Steps to embodying a vibrant life

Celebrate the present
General by Elephant Journal

em·bod·y (verb): 1. Be an expression of or give a tangible or visible form to (an idea, quality or feeling). 2. Provide (a spirit) with a physical form.

In a recent survey, a unanimous vote was cast for the average lifespan of a New Year’s resolution to be “two weeks or less.”

The poll was taken in the third week of the new year. It may be safe to assume that respondents were not voting from lack of experience. If you are one of the many people who have given up from too many failed attempts, do not despair. You are not a failure. You can accomplish this. Perhaps all you need is a different approach.

Often when determining a resolution, we get so caught up in all the things we want to change that we lose sight of why we want change in the first place. What we should be asking ourselves is this: What is the result I am looking for this change to bring?

That is the real question to focus on. Just because I was “healthier” at one time in my life when I was running twice a week does not mean that running twice a week will bring me the result that I am looking for now. So what am I really looking for? The process below helps us identify what that result is, and how to achieve it. It’s a different way of looking at our goals. It might feel strange at first, but give it a shot. This may be the new perspective that works for you.

1. Be good to yourself.

When I ask clients what their resolutions are, I am usually met with one of two responses. Either they don’t bother making them because they never work, or they rattle off a list of all the things they plan on changing about themselves. Both responses are clear indicators that change will not occur. The first one, for obvious reasons, is because no effort = no change. The second one is because listing off all of the things we want to change about ourselves can make us feel insufficient. It can easily turn into a list all of the things we are not, and all the ways we don’t like ourselves. It can have an undertone of abuse, and change will never last if it is initiated from a place of feeling bad about ourselves. So start off by being nice to yourself.

2. Bring it to the present moment.

Resolutions usually have this image of some future, better self. I want to be healthy insinuates that I will be healthy somewhere in the future but I’m not now. If you continue to think of change in this way it will always be in your future and never reach your now. Lessen the space between your goal and your identification with it. Choose one resolution you have made in the past. Say it out loud. Now, dig deeper beyond the words and into the essence of what attaining that goal will provide you emotionally. Identify a quality, so that you can develop an emotional connection to it. Use these questions to help you identify a quality that will work for you. What does it mean to be [goal]? What does it feel like to be [quality]? For example, if my goal is to be healthy I would ask myself: What does it mean to be healthy? To me, it means being grounded and energized. Then I would ask myself: In the past, what has it felt like to be energized? I felt happy and vibrant. When I say the word vibrant, I get an internal reaction to it. I have an emotional connection to it because I can remember what it feels like to feel vibrant and I like it. So, instead of saying I want to be healthy, which I have no connection or emotional attachment to, and is in the future tense, I can say I feel vibrant, which makes it more real and brings it into the present moment.

Read more steps to embodying a vibrant life here

Image: VinothChandar

About the Author

Elephant Journal

Elephant Journal is your guide to what we like to call ‘the mindful life’: yoga, organics, sustainability, genuine spirituality, conscious consumerism, fair fashion, the contemplative arts…anything that helps us to live a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet.

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