Releasing Resolutions: The New Year's Letting Go

New Year's Resolutions.
The thing that seems doomed to be unlasting.

Why is it that this beautiful tradition of setting the compass for a new year is so culturally linked to something not followed through with? Must this be the way?

Photography | Andrew Lawes

Photography | Andrew Lawes

Contrary to common perception, the word resolution comes from Latin resolutio, from resolvere, 'loosen', 'release'. In music, a resolution consists of moving from tension, or disharmony, into harmony.

How interesting.

Rather than reaching, even grasping, for an ideal thing or an action yet-to-be-completed, this suggests a letting go.

Perhaps it is less about seekingand more about widening the boundary of what already is. Letting go of what we think should be a good resolution for ourselves, and hearing what we truly need.

We tend to be very good at making excuses. Often this is in the guise of a hidden fear.
For example, 'Not enough time / energy / experience' is usually 'I'm afraid'. 

Why do you stay imprisoned, when the door is so wide open?
— Rumi

True letting go includes releasing the walls of our own making. An increased awareness of barriers that may have become invisible in their familiarity.

Instead of building new rules and restrictions through mind-will, what happens when you entrust more to the wisdom of your body?

Regardless of our self-perceived flaws, our body is capapble of much more than our planning, over-thinking mind likes to admit. This self-regulating, complex, and rather miraculous home we each have, is a gift.

So this is my invitation to you: instead of adding yet another thing (or many things) to-do for 2018, find one thing - one wall that currently blocks you - and let it go.

Not easy, but simple. Be kind, and lighten your own load.

Photography | Andrew Lawes

Photography | Andrew Lawes


We are in a culture of quick-fixes and instant results; this is an un-doing that moves us into the pace of nature - unhurried, steady, and nourishing.

The challenge, and the practice is to tune in, prioritise and trust. 

It takes time to grow this practice. A seed will not spring into a tree overnight - likewise, letting go needs the fertile soil of an open mind, daily watering, and the nutrients of patience and compassion.

Here are some tips to get you started - and some ideas below for cultivating a quiet state of being over doing, listening to the body rather than chattering with the mind.

1. Let it start small. You might begin with just 2 minutes a day.

2. Keep notes (we have enough to think about as it is!) so you can reflect on the subtle changes and experiences.

3. Be honest. When you find yourself in resistance, acknowledge it, so it is no longer a ghost. This allows you to move past it, gently.

4. If you slip into old habits, learn to forgive. Harsh feelings only move you backwards. Learn what tips you the wrong way and how you can avoid this next time.

Stay open, easeful, kind - and observe how your seed of listening, of being, starts to grow. Perhaps, over time, you'll find a little more mind-space, simply to be yourself. 

Bakasana, thwarted by rogue wave! Photography | Andrew Lawes

Bakasana, thwarted by rogue wave! Photography | Andrew Lawes





The birds. The leaves. The sunlight through the clouds. Take 2-3 minutes each day to be quiet, and in this stillness, observe and sense the life happening around you.

Note down how this affects you. What is something new you noticed? What shifts in your mood, your sensations and thoughts? What fades in importance, and what grows?



For your own heart beat, your own breath and pulse. Get acquainted with the rhythm that keeps you alive. Perhaps a bit of gratitude for this tireless pulse of aliveness.

Is it easy to find? Is there resistance to listening in stillness? What distracts you from tuning in? If there is resistance, where do you feel it in your body?



Reflect on a line, or words that rang true to you this last week. You know the feeling, when certain words really pluck your heartstrings or give you a little tug in the gut.

Write them down. Stick it up somewhere you pass each day - a mirror, the fridge, the desk. Observe how you might carry these words into how you move, speak, eat, dance, rest. 



Questions are the torches that guide us uncertain spaces.

These were shared with me through a beloved yoga teacher, but they can apply to any circumstance with just as much resonance. It's worthwhile reflecting on these regularly - the answer will evolve as you grow :)

Who is it you’re learning to become?
What is it you’re hoping to cultivate through this practice?

Be honest and direct with yourself. Hold a conversation. Take your time. You're worth it.


Photography | Andrew Lawes

Photography | Andrew Lawes