A Mind-body Approach to Goal Setting

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Have you make any goals or resolutions for 2023?

I’ve been thinking about this, and I’d like to share a reflection I had today on goal-setting.

I was mulling over this powerful truth I learned from one of my Ayurveda teachers that the mind craves freedom, while the body craves routine.

This was after I had just finished a long goal-setting and planning session for my business in 2023.

I was thinking about the mind. When you create goals and deadlines for what you want to achieve, it’s the mind that does that right? The mind can create as many pretty pictures as you want.

The mind is all too powerful. It can conjure up anything in an instant, and it usually expects immediate results, even when the actual work of implementation will realistically take years.

The mind just doesn’t get time.

It’s such a smarty pants, and yet it’s still nearly impossible for the mind to factor in time. 

Because of this, it creates unattainable goals, sets up multitudes of self-imposed rules, and acts as a tyrant to criticize you every time you fail to immediately meet your own expectations. 

If you can relate to this, then you know that this is no life that anyone wants to live. 

The real truth

So let’s get clear about it. What’s the real truth of the matter? 

The truth is, it’s not what you say …

it’s what you actually do that is the true measure of reality.

And what you do (or did) is an exact reflection of what you are equipped to do at any given moment in terms of energy, knowledge, heart, and skills.

If you tried your best, then it ought to be viewed as perfection, regardless of the results. 

If you tried your best, then why would you be anything less than compassionate to yourself for all that you’ve achieved, even if it isn’t everything you imagined?

The nature of the mind

In this age of short attention spans, and technology at our fingertips, the mind’s craving for freedom is fed at every turn. Gratification is seemingly endless for it. 

The mental stimulation is light, sharp, airy, and constantly in motion, just like a ruminating, looping, sharp, or racing mind. 

The energy of this type of mind is opposite from stability, heaviness, and relaxation, which is needed to promote good digestion, nourishment, and the calm mind needed for study or sleep. 

The two doshas that are most affected by an overactive mind are Vata and Pitta. 

Vata is the principle of movement, and it is most at play. The instability of thought, the fleeting nature of thought. That’s all Vata. 

Pitta is the light and sharp qualities of the mind. Heat can also be generated when the mind fans strong emotions, especially anger, irritation, and perfectionist or workaholic tendencies. 

A way forward

An effective remedy for both Vata and Pitta is to train the mind to respect and honor the body.

Maybe your body is wiser than you think? 

If you listen carefully, you can notice that the body holds the memories of a slower and more natural way of life. Slow and relaxed is the opposite of a fast and anxious mind.

Letting go of what’s in the mind is one of the most powerful ways to calm Pitta dosha, and focusing on grounding energy at the level of the sacrum is very grounding for Vata.

Routines are natural to the body. Nature is all about rhythms and routines. We can all learn from nature, and learn to do things at the right times. 

A proper New Year’s resolution

What I have written here is what I learned from my own body as I was contemplating my mind’s plans for 2023.

I was inspired to share this reminder with you to be patient, compassionate, and loving toward your physical body, and to consider letting your body lead your way into a happier and healthier 2023. 

Rather than getting nervous and worked up about whether you can actually achieve your goals (which is detrimental to the body), let your body’s wisdom lead. 

My plan is to both work hard, and rest well. I will also eat well, by continuing to prioritize cooking.

I will see how much is possible, while keeping my priorities and overall balance in tact. 

I resolve to accept what I can actually do, and to celebrate small wins regularly, rather than trying to measure up to my mind’s unrestrained expectations. 

I hope this is helpful as you anticipate your 2023. I am sure that no matter what happens, it will definitely bring in a better you. 

That’s because it is not what you accomplish, but who you are, that really matters. 

Happy New Year again, and thanks for reading.

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