people are amazed i attend yoga daily. although i usually brush off my dedication with, “it keeps me out of trouble,” it is an accomplishment. here’s advice on how i pull it off beyond “give yourself a reward.”
i stopped questioning its value
it’s exactly this simple: if you’re physically active, you’ll look better, feel better, make better life decisions, and get invited to more parties. while the last reason is up for debate, there’s nothing else to philosophize about. the studies are in. the evidence is clear. just go do it. if nothing else, think of working out as preventative medicine or the world’s greatest health insurance.
i let my neurosis help me
since i was only a year out of college when i started practicing yoga regularly, i had a residual “can’t miss class” mentality that naturally transferred to my new habit. the fact it was called class and not hangout kept me consistent in the beginning and reinforced its value.
i automated the process
don’t you dare go home before working out. pack your clothes and change at the gym. if you exercise in the morning, the only movement you make after the alarm sounds is rolling out of bed. the snooze button is permanently disconnected.
i don’t "wait and see"
for the after-work-activity folks, it can be tempting to think “let’s see how i feel after the conference call.” here’s how you’ll feel afterward: crappy.
the worse you feel, the more you need to work out. and exercising when you’re happy feels great. see how there’s actually never an excuse?
besides, “i’ll see how i feel” means “cancelled indefinitely.” any uncertainty is a delayed no. stop fooling yourself.
i call it a ritual
“I begin each day of my life with a ritual: I wake up at 5:30 a.m., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st Street and First Avenue, where I work out for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.”
“Turning something into a ritual eliminates the question, Why am I doing this? By the time I give the taxi driver directions, it’s too late to wonder why I’m going to the gym and not snoozing under the warm covers of my bed. The cab is moving. I’m committed.”
elevating yoga from routine or habit to ritual gives me the feeling the day is not over until i’ve done it and a conviction that completing class means i’ve earned my dinner and evening shower.