It is a new year and I like to begin the new year with a practice of self-study, or Svadhyaya in Sanskrit.

“The person practicing svadhyaya reads his own book of life, at the same time that he writes and revises it.”
– BKS Iyengar in Light on Yoga

Doing some personal reflection this time of year helps me to remember to take what I want into the new year and leave behind what I do not need anymore.

Through self-study, I learn not to repeat old, dissatisfying patterns.

There is an oft-quoted saying, which I find applicable here:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

So, how will I stop repeating the same patterns in the new year?

I use journaling to help me. Let’s see if it helps you, too.

Simply answer the following questions for yourself:

  1. What patterns did I notice myself falling into last year that did not serve me?
  2. How will I stop those patterns?
  3. What will I do instead?

The first step is identifying the patterns – that’s huge! That takes a bit of self-study and self-realization. However, it is not enough. In order to change your patterns, which could be deeply ingrained through years of habitual practice, it is important to make a plan for how to stop the pattern, and then to decide what you will do instead.

Make a plan for yourself, so when you are confronted with situations that would have normally invoked an old pattern, you will already know what you want to do instead, and then you can act differently.

It is easy to judge yourself when you make a mistake and do not follow your new plan. However, I urge you to let that self-judgement go. Remind yourself that this is a new plan, and that you are still practicing. The more you practice, the better you will get at following your new plan.

I wish you much success!

May you have peace within,

Julia anjali mudra hands

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