The struggle to form a new, positive, healthy habit is real. Let’s say you’re trying to create a new habit of practicing yoga regularly. But there’s a part of your mind that is constantly coming up with reasons why you can’t join a class. Or sometimes, your mind is being a stubborn roadblock that is not allowing you to break old patterns printed in your subconscious mind.
The mind is a fickle, wild thing. When unwavering and controlled, it is a powerful asset that you own and no one can take away. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, “the mind can be controlled by constant practice and detachment” (Bhagavad Gita 6.35). He says that every time the mind wanders, due to its flickering nature, we must be able to bring it back under our control. This is easier said than done - that's when “abhyas”or constant practice helps. Just concentrate on doing it today and do not listen to the reasons the mind is giving you today. That's the first step to controlling the mind. When you begin to control the mind and its desires, you have a stronger grasp over your decisions, routine, lifestyle and, ultimately, overall life.
5 ways to stick to your new, healthy routine
Invest your mind, body and money
Invest in your new routine. If you're getting into the habit of practicing yoga regularly, join a live yoga class with a certified yoga teacher instead of practicing via online videos, or join Shvasa’s 200-hours Yoga Teacher Training program. When you pay for something, you will always hold yourself accountable. The excuses will not matter. You will want to get the most of what you are paying for. Your mind will automatically tell you to show up for class. Instead of spending money on clothes (that may not look good on us) or eating out, invest in your health. You need to invest not just your money, but your time and your thoughts.
The best way to make time for your yoga class and make yourself a priority is to schedule it in and prioritize it. Add it in your calendar beforehand and make sure you don’t have any overlaps. Go over your calendar the night before, and think and plan for the next day. You may have to force it for a few months and then it becomes a natural habit. With Shvasa yoga classes, when it’s in your calendar you will get reminders as well, ensuring you won’t miss your class. This will also add to your accountability and leave you feeling guilty if you cancel!
Celebrate your wins
Reward yourself for every small milestone. Whether it is attending all 3 or 4 classes a week, achieving an advanced yoga posture, or meditating everyday. You can also ask your buddy to reward you when you have stuck to your routine for a month! Or, post a picture on social media or on the Shvasa community! You’ll be celebrating your wins with others, which will motivate you and your community. Every small win matters and rewarding yourself gives you the motivation and drive to say no to excuses.
Use the buddy system
Get your friends involved. Find a mentor who is empathetic and understands your goals. This should be someone you can trust blindfolded. Or, ask a buddy to join you for a yoga class. Or, if you’re going alone, ask your friend to check in with you regularly to make sure you attended your class. When you have someone else holding you accountable, you will be much more motivated to show up. With a buddy around, it’s also a lot more fun! You can talk about your experiences, help each other and even practice together outside the class.
When you find yourself making excuses, be conscious and mindful of what you are thinking and saying. This way, you’ll be aware of what changes you need to make.
In the beginning, your mind will constantly make excuses. It will tell you why you can’t attend a yoga class. It will try to trick you into following old patterns of behavior until you can really break through. So, let’s look at how you can overwrite old behavior and stick to a new, healthy routine.
Common excuses to overcome when forming new habits
I don’t have time
Yes, we know this one. It’s true, nobody has time. But everybody can make the time. If you don’t have an hour, join a yoga class for 30-minutes. If you don’t have 30-minutes, follow a short sequence of 15 or 20-minutes. When you start experiencing changes in the body and mind, you will make more time.
I hurt my wrist/ ankle/ knee etc.
Hurt your wrist? No problem, work on core, legs or hips. Hurt your ankle? Practice backbends. Spend time meditating or doing breathing exercises. If you have injured yourself, inform your teacher. But don’t let this excuse throw a wrench into the works.
I can’t wake up early
This is a tough one for many, but should not stop you from joining a yoga class an hour later or in the evening, especially if you are practicing yoga online. With a platform like Shvasa, the best part is you have multiple timings to choose from giving you immense flexibility.
I have too many responsibilities
Your to-do lists and responsibilities will never end. The top of your priority list should be yourself. Your self-care matters the most. Your to-do list will be there even after your yoga session. When you are healthy and balanced, your productivity improves and you will perform better at all your responsibilities.
I can’t be mentally present on the mat
Yes, it is difficult to switch off and be present during your yoga class. You might keep thinking of what you have to do after the hour is up. But start by trying to simply follow your yoga teacher’s instructions and focus on your breath. In time you will learn to be present.
The class was too easy or too tough for me
I couldn't keep up with the pace, I felt I was too good or not good enough for it. Well classic monkey mind behaviour. Speak with the teacher - take his or her advice on which is the right class. If you do not again another year will pass and you will be exactly where you are. It's better to speak and be open and get advice.
Excuses will be endless. Start by making the effort to say ‘NO’ to the excuse. Gradually, your mind will realize these are all just that - excuses.
Put out an intention to the universe to stick to your routine. Creating a new habit takes time. You cannot build a habit once or twice a week, but only when you practice daily. Sometimes, it even takes 3-6 months because sticking to it can be tricky for all the reasons stated above.
If you’ve made up your mind to change your habits, routine and lifestyle, follow these simple tips. As you become more accountable, your motivation will stay strong and you’ll begin to notice the benefits which will further help you stick to your habit. Yoga is a practice that, once you make a part of your lifestyle, will help stay steady, strong and unwavering in your mind and commitment. Try out Shvasa’s live yoga classes - we promise you, you will stick to your new habit!