Feeling inconsistent? Read this.
Let me start by saying that you are not alone. When setting a new schedule or building a new habit, it can be very challenging to stay consistent.
Picture this: you plan to practice 45 minutes of yoga 5 times week. You do well for the first couple of days! But then something happens on the 3rd day, and you skip. You try to recuperate by "doubling up" on the 4th day, but that makes you very tired on the 5th day and don't feel very successful. The following week rolls around something similar happens again. You don't really know if you can trust yourself to execute the plan to practice consistently so you don't begin again. This is a classic case how too high of expectations can slow or even stop progress, leading to frustration or even shame.
My suggestion here is to do less.
Instead of 45 minute classes 5 times a week, try 15 minute classes 2-4 times a week. Notice that I said 2-4 times rather than a specific number - this gives some wiggle room for things to change. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to practice for a whole hour to benefit from practicing yoga. If 15 minute classes fit your schedule and attention span right now, do that! The 45 minute classes aren’t going anywhere and will be there for you when you want them.
Another example - you may expect yourself to begin a daily 30 minute seated meditation practice every morning. You sit for a day or two, but for some reason, you’re just not feeling it. Your mind wanders, you don't feel at ease, and you you begin to think the practice is just for you.
What if you had more success:
- laying down (rather than sitting) for a 10 minute meditation in the afternoon
- going on a mindful walk or run
- standing outside in the fresh air and sun to take a few long and complete breaths
These are all valid forms of meditation. I have more suggestions, but maybe reading those inspired some of your own ideas. The main idea here is to adjust as needed so you can build appropriately and not to burn out yourself out. Perhaps sitting for 30 minutes at a time will feel good and spacious for you one day, but you don't have to start there. Start with what makes sense for your life right now, with what will allow you to be consistent, and build from there.
"If 15 minute classes fit your schedule and attention span right now, do that! The 45 minute classes aren’t going anywhere and will be ready for you when you want them."
I’m a big fan of adapting ones’ practice because doing so can often be the difference between staying the course or letting the practice fall off the side.
The next time you sense that you’re becoming inconsistent, I invite you to check-in and see how you can adapt your practice for your current life situation and resources. Keep going. You got this. Talk to you soon, - Megan