This month we are running the Warrior challenge 2018 which is trying to help motivate our community to practice more yoga during the month of May. With this in mind, we wanted to write a little piece about motivation for those people who maybe can’t commit to 21 days in May and might need a little more gentle coaxing off the sofa.
Lack of motivation it’s something which I think effects a lot of people, young and old alike. Without the motivation to exercise we can end up in a rut, a routine full of bad habits which lead to more bad habits and an overwhelming feeling that we just can’t change. The mind seems to have a lazy voice which says things like, ‘You’re too tired to do any exercise.’ ‘It’s been a hard day, just put your feet up’ ‘You’re so out of shape, you’ll struggle to get through the first 10 minutes of a class’. Sound familiar?
As a comparison, I remember one occasion many years ago when I thought my flat was in a terrible mess. I felt I didn’t have the time or the energy to tidy it up. So it just stayed there and got worse and then made me feel really bad for not dealing with it. I was trapped in a cycle of being overwhelmed with what I had to do and feeling terribly guilty for not being ‘Little Miss Perfect’ and having it all in order. I was moaning to a friend about it, and she said, ‘Tomorrow, just tidy ONE drawer. Nothing else. BUT make that one drawer immaculate.’ I went away and did just that and afterwards I sat back and noticed a sense of pride warm running through me which in turn motivated me to do the next drawer on the following day. Before I knew it a room had been tidied and sorted and I was buzzing with the joy of seeing ... well, basically seeing my floor! It was an wonderful feeling and soon I had taken old items to the second hand shop and was feeling very pleased with myself!
So what was going on ...? Why couldn’t I motivate myself at first? Well, the simple fact is, when we try to achieve too much all at once we end up diluting our efforts, feeling exhausted, not living up to our expectations. Then feeling as if we have failed. When we accomplish something small, we can build on that achievement and grow the POSITIVE voice in our head to say things like, ‘See, you can do it!’ ‘You’ve done really well!’ ‘Maybe tomorrow we can do a bit more?’
So the message of this post is this. Just DO ONE THING. Just one. If you take that first step, that first yoga pose, that first minute of meditation or that first standing balance AND be sure to congratulate yourself on that achievement, you will find it easier to be motivated tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. The upward spiral begins! And of course there will be another time when things will slip and that lazy voice creeps back in. But next time you will be prepared and tidy that voice away into a small drawer in your brain so you can begin again and do ONE thing. Just one!