As the holiday season is winding down, many of you may already be thinking about the new year, and your goals for 2017. Each year many of us make New Years resolutions, only to break them within a short amount of time. This can lead to feelings of failure or disappointment.
This year, I instead challenge you to be more gentle with yourself. Instead of approaching the new year from the perspective of “here’s what I’m doing wrong….” consider instead saying “this is my intention.”
Anyone familiar with yoga may have heard of the word “sankulpa.” A sankulpa is an intention or purpose that comes from the heart. It goes beyond the ego and logical mind goals, and instead gets to the heart and soul of who we really are as human beings.
So, for example, in the past we may have made a New Years resolution that went something like this: “I want to eat healthier next year.” or “I absolutely need to lose X number of pounds next year.” or “I really must drink less alcohol and coffee and more water and eat more vegetables next year.” While those all sound like great plans, they originate from a place of ego and logic, and therefore are very easily broken, setting a person up to feel like a failure, thereby leading them back to the unhealthy habit they originally set out to avoid.
With a sankulpa or intention, we are challenged to go beyond the ego. So, let’s say we start with the statement “I want to eat healthier next year.” Now we pray or meditate on that for a while, until we get to the place where our heart is speaking. Why do we want to eat healthier? What does it mean to us to eat healthier? Maybe there is some sort of fear attached to how we are eating now? Perhaps we do not feel healthy and that worries us? Maybe we are feeling a sadness attached to food? Maybe we feel addicted to certain foods? A fear of how we will be left feeling if we stop eating certain foods? This will be individual to each of us.
Once you have your sankulpa or intention for 2017, you can start visualizing yourself as being already there. What’s that you say? Yes! Yes yes yes! Instead of saying “I need to eat less junk food” you could instead try something like “I am healthy, and the food I eat is nourishing to my body, mind, and soul.” This subtle difference in approach means that instead of seeing yourself as needing improvement, you instead see yourself already there, where your heart wants you to be….. and we all know that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, right?
When we inevitably have a moment where we make a choice that is not what we wanted (think someone who resolves to quit smoking, and after two weeks gives in and has a cigarette), instead of feeling guilty, or throwing in the towel altogether, when we set a sankulpa or intention, we instead can take that moment and learn from it. Pray or meditate on it. “Why did I make that choice today?” and then go back and picture yourself making the choice you want to make, so that you reinforce in your brain and your heart the experience that you want to have happen. No judgment. No shame. Simply learning from the experience and moving on.
So why am I talking about all of this? Well, I recently found myself feeling very unwell again, after a couple of years of really good health. My logical/ego side was going through everything, trying to figure out what I did “wrong” to “cause” this to happen. But ultimately the answer came from intention (sankulpa).
“I am healthy, and the food I eat is nourishing to my body, mind, and soul.”
And so it was.
It has been one week since I started this process, and I feel like a new person in so many ways. And I am an object in motion, so when I wake up feeling well, and I go to bed feeling well, it’s easy to continue that way.
With that in mind, a few of us at Tailor Made are doing an “After the Holidays Reset.” (Or, in my case, it was more of a starting before the holidays reset!) We chose the word “reset” especially for this reason - because words like “detox” or “cleanse” imply that there is something wrong with us. A “reset” simply means we are just going inside, listening to our bodies, and hearing what it is that they need from us.
If you are interested in doing a reset with us, we have created a support group on Facebook for this purpose.
I asked my colleagues to share with you why they are doing a reset. Here’s what they had to say:
Michelle: “I want to reduce sugar and carb cravings, lose 5 pounds, and get rid of the sluggish feeling when I eat. I am going to take it slower… and basically clean house.”
Sonja: “I want to do the reset to help address SIBO, and do the elimination piece to help identify food sensitivities. It’s empowering to know your own body to better gauge how to make it feel better.”
As for me, I started simply with: “I feel awful. I want to feel well again.” and from there I looked inside, and I realized that eating things like sugar and GF pizza, too many FODMAPs, or having too much wine, was making me feel worse, but also beating myself up about these things was making me feel worse about myself, thereby leading me back to those things again (remember object in motion). So I am working on changing my way of thinking, not just my way of eating. I am working on eating with intention and purpose. “This food is nourishing to my body, mind, and soul.”
Back to the reset. All of the instructions that we put together are available in the Facebook group. This is the really important thing to remember, though - these instructions are intended as a basic template. YOU know your body better than anyone, and YOU know what it needs. (If you don’t, find your sankulpa/intention and your answer will be found somewhere in that.) So your reset can be modified/personalized to your individual needs, and we are here to help if you need it - just ask! My hope is that at the end of these 21 days, each one of us will be feeling so well that we won’t even notice that the 21 days have come to an end. There will be no mad rush to eat things we’re craving or missing, because we are no longer craving or missing those things - we will know and have everything that we need.
Because we are healthy, and the food we eat is nourishing to our bodies, minds, and souls.
That, my friends, is the good stuff.
Until next time, be well.
*Krista Ostrom is a “nutrition geek” with extensive knowledge about food intolerances, nutrition, elimination diets, and integrative health topics. When she’s not working at Tailor Made Nutrition, you can usually find her hiking with her family, practicing yoga, traveling, cooking her favorite meals, and working at her other job, placing international exchange students with host families. Krista is writing this blog for informational purposes only, and it should not be considered medical advice.