Set yourself up for the day ahead, but don’t set yourself up
Inspired Action is the only action worth taking. Inspired action is action that is effortless because your WHY, your reason for doing this thing is clear to you, and you know that this action is a step or stepping stone on your path, toward your desired destination.
We all like to start each day feeling good about ourselves. We all like to begin our work feeling calm, and like there is plenty of space in the day for all that we want to achieve.
I certainly do and so do most of my clients. Yet we often find that having the intention or making goals that include meditating EVERY day or doing some yoga or eating well ALL THE TIME can often leave us feeling bad about ourselves when we fail to maintain an on-going and consistent practice..
Personally, this time of year in the UK particularly, when the mornings become darker and colder and my bed’s draw becomes greater, mean that my desire to pound pavement completely diminishes. I often wake feeling too tired or uninspired to get up and go to the gym, get on my mat for a few rounds of sun salutations, or even just sit for 10 minutes in quiet contemplation.
You and I both know the benefits of a daily practice. We are smart, healthy women. We get that exercise is good for us. It kinda goes without saying.
Whatever form it takes; dance, yoga, lifting, swimming, running, walking, jiggling –conscious breathing and movement on a regular basis increases our connection to self, enables embodiment, teaches respect and cultivates a relationship with our bodies that impacts on all areas of our lives.
Having a morning routine of conscious embodiment leads to feelings of pride, of increased confidence. As our practice develops we become more able, which in turn impacts so heavily on how we feel about ourselves and how we then interact with others.
So, once in a while I do get really in to it, and I’ll start out full of good intentions, managing a few weeks of a great routine. Then one morning I’ll press snooze on my alarm clock, preferring a few more minutes in my bed. The routine that I have been enjoying today feels like gruelling self-flagellation and bam that’s it, weeks or months of a routine gone in an instant as the one time failure becomes an everyday occurrence.
If you identify with this pattern, if you want to have a practice that serves you, but are prone to letting it all fall to pieces after a few days off: I have a plan – for us both.
I propose that our goal is not smart enough. It is an outside-in goal, rather than an inside-out goal. I mean that it is based on wanting something tangible to show us results. What if instead we made it an inside-out goal.
What if we based our success on a feeling, something INSIDE of us. What if we are just looking at it from the wrong perspective, what if this were the key to maintaining a simple and achievable morning routine…
People that have heard me speak, or work with me will have heard me propose that life is a series of experiments, and explain that when I experience a set back or failure, when something doesn’t turn out as I want or expected, I treat it as a scientist would and change some part of the experiment. Often the change is an attitude or attachment to the outcome.
Often it is being smarter with my proposed goal. In this instance I have come up with a new idea for myself that involves a smaller, more realistic, value and feeling based commitment to myself and I wonder if you’d like to try it too.
My new commitment to myself is working very well for me and I’d like to see if it works for you too. My new commitment to myself is to sit on my mat every day. That is it.
I recently went to hear Louise Androlia talk; she told us about how she sits on her cushion everyday. She talked about honouring her feelings and doing whatever she wanted from that cushion in the morning, and so this is my commitment and my proposition for you.
I will sit on my yoga mat each morning.
Some mornings it will be for the length of time it takes for the kettle to boil.
Some mornings it will be to scan my body, notice how it feels and look at it, taking in what it looks like and the story I tell myself about it.
Some mornings I’ll take my blanket with me and lie in savasana and that is it.
Some mornings I’ll practice those sun salutations and work up a sweat.
Some mornings this will lead to me putting on my shoes and heading out the door for a walk, a run, a cycle or a trip to the gym.
My focus is not going to be on what I achieve, but on how I feel…. A month into this practice and each day is different, but it feels like a commitment I can honour. I’d love for you to have a go and share with me what happens when you do.