The Long Form - Honest 10
So by now most (all) of our lofty new year’s resolutions have evaporated and are, at most, a faint memory. Surprisingly, it’s near impossible to go to the gym 6 times a week, read multiple serious books in a month AND prep clean lunches for work, or whatever impossibly high bar we set for ourselves this year. Phew, just typing out this list was exhausting enough.
We at Milkweed are taking a different approach – we will be setting a good enough bar that we like to call the “Honest 10”™. Set an intention, give yourself 10 minutes on the clock and then you meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, read a book or pack your lunch – 10 minutes and you’re done.
How easy is that? Check that off your list and pat yourself on the back. You’re probably thinking it sounds simple enough but really what’s the point. Will it have an overall positive effect. Will it make a difference? All signs point to yes.
According to B.J. Fogg, a Stanford psychologist and world-expert on behavior, tiny changes train your brain for success. He recommends choosing a desired outcome, setting a modest goal and integrating this small change into your life. You want to start reading novels. Set the book on your nightstand, maybe get a specific timer. When you go to bed, it will be there. After 10 minutes celebrate your success and stop.
B.J. Fogg writes that over time you’ll find yourself reading pass the 10 minute mark or having this habit spill into other times of your day. But wait - there’s more. In the same way that small successes create new habits, failing at at grand resolutions can be detrimental. This is the curse of the New Year’s resolution. We fail spectacularly so we give up completely.
Although moving towards a positive change can be rewarding, baked into every resolution (whether we are aware of it or not) is the idea that we are we are not enough in our current state. There is an art in balancing the desire for change with a recognition that we are sufficient as we are. This acceptance is at the heart of the practice of Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep is a powerful meditation technique that allows you to reach a deep level of relaxation. This winter we’ve been practicing with the awesome Taryn Diamond at Union Yoga, where she regularly guides Nidra workshops that combine restorative yoga and meditation.
At the beginning we are all asked to set an intention that is firmly rooted in the present, is self-affirming, and positive. The anti-New Year’s resolution if you will. As Taryn writes “during a nidra practice, participants rest comfortably in savasana and are progressively led to deeper levels of imagination and relaxation” which will leave you “renewed, restored and refreshed”.
Just take some time for yourself, is really the point we're trying to make here. Make small commitments, instead of living for those once-in-a-blue-moon spa days. It's not necessary to make self-care about rigorous, measured improvement, you're allowed to just enjoy a few simple minutes of quiet. Because honestly - you're already a 10.