This happens to me every January: a few weeks into the New Year and it’s already feeling like the same-old, same-old. My New Year’s resolutions are wearing thin, the weather is a dreary mess of gray, the holiday season has depleted my social and economic fuel, and my gumption reserves are nearing empty. I have learned from the past that if I don’t muster at least some sort of momentum right about now, my energy will soon stagnate and I’ll succumb to the winter blues.
You are your most healthy and balanced when your personal energy has a regular flow to it. When you lack inertia, your energy becomes slow, heavy, susceptible to invasion, and conducive to illness. You may feel lethargic, dejected, and lose the drive to do anything about it. This can put you in a downward spiral toward depression. To combat this, you have to keep moving. But how do you get yourself to move when all you feel like doing is…nothing? Personally, I have found that the best antidote to winter lethargy is to challenge myself.
A challenge is a great way to get your energy flowing because it can inspire progress, boost self-esteem, and lift mood. Creating a challenge gives you something to look forward to later, and it offers you something to do now. Plus, it can help you form a new, healthy habit – especially if it has a daily requirement. In this first month of a New Year, rather than waiting for spring to arrive, why not create a challenge to keep yourself in motion?
“It takes 40 days to break a habit; 90 days to gain the new habit; 120 days and you are the habit;
1,000 days you are Master of it.” -Yogi Bhajan
The father of Kundalini yoga, Yogi Bhajan, taught that it takes 40 days of consecutive practice to form a different pattern of being for yourself; “It takes 40 days to break a habit; 90 days to gain the new habit; 120 days and you are the habit; 1,000 days you are the Master of it.” According to Bhajan, if you practice something for 40 days – without interruption – you will essentially restructure your energies. Add another 50 days, for a total of 90, and you have gained yourself a new habit. In my many experiences with 40, 90, and 120 day long, Kundalini yoga meditation challenges, I can personally attest that a consecutive practice does alter your habits. In fact, I am so pleased with the results that I now keep a constant challenge going all year long.
So, to help you keep a balanced energy flow this winter, and to encourage you to challenge and grow, I present the first official, Mechanics of Being 40 day challenge: Do one new thing, every day.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”- Arthur Ashe
New Year Newness
The challenge is simple. Every day for forty days, you must find one new thing to experience. It may be something you do, see, hear, feel, think or even notice; anything that is new to you counts. The point is to challenge yourself, to engage your curiosity, inspire your creativity, to give you things to look forward to every day, and to keep your energy moving. It’s out with the old, in with the new, only instead of waiting around for the new to occur, you are going challenge yourself to make sure that it does. This is how you maintain momentum in order to stay balanced and healthy all winter.
Before you begin the challenge, mark your calendar with a start date and the end date forty days later. This will keep you focused. It may also be helpful to write out a weekly plan and a list of the new things you’ll do.
To help you out, here are some ideas:
Notice something you haven’t before, taste a new food, go to a new restaurant, take a new route, read a new book, part your hair in a new direction, sing a new song, see a new show, rearrange your furniture, make a new recipe, try on some new clothes, answer the phone a new way, talk to a stranger, make a new friend, listen to new music, visit a new place, try a new exercise or dance move, laugh a new way, have a new idea …and so on.
I encourage you to give this a try because I know that if you challenge yourself to have a new experience every day for forty days, you will not only keep your energy flowing in a healthy manner and stave off the winter blues, but you may even make a discovery that creates a whole new avenue of happiness in your life.
Best of luck to you and all your newness!
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