Many of us start the year out with Resolutions for the new year. Sometime along the way it's common for them to fizzle out.
Look at resolutions as intentions. Setting intentions (Sankalpa) helps take the pressure off of keeping resolutions. When intentions are loved and nurtured they grow and mature. I'd like to look at a yoga class structure as a way of being more successful with your intentions (resolutions) for the new year.
We our begin practice by practicing mindfulness, paying attention to our breath and bodies. This establishes focus and body/mind connection. It gives us a chance to determine what's realistic for this practice. Then we set an intention for the practice. It's the same with the new year. Take the time to consider what is realistic and doable when thinking about the changes you want to bring into your life. Keep them positive. You get what you focus on. An example is to eat healthier, instead of to quit an unhealthy diet.
Next comes the physical warm up when we lubricate joints and warm up muscles. This is done with a peak pose in mind. The practice starts slowly so that we can stay safe and be successful. Start slowly with your intentions for the year. Break them in so to speak. For example if you want to add mediation to your daily routine, start with just a few minutes at a time. Use a mantra or a guided meditation. Find a group. If you miss a day or two it's alright. Give yourself time and space.
Then we move into the poses. In my classes we move through poses that are connected. Once again we prep for the more intense sometimes harder poses. So how can you grow and nurture your intentions? Slowly increase the time of your meditations. Slowly introduce healthy food choices to your diet. Sometimes a meditation is skipped or forgotten. Sometimes you eat ice cream. Sometimes something beyond your control interferes. Consider it okay and forgive yourself. When posing, everyone has a different level or ability (this can be different for each practice). So the best thing to do is honor where you are and the progress that you are making. It changes daily. You get the maximum benefit where the pose is comfortable and feels good. Every once in a while, stop, take a breath and notice what is going on. It is the same when cultivating intentions. Work where it is comfortable, and move to your challenges as you can. Then take a break and notice.
At the end of our class we cool off. In class we take some time to nurture ourselves by doing restorative poses and relaxing. This is the time when the work we've done comes together. We take a look at our intentions and how they were met. No judgment. We honor ourselves for showing up and cultivating our intentions. When working on your intentions for the year, take a rest now and then. Notice what you've brought to yourself and perhaps released. Congratulate your self for what you have accomplished, and make whatever adjustments you need to to keep on manifesting your intentions.