As Thanksgiving approaches, it seems common to focus on being grateful for all we have, that sometimes we take for granted. But we know that cultivating that attitude of gratitude anytime is guaranteed to elevate our spirit and grant us a clearer perspective in relationship to all that is around us. What is in the forefront of my consideration these days is Commitment and its companion Discipline.
It seems to me that so many people struggle to follow through with their best intentions— let’s take for example to attend a yoga class. When one decides to try something new to their daily or weekly routine, it requires creating a new habit, outside our comfort zone. Habits are established by repetitive action over and over, preferably at the same time of the day or week. One begins with the motivation– the desire to relieve low back pain or neck pain, a repetitive strain injury, sciatica, tendonitis, etc., or just learn better breathing or how to relax. Then what is required is the discipline to follow through and show up, not letting any excuses prevent doing so.
There are so many reasons to fall off the path of commitment- being busy, family emergencies, being sick, being too tired, being in too much pain, and more. It takes looking deep within and inquiring why there are so many and frequent obstacles to taking care of ourselves, and how we can manifest a clear path so we can move forward on our goal. Trusting and reaffirming the original intuitive choice to move forward toward better health, no matter what the vehicle (yoga, Tai Chi, exercising at the gym, eating better), is the first step. The second is to make a strong affirmation to yourself in whatever way is most effective (note on the mirror, saying it out loud every morning after rising, etc). The third is (and Nike does not own this!) to truly Just Do It, on a repetitive basis!
In my physical chemistry class way back in college, I learned about the “energy of activation”: it takes a lot of energy and will power in the beginning, in other words an uphill battle. However, after persevering, one crests the peak and then it is downhill from there! So it is with committing to a healthy new habit, and practicing the discipline to maintain it. It will feel really great on so many levels to succeed.