Happy New Year!

Have many people asked you about New Years’ resolutions? Friends and family usually want to know how or what we have decided to change. New Years’ resolutions are a conversational gambit in January.

Self-improvement is the name of the game! Who doesn’t want to improve? Who doesn’t want to eat healthier, lose five pounds, exercise more, read more books or maybe attend more lectures? As the wise man says, “It’s all good.”

However, I’ve been reading surveys about New Years’ resolutions and it seems that although we begin with positive intentions most of us have given up our resolutions by the middle of February. Wow! Statistics tell on us and the picture isn’t pretty.

Not sticking to our goals can harm self-esteem. Certainly letting our self down creates some degree of disappointment. The majority of us will, unfortunately, meet 2016 stating a worn out resolution.

Does this sad state of affairs speak to how difficult it is to change even if change is in a desired direction?

Perhaps it is difficult for us to stick to a desired change, but all too often, we make a mistake when we choose our resolution. Frequently the desired change is coupled with deprivation or hard work. Our resolution is either to do something we don’t really want to do or to stop doing something that brings us pleasure. For these reasons, the resolution is inherently stress producing. Why do we try to whip ourselves into submission?

We are all more aware of our weaknesses than we are of our strengths. When we want to change we look at behaviors that we perceive we do incorrectly instead of the things we do well. We think of improvements we “should” make instead of thinking of how we can enhance our arsenal of strengths. Shouldas’ pretty much always get us in trouble.

We tend to forget that we lead with our hearts; not our heads. In other words, it is difficult to change a behavioral direction unless we acquire a means to relieve internal stresses.

Feeling good leads to positive behaviors. It is difficult to maintain a positive behavior if the feeling life remains chock-filled with stress.

How about doing two new things in 2013? First, think of something you do well and resolve to do more of it. In this way you will enhance an existing strength. Second, consider adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

An Ayurvedic lifestyle is geared to helping you experience perfect health and that wonderful by-product of perfect health—happiness. What more could you possibly desire for yourself in 2015 (or any other year) than perfect health and happiness?

Ayurveda never suggests making a big lifestyle change all at once. Big lifestyle changes are like New Years’ resolutions. They aren’t lasting.

Rather, according to Ayurvedic philosophy we should chose one or two easier things to do. The physiology responds quickly to positive change and as we feel better we can add another alteration to our lifestyle. The mind-body will always lean in the direction of more health if it is encouraged to go in that direction. Feeling good is the best encouragement one can have to add another positive lifestyle change.

So with that in mind, I suggest you rethink your resolutions this year to better encourage your mind-body.

Perhaps you will begin to go to bed an hour or even a half-hour earlier. Maybe, for you, eating a warm lunch will be a health promoting change. Or perhaps you will profit from choosing to imbibe in drinks that are at room temperature, foregoing ice and its deleterious effects. Maybe you will eat fresher food or find another way to enhance digestion and create increased vitality for yourself.

Or perhaps you desire to receive more positive feedback from other people. If this is your wish you can begin to offer to others more of what you want from them. Every communication is a response to what was heard and positive communication breeds more of the same.

Finally, for anyone looking for more guidance about how Ayurveda can bring about a happier, healthier life, try my book, Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way: Creating Happiness with Meditation, Yoga, and Ayurveda. In it, you’ll find help to identify your unique constitutional type as well as specific suggestions for the creation and maintenance of health and wellbeing. After you’ve read the book you pick an intervention that can easily be incorporated into your life.

Best wishes for a blessed and happy 2015!