New Year Resolutions and Revolutions

by Colleen Cannon, 1984 World Triathlon Champion and Founder of Women’s Quest

Before you start going crazy with hard core New Year’s resolutions, take time to make a little space for some fresh new insights. A good way to do this is to clear out any grudges, resentments, fears or blocks that could be keeping you from getting what you want in the New Year. All of this anger and resentment just steals your precious energy so take a moment and let go of anything or anyone that is holding you back from your dreams coming true in 2009.

Resolutions and RevolutionsAt our Hawaii Relaxation Retreat (March 7-14th) we do a really fun ceremony at the beach that is called HO’ OPONOPONO, a “making it right” ceremony we do each night before the sun goes down. We go down to the beach and just think of all the things that have been bothering us… all the resentments, guilt, problems — anything that has been stealing our energy. Then, with our breath, we send all the problems and concerns into the eyeball of the sun and visualize them burning up as they get close to the sun’s energy. If you can’t get to the beach you can practice this exercise in at sunset in any beautiful place in nature. And if you can’t see the sunset you can improvise. I live on the east side of the Continental Divide in Colorado and can’t see the sunset from our mountain home so I use Aspen trees as a substitute for the sunset. I just let the trees transform any negative feelings by taking the negativity into their root system and as it goes up the tree trunk it gets “fairy dusted” and transformed by all the Keebler elves living in the forest. By the time it gets to the branches all that negativity is transformed into sparkling light streaming out healing energy.

So now that you have a clean slate you can start to create. I have to caution you though…

The Winter season has more to do with nourishing, restoring and going inward and it is unnatural to try to force your body into losing weight when it is natural and normal to have extra weight this time of year. It is also natural to be in a more dreamtime state, sitting by the fire instead of taking action on all of your dreams. It is natural for you to want to sleep more and go to the gym less. Don’t worry, you are not a slacker. You are normal and following the natural rhythms of nature. You would not find a bear coming out of his den and going to the gym… the bear is restoring his energy for the spring fun to come.

So… Don’t get bummed out if you don’t turn into superwoman January 1st, shedding pounds, working out constantly and making big leaps forward. I think this whole weight loss and gym craze is a bit psycho. You absolutely want to move around, but it should be gentle and at a low heart rate, especially in winter. You may want to do more yoga, Qigong or Tai chi, you may want to meditate or read. The key is to learn to listen to your body and follow the rhythms of nature; they will guide you.

OK, but it’s still January so we all want to better ourselves. It is also natural to always want to improve so with this in mind…


Before you start this resolution “better yourself and the world” party, realize a few things and say them to yourself:

  • I am enough.
  • There is enough.
  • I am amazing, wonderful and lovable just as I am.

Now that you have said this you can now relax and explore what is percolating from the depths of your soul (not something society has told you needs to improve).

Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change!” So a simple change of perspective can make all the difference when tracking your New Year’s resolutions.

Why not change I NEED to lose weight to…

  • I want more lightness in my life.
  • I want to feel vibrant and alive.
  • I want to build my energy and vitality.

Why not change I NEED to get organized to…

  • Everything is in perfect order and has divine timing.
  • Everything always works out for me.

Our life coach Helen Green has a wonderful saying about NEEDING! She says… “All I NEED is within me now.” I love that mantra and when you say it your whole body relaxes.

If you can change your perspective on why you want this resolution and go about it from a place of feeling good instead of not good enough you won’t automatically set yourself up for failure. Your body hears every word and thought so give it some positive prompting instead of freaking it out by telling it to lose 10 pounds in a week. If you tell your body that you are OK and you are just making some minor adjustments to the overall lifestyle plan, then it’s less likely to freak out and the change you wish to see will happen without effort and almost automatically. Don’t proclaim war on your body or your mind!

If you start a program at the gym or a diet that is too hard-core you are setting yourself up for failure. Make it easy on yourself and let your body come back into balance naturally by starting off slow.

You are more likely to get up and run, go to the gym, follow a healthy eating plan or train for your Tri for the Cure triathlon if you have a buddy to do it with. Just having a friend will make it more fun and you can help each other when you start to lose the excitement.

Take your program one day at a time and if you slip up don’t throw the whole plan out the window. Ideally you want to train your body/mind to trust your words by implementing the actions to support your resolution. For instance I wanted to improve my swimming when I was a triathlete and I had to get up each day and go to the masters work out. If I had just blown it off each day then my body would have thought I was joking. So you want to do things each day that support your life purpose and your resolution dream but they have to fit into your already packed lifestyle. And remember, these goals can be anything so don’t be too rigid…Let new ideas come in and the miracles happen. It is a step in the right direction and even leaning in the direction of your dream counts.

This goes along with the baby step part but the whole idea is to allow and coax you into feeling good about yourself. When I was racing I would keep a training log and each night I would write down my training but more importantly I would write down everything I did well that day. Sometimes it was just that I tied my shoes well. These little successes really help the subconscious mind believe that you are a success and that success is possible.

So here are some easy, stress-free, feel-good resolution helpers:

  • If you don’t have time to meditate 20 minutes twice a day just try one minute meditations throughout the day and use whatever is in front of you as your practice.
  • If you don’t have time to go to the gym three times a week just go out for a walk to the mailbox, but most importantly try to get outside everyday.
  • If you don’t have time to stretch or do yoga for an hour everyday, find three simple exercises you can do to move your spine and breath, and do them everyday.
  • Instead of cutting out all junk food cold turkey, allow yourself one day a week to have your favorite treat. Make it special, not a punishment.
  • Instead of doing any of this, just go out, have fun and enjoy life!!

Finally I want to leave you with my favorite saying of all time by Thich Nhat Hanh which helps sum up a good resolution: Go slowly, breathe and smile! My translation:

Go Slowly and bit by bit. It is a healthy, long lasting lifestyle that will create the vitality you want.

Breathe. The breath or inspiration is learning to listen to what motivates, excites and inspires you. It is hard to MAKE yourself MAKE changes, but is easy if it is inspired action, because you will want to do it. Rumi says, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” Love is like a magnet that sets everything in motion. It is much easier to swim downstream than upstream, so find what inspires you and go with the flow!

Smile. This really sums it all up. Just smile because it actually opens the central channel of your body and allows grace to align you with what you are naturally. You are the God Spark of all that is beautiful, magical and wonderful. When you smile you “Align with that Divine” part of yourself, which is this internal giggle of delight that is just so happy to be alive. Remember, “angels fly because they take themselves lightly” so don’t take it so serious and lighten up the fast and easy way. Just Smile. My motto is: If it is not fun, just don’t do it!!

Women's Quest HawaiiCatch the Aloha Spirit and thaw out in the magical waters of Hawaii with Colleen and the Women’s Quest staff. The Hawaii Relaxation Retreat takes place by the amazing bay of Hookena from March 7th to 14th, 2009. You will do everything to nourish and relax every cell of your body, including open water swimming and yoga each day along with hikes to the Volcano National Park, pristine waterfalls, and sacred sites to rejuvenate your spirit.


  1. Kathleen says:

    Lovely post! Great insights and advice that I’ll follow along my new year journey.

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  2. Stephanie says:

    I’ve never been a dedicated ‘blogger’, but the inspiration you share here gives me that spark inside. The rustling and stirring of life inside what already is me. Thank you so much for the blog! It’s bookmarked as a ‘check-everyday-with-my-email’ note. :)

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  3. Megan says:

    Thank you so much for this uplifting article. I have been working a lot with the idea of listening and you say some beautiful things about just that. Thank you

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