This new year, dream your dreams, make your plans, then commit to a 40-day (or more) practice and achieve your goals.
The 40-day practice is a long spiritual tradition aimed towards creating powerful change and new habits. Yoga practitioners have used this practice to bring about change and transformation, creating 40-day, 120-day and 1000-day practices. Put this ancient wisdom to work for you.
1. Pour yourself a cup of tea, light a candle, put on music and allow your imagination to paint the canvas of the coming year. What do you wish to create this year? Is health a priority? Is this the year you create your masterpiece? Connect with community? Become a more patient parent or partner? Do you have your sights on a new career or position? Do you wish to start your own business or dive into the arts? Do you plan to prepare healthier meals or make time for self-care? Write your list.
2. Determine the details. Do your dreams have a due date? Is it a spring conference you’re planning? A summer charity drive? A fall book release? Slimmer and trimmer by your family reunion? Or is it a dream that will unfold over time? Our dreams can look big. Too big. Often we become overwhelmed by their size. How do we accomplish such a grand dream? One step at a time.
3. Here’s the magic. Commit to your dream(s) every day for 40+ days. A client wanted to find time to exercise and eat better. She committed to 40 days of yoga. 20 minutes each evening – the time when cravings took over and snacking took place. She stayed with her commitment, showing up for herself each day of the 40 days, no matter what was happening in her life. She stopped evening snacking, since she was too busy doing yoga to be poking around the pantry. She slept better as her practice allowed her to de-stress at the end of each day. And she felt better with regular movement every day. One simple change, practiced daily, awarded her a wealth of benefits. One of the greatest: that she showed up each day as her own champion.
Planning an event, new business venture, healing a relationship or health challenge, mastering a skill, writing a book? Dedicate even 15 minutes every day towards your project. Allow room for new inspiration, ideas and people to surface and coincidences to appear. The magic is that when you show up each day, when you declare to yourself and the universe, “I am here. Let’s do this,” the universe obliges and begins to funnel resources your way.
That 15 minutes may be researching details, sketching ideas, investigating options, or it may turn into a meeting, a class, a collaboration, an outline, the first chapter, a green smoothie, or 10 sun salutations. If your dream has no deadline, commit to 40 days and see what unfolds. If your project has a place on the calendar, your daily practice is set in stone until that day.
4. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. See yourself completing your dreams. See it in detail. Who are you with? How do you feel? Allow yourself to feel the celebrated success of your accomplishments right now. Let every cell light up in joy, relief, completion, celebration, recognition, and gratitude. See the smiling faces around you and feel your dreams in form.
5. Show up today. And tomorrow. And the next. And every day of your practice. Mark it on your calendar. Keep it simple. Take a step each day toward your dreams. The year will pass whether you show up or not. Where do you want to be at this time next year? Walk toward it. If you feel better taking that walk alone then keep your agenda sacred. If you wish to make that walk with a friend, enlist support— trustworthy, caring, dedicated support of good friends or family — and be accountable to them as you become more accountable to you and your dreams.
Be gentle with yourself.
A daily practice does not mean you will not work hard. It does mean you agree to show up each day, no matter what. And with that commitment the work may be hard but the struggle will be less. Hard work does not tire us. Struggle, however, is exhausting. There is no need to struggle as each day you agree to take one step. One step toward your health, your creativity, your service and gifts, your purpose and fulfillment. After all, these are your greatest dreams. Enjoy the walk.
Make this the year to accomplish what your heart desires. And make room for the possibility that your heart may surprise you with greater abundance, joy, passion, wisdom, success and love than even you can dream.
Happy New Year!
- 40 days of eating healthy
- 40 days of gratitude
- 40 days of dance
- 40 days of learning something new
- 40 days of service
- 40 days of nature walks
- 40 days of loving self-talk
- 120 days of writing
- 120 days of painting
- 120 days of yoga
- 120 days of saving for a trip or class
- 120 days of creating your new business