Temptations on the loose.
People have told me time and time again that in their lives, “Starting something is easy, but I get bored and eventually quit. Time will pass and then I’ll pick it up again but only to see it eventually fade away. This just cycles around and around.”
I’ve been asked by some readers in the community, “How you can practice yoga everyday for 2 hours without getting bored or wanting to quit?”
Sometimes I think rolling up my mat and going back to bed like a normal person would be so much more enjoyable (and less strenuous). There are some mornings when the alarm goes off that I’d like nothing more than to violently throw it out the window and then smile.
When I go to bed early so I can of course, get up early, I literally feel like gagging. This is only sometimes. To be honest, rarely.
But it does happen and if I would have fallen into the trap of giving into short term desires (fantasies), then my yoga practice would have unraveled years ago. Showing up in the good times is a piece of cake. It’s easy and fun and in these stages there is no risk of quitting.
When things get hard, you have to put it into a larger context.
You need to take yourself out of the present moment and redefine (or even define) why are you doing what you are doing? This may seem like an easy task, but is it? If you just joined a gym, then you go for a variety of reasons; get your monies worth, it’s exciting, bragging rights, the quick results you are seeing, etc.
But after all of that wears off and you’re now 12 months into your routine, your motivation needs to come from deep, clear reasons that are unshakable no matter how much resistance you feel is coming your way. This is the hard question.
You have to define your reasons.
This process of defining why you are doing what it is you are doing has two incredibly powerful effects:
1. You might not need to do what it is you are doing in the same way. Your goals might have changed. In fact, I hope they have. Honor those changes. Adjust. Adapt. Just don’t quit all together.
2. You might just need a reminder. I don’t necessarily enjoy brushing my teeth every night, but when I think about skipping it (come on, we all think this sometimes), I remember that I’d like my teeth to last past my 41th birthday. So I do it.
When the alarm goes off early, or I want to quit my practice at the 20 minute mark, I remind myself why I’m doing this; health of mind and body, the challenge, I like being a yogi, a jump on my day, perseverance, smelly mats and clothes, etc.
If I really needed to, I’d take a day off or do less for a few days, but by putting my “suffering” into a larger context, I never do. A day may come when I will change it up, but that day is not today. Today I am very conscious of why it is that I am doing it. If I wasn’t, I would have most likely snoozed my way into a later wake up and lazy breakfast.
Tempting yes, but not as satisfying as my goals.
I’ve referenced this quote by Pema Chodron before, but it is always worth revisiting and hits the power of temptation on the head, “Just because you take a vow of celibacy, don’t expect the world to become any less good looking.”
What area in your life are you feeling a great deal of resistance to the point of making you want to quit?
Take time to redefine your goals and why you are doing it.
Ask yourself, “Will I feel better or worse if I did it? Will quitting make me feel better?”
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Craig Morton is a life coach at Ignite Change and practices Ashtanga Yoga.
Editor: Carolyn Gilligan