The year’s beginning is traditionally time to make and attempt to carry out “resolutions”- goals for some kind of positive change or accomplishment.
The ritual of taking stock and looking ahead is a good thing, but only the first step. The power to sustain change and ingrain a new habit (or resume one) comes from a deep desire and the discipline to carry on past the pitfalls and distractions of inertia, temptations of familiar temporary pleasures and comforts, and hidden self sabotage.
Let’s take the example of yoga. Why would you want to begin (or resume) a yoga class or home practice? Have you read or heard that yoga might help your physical pain, limitation, or condition; or reduce emotional/psychic stress? Or have you already had a positive experience with yoga- increased relaxation, well being, mobility, or vitality?
The more positive feedback one has with an activity, the more likely it is to be reinforced to become a habit. Still, commitment must be strong to sustain a habit through the treacherous shoals of our life’s passage- endless demands on our time from family, work or competing activities, or our natural sloth and inertia – much less effort to stay cozy in bed, or enjoy a leisurely morning coffee and the newspaper or a good book, and then the time is gone. It is essential to “keep your eyes on the prize”- your motivation, your “why”, and “just do it” so you can keep building those positive results and reinforcement, until your new habit is a part of your life you would not want to give up!
However, from that point on it is still not easy street. Guess what? After almost 30 years of essentially daily yoga practice (with 10 previous years of less commitment), I still sometimes have to steer myself to my yoga room in the morning, and resist the temptation to first sit down at the dining room table, or at the computer, or start fussing around outside in the garden. Why do I keep at it? Because if I don’t, in a day or few the physical and energetic consequences are obvious to me and everyone I come in contact with. And when I do honor my daily commitment, besides the obvious benefits to my body mind and spirit, there is that sense of mastery and satisfaction- that I have taken care of myself in the best possible way, so that I may be of maximum service to others.
Blessings for a healthy happy prosperous 2012!