t mean a long intense practice with advances poses every day. Sometimes it can be 10 to 15 minutes to wake up. Or, at the end of the day, ease me into sleep. Also, sometimes it’s to focus on a physical or mental niggle.
My intentions for my practice also transfer off the mat. These change depending on what I need and what’s going on. This past year with everything going on there has been a big focus on treating myself with kindness. Learning to connect with my strength and power. Meanwhile, it’s about maintaining softness to help me through to navigate all the change with calmness and integrity. These themes have transferred into my classes too.
ANY TIPS FOR THE REST OF US ON HOW TO SET REALISTIC BUT POSITIVE INTENTIONS FOR 2021 AND BEYOND? For me, any lasting change in life has to have a real tangible benefit in boosting my wellbeing. To do something that feels good in body and mind. That then becomes the motivation for it to stick. This has become so important at the moment. As we know other plans haven’t been easy to stick to in this past year!
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO GAIN FROM JOINING YOUR CLASS? The key focus in my classes is to breathe deeply. I want to bring ease to the body while developing strength and build on self-awareness. I am teaching two classes. Forrest Inspired Yoga focusses on connecting with your core. It's about relaxing your neck, shoulders and hips, to help you find ease and bring aliveness to your body. So you feel revitalised. The class is designed to focus on different themes. For example, helping to ground ourselves with the whirlwind going on around us, or breathing in a nourishing way. My other class, Pre & Postnatal yoga, is designed to help you create more physical and emotional ease during pregnancy, labour and postpartum recovery. We focus on breath, alignment, using the support of our legs, feet and core, as well as learning to soften through intensity.
Suzanne Maynard is our inhouse Personal Trainer, as well as a qualified and knowledgeable pre and post-natal coach. Her classes are a place to meet others at a similar stage in life. They are all about staying active or safely returning to exercise.
WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST DIFFICULT ABOUT LOCKDOWN 1? ALSO, WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU’RE BRINGING TO THESE MORE RECENT RESTRICTIONS? Balancing time for myself against being there for my children. I found that being present for them and trying to keep things as ‘normal’ as I could was, at times, quite overwhelming. My own self-care was ignored. This lockdown I’m trying to change that by taking a few hours each day to myself. I advocate exercise as a good solution to the challenges of lockdown. Taking time away to exercise and focus on my mental as well as physical health. You don’t need equipment or expensive clothes. You can do something you enjoy. Something, that raises your heart rate and gets you slightly out of breath to feel the benefit.
WHAT INTENTIONS OR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS ARE YOU SETTING FOR 2021 AND HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHERS IF THEY WANT TO START 2021 IN A MORE POSITIVE MINDSET? I’ve not set any intentions for myself. Instead, I’m focusing on supporting my family and friends to get through this year because of the challenging situation we all find ourselves. As best as I can. But if people do want to I’d say start small and make it achievable to build and maintain motivation. Get the support of family and friends by telling them of your intentions and goals.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO GAIN FROM JOINING YOUR CLASS? When people join, they will be working with a knowledgeable, friendly instructor. Also, they will be being supported and encouraged to safely challenge themselves within their own fitness levels. Most of all, they will enjoy being part of a group and meeting people (yes even online) at a similar stage in life. These these are fun and enjoyable sessions.
Thank you for reading!
So you did or you didn't make New Year's resolutions? Whatever, do you want to feel fit and healthy in mind and body? We’ve all learned in the last 12 months we don’t have full control at the moment. As a result, taking control of what makes you feel good is important. We are excited to relaunch our Wellbeing Lab timetable (online only for now) for this purpose. Come along. Join one of our sessions with our expert teachers. They too are finding their way through these strange times. Let them show us all how to do it with a positive mindset.