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Keep The Commitment

It’s near the end of February. 50 days give or take of a new year, and by now, some things about our lives and our resolutions this year might not feel quiiiite as shiny and fresh as they did on January 1st, which is to be expected!

So how do we keep the mojo flowing? How do we keep the fire going? How do we fully turn this new leaf, and keep the leaves growing? It is a fundamental part of living life--sticking to our commitments, yet it is intrinsically difficult and tricky. Being committed to whatever we commit to is a practice that requires intentionality and activity. Let’s talk about growing through our commitments from the roots up.

When looking at changing our actions, we are really talking about ways to change who we are, our affects, the returns we see on our outputs. In yogi speak, we must reflect inwardly (who we are), allow our rhythms to inform our actions, and develop and transform (effects, returns) through that unity of breath (output) and action (output).

The first key to keeping a commitment is to check in with yourself. Think a moment about what the truth about yourself is that led you to make your resolution. Remember what the importance for you, who you are, that you meet this commitment you’ve made. To really dive into this question and understand how it serves us in sticking to your commitments, I’ll use myself as an example. I don’t typically make resolutions at the new year, but I do make them throughout the year. One of mine currently is to practice yoga consistently. As I reflect inward to understand why I made this resolution, I see that I am often an inconsistent person. I don’t hold habits regularly. I rejoiced recently that I took a daily vitamin daily for more than two weeks! I have since fallen off the wagon, and am working on getting back on... So, who I am really, is someone that is affected by my environment and the external factors around me so much so that I don’t hold a consistent yoga practice. To streamline this: I don’t consistently take control over my actions to meet my goals. Woah. I see the action I want to change, and I trail it back to where the action is stemming from. My inconsistency stems from this; I know it because I know myself. And so, my resolution is made, and shallowly; it holds weight because it is a catalyst for me to be a better version of myself.

As I note this rhythm, this pattern of inconsistency, in myself, I resolve to make a shift. I resolve to grow. In the metaphor of yoga, I am watching my breathing, and slowly working to take it over. And as I do that, as I start to control my breath, or act on my resolve, it moves me to change my actions. Now, instead of my main action being latency, reaction to my environment, I am starting to act within my environment to reach my goal. Example: it’s been my MO to let a tired afternoon, or being in a family member’s home, or my husband being on a call to be reason enough to say no to yoga. Now, as I remember and notice my resolve, as I think about moving forward, I am seeing the opportunity to summon energy, to drink a glass of water, to turn in for bed 30 minutes earlier, or to move to another room in the house. I am making space, not excuses.

Notice, I don’t have too many expectations on myself when it comes to my outputs. My main one is just to do more yoga, and with consistency. The reason my goal seems so limited here is because one of the main factors of success in productivity and achievement is prioritization! I am utilizing a SMART goal model:

Specific
Measurable
Agreed-Upon
Realistic
Time-Based


I have prioritized consistency over specific asana achievement because I believe it’s healthier, more effective, and more efficient than just aiming for a handstand, or both legs behind my head, or what have you. Also, my goal matches the model:

S: It’s specific; I want to do yoga every day. That’s the goal
M: I can measure it because I can track each day if I’ve practiced at all.
A: It’s agreed upon, because I agreed with myself.
R: It’s realistic because I can practice for five minutes, or five hours. It all counts.
T: It’s time based because within 24 hours, my ability to practice in that day expires. Also, my goal is related to time.

But going back to my first point, my goal is achievable not only because it’s SMART, but because I know about myself and why I made this goal to begin with. And know we get to the crux of the issue: why it’s so hard to keep commitments.

Because we have let go of the heart of the reason for making the commitment in the first place, the purpose and overall necessity of the resolution is easily lost on our busy, overused selves. It’s not fresh in our minds; we’ve added other priorities to our list, which pull attention away from everything else that was there first; we imagine that we have limitless energy, resources, and ability to complete all the beautiful, wonderful projects we envision and hope for, when really, we achieve more when we’re focused, streamlined, and in tune with our priorities.

In all transparency, I am working through this myself. I have let my expectation for each daily practice get in the way of me actually doing my practice. Hung up on a time frame, how sweaty I think I should get, or how complex, I’ve foregone the last two days of my practice. Coming back to my mat was a not-so-subtle reminder (ow! Hello, sore back!) of why I made this resolution to begin with. I can see the reasons for my inconsistencies, and I remember my resolve to grow out of this.

Moving forward, I’m holding onto this knowledge, and paired with a SMART goal, I know that I have the ability, the resources, and the focus to stay committed and strong in my resolution. I hope this for you too, and send you all the good wishes for a strong and committed day today, and from there, moving forward with ease, grace, and breathe.

So keep the commitment to yourself and your practice for the WHOLE YEAR, not just the first few months. View the class schedule to Joy Yoga Center and let's make this a great 2017, all year round!

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