New Year’s Resolutions – How can the Alexander Technique help?
This is a time when many of us look back on the year just gone, and forward to the one to come. It is a time for both reflection and planning – and resolutions on how we want to live our lives, and perhaps on how we want to run our business too.
Most resolutions are all about habits – how we’d like to change old ones for the better, stop some completely, or create new ones. We might want to:
- Exercise more
- Eat less (or differently)
- Stop smoking
- Start writing a journal or take up yoga
We also might set a goal of something we’d like to accomplish, like running a marathon – which of course might relate to one of the habits we’d like to change (exercise more).
Why is it, however, that most of us fail to make good on our new year’s resolutions?
My guess is that it is because habits are notoriously hard to change.
The Alexander Technique deals in habits, helping us to let go of those that do not serve us well and change them for the better. Specifically it deals with our habits associated with tension, movement and reaction. We learn simple strategies of conscious thought and awareness to enable us to start addressing these habits at a fundamental level. The key to this is learning to pause―to stop and notice―so we can let go of our habit and consciously choose how to proceed instead. Using the Alexander Technique people learn to let go of habits of mind and body that cause problems like back pain, performance anxiety and poor posture, to name but a few.
It strikes me that this same process can also apply to many other situations in our lives. How many times do we wish we had just paused for a second to think before we acted!
Alexander Technique teacher, Frank Pierce Jones (1905-1975) said,
The Alexander Technique opens a window into the little known area between stimulus and response.
So that stimulus could be the temptation of another cookie, just as much as the computer screen in front of us or someone calling our name. Learning to pause in the moment to assess our situation, gives us the power of conscious reasoning and informed choices. It can also help us make more reasonable resolutions or goals in the first place, as we have a chance to think through what we really want to do and what is realistically possible.
As I make my own plans―for my business, for my health, indeed for my life―for 2015, I know that the awareness and skills I’ve learned through the Alexander Technique will be invaluable to me. They are now a practice that is with me always, and though I fail often (especially when faced with that plate of cookies!) they certainly do serve me well.
Of course, let’s not forget that Alexander Technique can be an invaluable help in a more usual way too, as you take up new activities. Improving our coordination while reducing excess tension in whatever we are doing will not only make the activity itself more easeful and enjoyable, it will also decrease the likelihood of injury and burn out.
And so, as you make your own resolutions or set your goals for the coming year, consider the power conscious awareness and a mindful pause as your best tools to help you stick with them— if you choose to, of course!
To finish up, here are a few of my personal goals for 2015. I hope that sharing them publicly is another strategy to help me stick with my intentions!
- Develop a regular running habit, building up to a 5K later in the year (a modest goal, as I’ve never really run before!).
- Reduce the amount of sugar I eat, aiming to eliminate added sugar from my regular diet (special occasions excepted, of course!).
- Continue to develop my yoga practice.
- Get back to blogging more regularly!
What strategies do you have to help you stick to your resolutions or goals? If you practice the Alexander Technique, have you found it to be helpful? Do you have resolutions/goals you’d like to share too? If so, please use the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.
Wishing all my readers a very happy, healthy and abundant 2015!
Happy New Year, Imogen! I am looking forward to participating in your Y classes again!
That would be great, Susan. Happy new year, and hope to see you soon!
Imogen, a great start to the new year! I like your resolutions – I’m particularly looking forward to the last one. A very happy and productive 2015 to you, your family and your students. Karen
Thank you, Karen!