How to Do What is Good for You Even When You Hate It. ~ Craig Morton

Via elephant journal
on Sep 11, 2012
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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.”

Sound familiar?

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?”

Guess what?

I do get bored and some days I want 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.

The real skill is doing what is good for you even when you (temporarily) hate it.

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.”

Question yourself.

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


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10 Responses to “How to Do What is Good for You Even When You Hate It. ~ Craig Morton”

  1. cathy says:

    This is really good. Thank you.

  2. @coachingcm says:

    Hi Cathy. I'm glad you found it useful. Thanks

  3. mark says:

    Reminds me of the reasons why to stop an old harmful habit. You need to see, believe, and live the reasons.

  4. Joe Sparks says:

    Great Post!
    If we could separate the feelings from reality it would be possible and highly desirable to see we our worth every effort we put into ourselves. It is an indication most of us are carrying and sitting on a mountain of old useless feelings. The contradiction is to notice, if you can take a yoga class, we are having a good life.

  5. @coachingcm says:

    Hi Mark. Well said. If you know why, then it gets easier (or at least less painful ;)) Thanks

  6. @coachingcm says:

    Hi Joe. I love that phrase " a mountain of old useless feelings". And you do point out a huge "elephant" in the room of "how bad can life be if your biggest problem is having the ability and means to practice yoga everyday. It puts a lot into perspective. Thanks for a great comment

  7. Jaa235 says:

    Great post, especially this time of the year when my yoga sessions go from 1.5 hours to non existent. A few times you skip and all of a sudden you are drinking wine on the couch night after night instead of practicing. This is a reminder that pushing through the tough times makes is how you fall in love with that which you do. Thanks!

  8. @coachingcm says:

    Hi Jaa (that is the best I could do on your name). I'm really glad that the post helped. You brought up something that I currently don't experience and the radical change of seasons with temperature and light. I've practiced a lot in those type of climates and that is a challenge (especially when you start your practice in the dark and it ends in the dark as well). Where are you from?
    I hope you enjoy practice tomorrow morning 🙂