forming a kickass habit over and over again
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. ~Jim Rohn
This little piece started out as notes for a workshop I’m currently teaching to an incredible group of curious, insightful, and engaged yogis, and as tends to happen sometimes, my brain and pen don’t match in pace, and within a short time, it evolved into a story of reassurance. Reassurance that everyone struggles with motivation, everyone struggles with discipline, and everyone has to start and restart habits – even habits they love….
I wrapped up the summer with two weeks in Colorado for some yoga, mountain climbing, and concert-going, and the trip ended in Leadville where I was pacing a friend of mine in his second 100 mile ultramarathon. We arrived a few days early to set up and settle in, with the goal of resting up for the 4am start time Saturday morning. With that in mind and the drizzly, cold weather, we spent a lot of time in the pop-up playing cards (actually, we spent a lot of time googling how to actually play cards first, but that’s neither here nor there), organizing and reorganizing racing gear, and diving deep into conversation. At some point during that first evening, we landed on the topic of my meditation and writing practice. He had attended my first workshop a month prior and not only knew the techniques, but had used them, himself. As we were chatting about it, he asked me how I kept that up when traveling (at the time, I was traveling a lot), and I just said that I loved that kickass habit so much that it was easy to sneak in the bare minimum on those days that deem it necessary. The irony? That was the day that my habit died.
Five days later, I was back in Oklahoma, and I turned on my timer and pulled out my journal. I’m not sure how many days it took for me to find myself propelling through several silence-free, drunken monkey-minded days before sitting with myself again. I’m certain it wasn’t very many, though. This kept going, even after a conversation bitch session with aforementioned friend about how my writing was turning to absolute shit, and he immediately – with such simplicity, I should add – asked if I’d been meditating lately. Bugger. No. Damn him and his obnoxious, spot-on logic. Of course that was it!
And do you know what I did? Nothing. Not a flippin’ thing. I carried on with my sporadic practice, carefully avoiding the subject of my shit writing and threadbare meditation, lest I get called out again for not doing the thing that I knew I should be doing. By the way, unnamed friend, if you’re reading this, thank you for calling me out. And that is NOT sarcasm. I needed it. Truth be told, on occasion, I still do.
Annnyyyywayyy…. This is actually where the twenty-one day workshop challenge idea came from. It’s widely believed that it takes twenty-one days to form a habit, and although I don’t generally like to live my life according to formulas, I can see how committing to a daily task for three weeks can help it become part of your routine, so here we are…. living according to a formula. Let’s just roll with it for this one, though, shall we? Together. Because we need something to be our foundation. Something to come to. Something to come back to. You see, we are all just humans who need a jumping off point. We are all just humans who slip away from doing the things we know we need to do to be better. We are all just humans who need to be gently steered back toward the paths we’ve set out on. And we are all just humans who need to form the same kickass habits over and over and over again.