Win 2016: Turn Resolutions into Practices

Posted on December 31, 2015 by

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It’s the last day of the year and it’s that time where we take stock of what’s past and craft what we’d like to come next. How was your 2015? Did you get what you wanted? Did you learn anything? Did you have fun? Do you want better results in 2016?

Speaking of 2016, have you taken some time to create goals? Do you know what you want? Did you get inspired by the idea of a new year starting? Did that somehow turn into resolutions?

Do you fear those resolutions will manifest about as well as fanning a fire puts it out?

I gave up on resolutions years ago, particularly of the New Years variety, because they didn’t work for me. Instead, I have practices. What’s the difference, right?

The resolution is the moment of insight. It is the moment where inspiration meets understanding and the desire for action leads to a state of being firmly connected with an intention to do, create or be something different. It’s a place where you know it must change and feel a commitment to that change. No doubt this is a necessary first step in creating results.

The thing is, that moment of insight often isn’t sustainable, particularly the first time you awaken to it. It can feel incredibly clear and immutable in the moment when it first comes to your awareness and, equally so, it can slip away like sand in your fingers, ephemeral in the wind.

Some years ago someone more informed than I introduced me to the concept of what I’ll call living in the gap which describes the space between when you have a flash of understanding of something — the insight into what is possible — and the ability to move through the world with that new behavior, understanding or insight as a default way of being — the integration into everyday experience.

In the context of relating, this might look like you having an understanding that a particular tone of voice will evoke an agitated response in your partner. However, knowing that it happens doesn’t necessarily prevent you from doing it the next time because it’s likely an unconscious habit you already have. In our poi practice, it might look like feeling a new move for the a moment — like the first time you felt the weave — and then not being able to sustain it. Living in the Gap

Take weight loss — something I’m very familiar with. New Years rolls around and someone says, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year.” That’s a reasonable goal and certainly a healthy amount to lose within a year. However, there’s a whole lot more to it than simply “deciding” you’re going to do it. In the case of weight loss, there’s not just the behavior modifications necessary to achieve the weight loss (higher output-of-energy to intake-of-fuel ratio), there is also the aspect of what happens once the results are achieved, how one lives with and sustains the results.

As they say, knowing the path is not walking the path.  And we often forget that the moment of insight rarely means immediate integration in action. Making resolutions is great as a first step, but the better questions really are, how can I achieve and maintain my goals? Anyone who has ever played the weight loss yo-yo game knows it’s far easier to lose the weight than it is to keep the weight off once it’s lost (which in no way means it’s easy to lose the weight)!

Fitness — like flow arts, yoga, musical instruments or anything else —  is an ongoing act of discipline where the overall focus is about through time results and the general slope of progress as measured over the interval called “lifespan”. You can measure it moment to moment, which certainly matters, though in the course of your own life what counts is the general trend not any one day in your life. This is where practice comes into play.

Practice is the process of taking your insights and making them integrated learnings. If your resolution is to lose 20 pounds this year, continued practice in disciplined eating and regular exercise will help you achieve your results. If you want to be able to better execute a yoga pose by year’s end, getting on the mat and doing it will help you achieve your results. If you want to have more endurance as a jogger, getting in those jogging shoes and running with incremental increases in time will help you increase your endurance as a runner. If you want to react less in conversation, you must continue to practice noticing without reacting.

The common factor? Practice. It is the necessary and often unspoken companion to successful resolutions.

If you’ve made some resolutions already, maybe the next step to take is exploring some of these questions:

  • what will it take to achieve these results?
  • what resources will I need to have/acquire/expend?
  • where will I acquire the resources?
  • what will I have to change/add/subtract from my life to accommodate this new practice?
  • how will I keep track of my results?
  • how will I remain accountable to my goals?
  • where are my goals written?
  • how often will I review my goals and progress?
  • what support will I recruit to help me achieve my results?

If you’re looking for assistance is keeping on target with your 2016 practice goals, join our Study Buddy program or contact GlitterGirl directly for a private consultation.

For assistance building a practice that makes sense for you, contact GlitterGirl directly, comment on this post or subscribe to our newsletter for mailbox delivery of this and other articles written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek business training or guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little ‘at’ symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).