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Here is a post just in time for 2018 where upon the stroke of midnight  (or when the hangover subsides) we magically transform into the superior versions of our ideal selves. All best intentions materialize with little effort and no self-flagelation when things start to slide around Jan 19th….

We are all familiar with the drill- some of our resolutions stick and some, not so much. I never did learn Italian (despite the native boyfriends). I did manage the DJ lessons but no gig. I have attempted to  perform ‘the crow’ in yoga but mine is  more like an arthritic crab. I did eat a quail the year I added that to my list. I see the importance of achieving small goals.

With my reading preparation for this blog  a few things became clear.

  •  The majority of resolutions were standard issue health improvements. Eating more healthily, drinking less, quitting smoking  and more exercise. A generalization formed from the research, is that nearly every person wants to improve their well being.
  • There are two schools of thought on how to achieve resolutions: being specific on the parameters of the goal and habit formation.
  • The Chinese attribute types of behaviour with a disharmony in a certain organ. Eg the gallbladder is related to planning and decision making, the kidney is about the will and an overworked spleen causes circular thoughts that makes new habits hard to stick with.

These three things are all individual ideas yet are tightly interwoven. Why don’t we make time for our health? Why do we put off addressing the insomnia, anxiety, stress, headaches, back pain etc? We perpetuate a vicious cycle and wear ourselves thin so we don’t have the energy to become well and therefore obtain more from life.   Health = achievement. It’s the number one way to fulfil any resolution.

I see that all good intentions can fall apart when the attempts don’t provide immediate results.  The problem being either the goal is too broad or not broken into attainable chunks. For e.g think about how people train for a marathon. You don’t just pop on your trainers on January 1st and clock up 26.2 miles on a berrocca and a bacon sandwich.  Realistically on the first day you might start with a ten minute jog and a high five for effort.

This article from The Telegraph  has sound advice on how to specify your goals and how to achieve them with rewards along the way. It’s basically being awarded badges in Brownies for grown ups. Piece on specific goal setting for NYR.

The habit forming camp is also a strong way to approach things if you don’t want to put pressure on yourself to hit targets but enjoy routine.Tricks for positive habit forming from the Guardian.

I love a self help book ( as she picks up her copy of Tim Ferris’s ‘The 4- Hour Work Week’.) Who doesn’t like hope and betterment ideology devised by someone else? If you read the Guardian article Gretchen Rubin has a fun quiz link there. Clearly, for anyone that knows me, I  am an Upholder-  ( Ms Black and White/ Brownie Badge Collector) Rubin also wrote a best selling book The Happiness Project.  It’s got ideas on how to alter your perspective towards happiness and achieving it in different forms.

As for the Chinese links with organ imbalance and behaviour patterns, the theory is constantly proven in the clinic. It’s spookily accurate. I can now diagnose myself when I’m lacking a bit of oomph.

January is an interesting time for Westerners to set New Years Resolutions as it comes after a time of delicious indulgence in cheese, pigs in blankets and booze. This burdens your liver and gallbladder ( which are paired in Chinese medicine) and the gallbladder helps planning and decision making. So a strained gallbladder is not loving a 20 point plan for World Domination just because the calendar turned a page.

Equally the kidney is where we draw from when we need to keep going. Overwork and insufficient rest draws on the ‘jing’ or ‘life essence’.  This comes at the end of a long year where we top it off with a dirty old ‘liver party.’ The kidney is responsible for will in an emotional capacity. Therefore a weakened kidney cannot sustain the willpower to commit to new endeavours.

What’s the solution from a Chinese perspective? If you want to outsmart your gallbladder and kidney (and enhance sticking to your goals) acupuncture is able to help with that aspect.  There is a brilliant point designed especially for this Bl52 ‘Ambition Room’. Unblocking the qi can encourage motivation to flow and provide clarity. An added bonus is better sleep, an ease in dealing with stress and the energy to set your alarm for the gym, yoga or meditation.

Acupuncture is akin to a giant all over body sigh. That’s a good way to stay focused.