Last fall I decided to be an early morning yogi.
Yup, that’s right, the yogi we all want to be, fiercely dedicated to a practice. I wouldn’t give in to excuses. No way! I’d be stronger than that. I’d be a “no matter what” kind of yogi. I’d be outta bed no matter what happened the night before, no matter how dark or how cold the morning. No matter if I had a stuffy nose. No matter the time of month. I’d get up, I’d go, I’d feel exhilarated and attack the day.
And I got it done! I became that yogi, rode my bike through the dark, silent, city streets, one morning after the next, arrived to a silent room where I was surrounded by the other fiercely dedicated, and I practiced. I felt strong, proud, productive.
But soon enough, some of those all too familiar thoughts started running in my head…
“but it’s too cold”
“but it’s too far”
“but it’s too expensive”
“but I stayed up late”
“but one day off won’t kill me, right?”
And before I knew it, “early morning” yogi became “sleep-in-til-10-then-roll-out-of-bed” yogi. Actually, yogi was no longer a term I could rightfully use. I’d stopped completely.
Tell me you can relate. To having EVERY bloody intention of following through, and then… not. WHY OH WHY does it seem inevitable for excuses to take over?
Well, to put it simply, because we love setting unrealistic goals. My thinking was this, for instance: “Ok, Jody, you want to feel clear headed and connected to yourself every morning? Why don’t you start by riding your bike through below freezing temperatures at 6 am, five times a week? You can do it.”
Sure, I could do it. But did I want to? If I was really being honest with myself, what I wanted was to be able to say “yes” to late night salsa dancing and be wrapped up in bed like a burrito the morning after.
What if I made goals that left room for all I wanted? Goals that actually made sense for ME, that wouldn’t force me to give up on other priorities? Those goals I could get excited about, could sustain, and would lead to permanent change.
So, back to the drawing board. I revisited my action plan. I made it MUCH simpler. So simple, in fact, it seemed kinda silly.
You know what I ended up with?
Saying “bye-bye” to early morning yogi and her freezing cold fingers. And instead challenging myself to start each morning with 30 minutes unplugged. That’s it. On any given day that might include reading, writing, meditation and/or stretching. Or, if I’m being honest, it might just include putting my feet up against the wall and breathing deeply. The only non negotiable is that I’m unplugged. It absolutely still gets me feeling “clear headed” and “connected” and what’s even better is it’s a practice I can sustain, not just for a season, but for a lifetime.
Ok, your turn. Consider a habit of yours you’ve been trying to change for a while. Ditch the all or nothing mentality. Readjust your goals, your action plan. Make it so simple it seems silly. It’s got to be doable. Attainable. It’s got to work for YOU.
Once you can consistently reach your goal (could take weeks, or months), you’ll set another goal, and another… and go on and on embodying, owning these new habits until you’re exactly the you you want to be.
Now tell me what works for you! Share with me ONE lifestyle change you’ve made and how you’ve managed to maintain it consistently.