Start Where You Are: A Yogic Approach to Goal Setting

Start Where You Are: A Yogic Approach to Goal Setting

So it’s that resolution-setting time of the year. Everyone has lots of advice about what goals to set, when to set them and how to be successful. What I would like to talk about is the energy before all that. Yes, change is good, but what happens to prepare you for that change?

Start Where You Are

In my experience, sometimes the desire to change arises out of suffering. The pain of that suffering motivates us to think the thought, “What must I do differently to reduce the existence of this problem in my life?” To relieve our suffering, we leap into making changes in our desire to move forward. But what about pausing to connect with where we are at the beginning?

The starting line is a special place. Things happened in your life to get you here – it seems to be that to have compassion for ourselves, it is good to honor who you are at this point in time. Too often we leap off into change before appreciating and fully understanding where we are NOW. How can you do that? Here are some suggestions:

1. Journal about how it feels to be you in this moment. Take 5 minutes to put pen to paper and write without editing what you say. Try to stay present to what exists in THIS moment – and avoid thinking about the past or the future. That’s for later. Honoring where you are at may give you some insight as to how you got there in the first place. Try this mantra: “I feel this way right now.” And try to let yourself be there.

2. Approach your yoga practice new with each breath. How the heck do you do that? Well, each breath is unique and different. On a microscopic level in your body, you are changing. Cells are born and die, food is transformed and air is exchanged with the world around you. Your thoughts change in the same way – always shifting here and there – new ideas are born and old ideas are recycled in different ways. Your whole being changes with each breath. Try this mantra as you practice, “This is who I am in this moment.”

3. Practice compassion for who you are in this moment. I saw a great saying recently that said, “If talking to yourself in a mean way made you happier, it would have worked by now.” Doesn’t that make sense? All of the criticism and the negative self-talk keeps us stuck. We don’t have to glorify ourselves either – that causes other problems! We are just human. We all want to be loved and be happy. Try this mantra, “I am who I am right now.”

Ok! So starting where you are can be immensely relieving in my opinion. For this week, try to practice acceptance of who you are, not trying to change anything but just lovingly noticing who are in each breath, each moment.

I believe in you!




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