Stepping into 2022: Intention and Keystone Habits
by: Stacey Loop
Welcome to 2022, a new year full of possibilities, experiences, and connections. This article discusses methods for helping us move into a life that feels more supportive and aligned with how we want to live and show up. Of course, the answers are always inside of you but it can be helpful to have a qualified caring coach to empower you through information, strategies, and conscious listening. I hope you enjoy these strategies that have been life changing for so many of our clients.
Finding Your Word for 2022:
For many years, I have set intentions versus goals to start each new calendar year. I find that intention gives me the space to explore how I want to feel daily. Often people set goals such as losing a certain amount of weight by a certain date and begin the new year with a motivated mindset. Motivation is a beautiful quality to drive changes that you want to see in your wellness. For many of us, motivation can fade when we don’t meet the expectations that we set for ourselves and old patterning of poor self-care sets right back in.
When we tap into our heart space and lead from intention, we give ourselves permission to expand our capacity for wellness on a multidimensional level. The human experience is a multidimensional one, meaning there are multiple layers that make up our health. These are:
We also want to think of our health from how our relationships and finances are functioning.
Please give this strategy a try: Reflect on a word that describes the quality that you want to create in all areas of your life in 2022. It’s best to do this from a place of introspection and reflection versus an impulse. If you don’t have a yoga and meditation practice, then move your body first through your favorite physical activity and then settle into a quiet, uninterrupted space where you can look inward. Tune into your breath and slow your mind down. Create a vision board for the new year and look at the theme of what all of your pictures have in common. Is it a theme of “connection” or “adventure”? Look closely. There’s a word there!
For example, my word in 2020 was VITALITY and I wanted to create that quality in all areas of my life. I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I exercised 3-4X’s a week because it was my goal. I naturally was called to do this because I was clear with my “knowing” that exercise would create and maintain VITALITY. In 2021, I kept that word and added VALUED. I knew that I wanted to feel VALUED in all relationships, both personal and professional, in my life as this too would support my vitality. Do you see how this kind of thinking gives us permission to explore our capacity?
A Keystone Habit:
What’s a keystone habit? I studied keystone habits in my clinical yoga therapy training and learned that this is one habit that sets people into a positive course of action and it influences more than one dysfunctional habit. I don’t like to use the words good versus bad, but I think in terms of function and dysfunction as to whether or not something is working for you. When we learn to take the judgment out of our actions and behaviors, we can move away from feelings of poor self-worth, guilt, and shame which are low vibrational frequencies or energy in the body. Take a moment and check out the work of Dr. David Hawkins and his studies of emotions and the energetic frequencies this creates in the body. https://www.artofwellbeing.com/2016/11/08/mapofconsciousness/
Over 20 years ago, I integrated the keystone habit of practicing yoga on a weekly basis. Over time, that practice became more frequent until I developed a daily personal practice. My practice is not about perfecting anything, it’s about going inward through gentle movements, deep breathing practices and meditations given to me by my mentor. Even I have a “coach” because we often don’t see our own dysfunctions and need an outside reference to help us move into more functional behaviors. The insight I gather here influences the way I experience life on all levels such as moving with more ease, optimizing digestion, improving immune function, and staying in an overall flow of balanced energy and managing stress.
Drinking more water can be a type of keystone habit as hydration influences health on multiple levels. As you add in more clean water, you may find that you are less hungry or don’t drink as many sugary drinks. Let me be clear that hardwiring a habit takes time. In clinical training, I learned that 2 months is the average time it takes to create a new habit. This all depends on the complexity of the habit you are trying to instill. Use the word you picked for 2022 as a type of roadmap to create your keystone habit.
Remember, please be patient with yourself. You got this! Every day is an opportunity to start over. Every breath is a new opportunity to reset your nervous system.
A bit of Yoga Philosophy: Samyoga versus Viyoga
Understanding these two yoga concepts and working with them in my practice have given me a clearer understanding of how to navigate through this precious life.
Samyoga is a Sanskrit word which means to move toward that which serves you. While a keystone habit will be more specific, here we are looking at aligning with what makes us feel more whole and alive. This also takes introspection and time to observe how you feel when you participate in a certain activity, food, and even with whom you surround yourself. For example, you may know that gardening is the thing that helps destress and get you into a wonderful flow state where the mind loses track of time. But are you aware of who makes you feel comfortable and safe versus depletes your energy and ability to express yourself authentically?
Imagine a plant that moves toward the sunlight to get nourishment and flourishes in that light. We are like the plants, too, that blossom when we allow ourselves the self-care of nutrients on all of the levels I discussed previously. You will know the “it” is in service to you because you will feel your energy increase. Imagine that you have an internal “joy meter” that looks like a type of odometer. Become aware of that “needle’s” movement when you are in the process of samyoga.
Viyoga (pronounced Vee yoga) is a Sanskrit word which means to move away or break identification from that which doesn’t serve you.
Personally, I have worked on reducing news intake and violence on television. When you are focused on moving toward the richness of life, the things that aren’t in service to you naturally start to fall away. I know that I need to dance “on the daily” in order to express myself fully. There’s less time to sit and watch TV because I have to dance!!
Here’s a self-reflection exercise to journal:
- What habits or patterns create a feeling of dis-ease? Break away
- What habits or patterns create a feeling of spaciousness or ease? **Move towards
Here’s to a new year full of possibilities and amazement. Cheers!!
Enjoy the dancing video of me exploring the process of Samyoga