I’ve heard from at least a few students during the pandemic who have told me that they’re just not finding the motivation and self-discipline to keep up with their yoga practice at home. With the New Year approaching, many of us are probably thinking about resolutions, and re-committing to our yoga practice might be one of them. But the truth about most New Year’s resolutions is that they don’t stick. I recently read an article that quoted the work of Stanford behavior scientist B.J. Fogg, who says the problem is how humans approach habit formation in the first place and, in particular, having an all-or-nothing mindset. Using the example of our yoga practice (or other exercise routines), this would look like feeling guilty or like a failure if we don’t do a full 60 or 75-minute practice every week. Those feelings of guilt and failure eventually cause us to just give up because we don’t like feeling that way. (Who knows what I’m talking about?)
So what can we do instead? His suggestion is to set the bar low when it come to resolutions. If you ease into a new habit, you’ll be more successful and that in turn will boost the likelihood that you’ll keep it up long-term. Going back to the example of our exercise routines, I have been experimenting with this concept myself during the pandemic and have found that I really enjoy doing shorter routines–anywhere from 15-45 minutes–when I just don’t feel like I have the time or energy for something longer. I end up feeling good because I know that I still did something, and that feels way better than feeling guilty or like I failed if I do nothing.
I’m encouraging my students to explore this ‘bite-sized’ approach in their own yoga practices with four different offerings for the New Year:
1) Weekly 30-minute LIVE Zoom yoga classes which are one of the three modules in my upcoming ‘Journey Through the Chakras’ Course. (The recordings will also be available to registered students afterwards in case you can’t make the live classes.)
2) Slow Flow Chakra audio sessions (another of the three modules included in my Chakra Course) that come pre-divided into shorter Warm-Up, Active and Cool-Down segments.
3) Some ‘Short & Sweet’ yoga and meditation videos in my Video Library which are also available to all students enrolled in my ‘Journey Through the Chakras’ Course.
4) Shorter 30, 45 and 60-minute Private Yoga Sessions (virtual for now) that are a great option for anyone who doesn’t feel like they have the time or energy for a regular 75-minute session but would like a little extra support re-committing to (or beginning!) a yoga practice.
So, bottom line: Try the ‘bite-sized’ approach if you’ve been slacking off a bit in your yoga practice or exercise routine but want to get back into it. Give yourself those ‘small victories’ in just 20, 30 or 45-minute increments, and notice if it makes you feel better that you’ve at least done something instead of nothing–and then see if that motivates you to want to continue. And let me know how this concept works for you!