We all know what the New Year brings: promises, resolutions, and a determination to create change in our lives. Unfortunately, less than 10% of resolutions even make it to the end of January.
How do we stay inspired to pursue the goals we want to achieve? In his book The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Discipline Into Massive Success, Jeff Olson talks about the key to success in achieving anything. His secret: take small, repetitive actions every day towards your goals.
For a yoga practice, especially if you are a beginner, this makes tons of sense. We often have visions of getting our palms to the floor in Uttanasana, or holding a headstand for 10 minutes, or contorting into the most advanced of poses.
But having unrealistic expectations is a big part of why resolutions fail.
If you have a goal to have a daily home practice, a few simple steps will help you bring your desires to fruition.
- Clarify the vision: is it a daily practice with one class in a studio per week? Using a DVD? Practicing with your toddler? Be specific.
- Have a timeline of when you'd like to achieve this goal. Don't obsess on this, just pick a point in the future.
- Have a basic plan. For example, purchase a book or DVD. Or ask your body where it needs attention.
- Choose a time frame that is completely do-able to start. Many experienced yogis say it is better to spend a small time daily on the mat than 2 hours once a week.
- Determine the daily discipline. This distills a basic plan to practice using a book, say, to the actual things you will do. For example, choose 4 standing poses to explore in 15 minutes on the mat. Leave a couple minutes for Savasana.
What you'll likely find is that soon the 15 minutes will want to become 20, or 30. And you will add poses naturally as your body and mind become more aware. If the goal is an authentic one, by taking baby steps you will stick with it and arrive at the destination.
Know too that the goal may change, or the plan. This is ok, just keep taking small actions every day. Olson's book goes into much more detail and is well worth a read, but don't fret about having one more thing to do. Just try the basic steps. Or as Yoda would say, DO.