A Happy New Year – Here’s to Yoga Resolutions and the SMART way to make and keep them!

Here we are heading in to 2020 and as usual we’ve all got our New Year plans and resolutions. I’m hoping that some of yours, like mine, involve setting time aside for Yoga practice.

However, for many of us our grand ideas end up like New Year’s Eve fireworks – they start with a bang and an enthusiastic display but by the end of January they’ve fizzled away to nothing or at best the equivalent of the last damp rocket left standing in the milk bottle!

What goes wrong in just one short month? Generally, it’s down to something really simple – in the enthusiasm of the moment we don’t have a definite plan and we don’t set proper goals. Now that all sounds quite a formal process but anyone who has any sort of Management training will know that the best way to succeed is effective planning and that includes the setting of firm objectives. One of the most popular ways to do that is to use the SMART technique. What are SMART objectives and how can they be applied to your Yoga practice?

SMART is an acronym for

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Realistic/Relevant

Time bound

So, if your resolution is to “do more Yoga in 2020” that can become much more achievable and likely to actually happen by fitting it in to the framework and making it “SMART.”

Specific – “I want to do more Yoga” needs to be much more clearly defined. How much yoga? For how long? When? How about changing that to something much more precise like “I want to do 2 sessions of Yoga every week. One 90-minute class and one 30-minute personal practice and the best days are Monday and Wednesday.”

Measurable – how are you going to measure that? What about adding it to a calendar and marking off the sessions? I find if something is formally scheduled into my day, I’m much more likely to do it than if I just have it as an idea in the back of my mind. It’s also easy to let other things take priority if it’s not planned it. That particularly applies to partners, children and animals who will all hog your time without a second thought! Having said that don’t expect to have 100% success so you might decide that managing to fit in 8 out of 10 sessions is enough. Do give yourself a bit of scinch and I find the 80% rule works for me.

Achievable – Make sure you pick days and times that are suitable. If you get over enthusiastic and schedule in 2 classes a week and a personal practice every day, you’ll never fit them all in. Equally if you choose days when you’re already struggling to keep your head above water you’ll not stick to the plan. Either way you’ll end up feeling like a failure so start small! You can always add extra in later if you feel you genuinely have the time.

Realistic/Relevant – why do you want to do more Yoga? Is it to improve your health or fitness? Be more relaxed or handle stress better? All of those are great. They are realistic and relevant expectations. However, if it’s because you want to have a super model figure or because everyone else is doing it or your mother/boss/partner/dog thinks it’s a good idea then is it really the right objective for you? Think carefully about what you want, what you can expect to achieve and be sensible!

Time-bound – how long are you going to try this for? I use 3 months as an initial target. 3 months lets you settle in and establish a routine. You can tweak in that time if need be and then at the end of the period you reassess and reset your goals.

So, I hope you can see that although at first glance a personal Yoga practice and a Business Management technique seem to be poles apart the two can actually work together and help you keep on track with your New Year resolutions! So, here’s wishing you All the Best for 2020, Good Luck and Happy Planning!

(If you enjoyed reading this piece do sign up for my monthly newsletter to keep up to date with simple practices you can do at home, find out what’s happening with my sessions and roll your eyes at some of my awful jokes Just click the link at the bottom of my web page. You can unsubscribe at any time.)