How much effort will you put into deciding whether or not you’ll brush your teeth tonight? How much went into the decision this morning as you got out of bed? If you’re anything like me, not very much. Its something we do out of habit, with out continually questioning whether we feel up for it, have those 3 minutes, or if we think we did a good enough job yesterday to cover it for today. You wake up, you brush your teeth, you go about your day, you brush your teeth, you go to bed. Every day.
Where am I going with this? Not a lecture about oral hygiene – I’ll leave that to your dentist. The point I want to make has to do with lifestyle changes – training, yoga, cooking, sleeping, taking care of YOURSELF. This analogy came to me today from Asia in our Yoga Teacher Training course, and it struck a chord. Why is it that with something like brushing our teeth, we are able to simply set aside the time necessary to complete the task twice a day without hesitation, and yet when it comes to say a daily yoga or training practice, we debate it every single time. We allow the excuses flood in and create this ever-deepening sea of negotiations we have to wade through every time the task arises.
How many times do you find yourself negotiating and convincing yourself out of training – you’re still a little sore, you might be getting sick, you have a meeting tomorrow, you didn’t eat well, you’re a little tired, you’re not up for a full workout, you trained yesterday, you have other things to do, and the list goes on. We can, and sometimes do, spend hours each day convincing ourselves NOT to do something we know we’ll feel better for doing. What if instead of debating this, we just got under the bar or on the mat. What if we simply started, taking any question of the action. Make it just something you do. Like brushing your teeth every morning and night.
I am the Queen-Bee of planning my life out down to the fifteen-minute segment, figuring out what I’ll be eating for each meal every day of the week, when I’ll eat, sleep, train, study, read, shower, you name it. Sounds fantastic, but it never plays out. Life as a student simply doesn’t allow for this sort of planning as no two weeks are even similar. Hell, life period doesn’t lend itself well to this sort of planning. Lets face it – shit happens. What I have found is that the less I “plan” to train, eat, or cook, and the more I just DO, the more consistent my efforts are and the more rewarded I am with my results. By taking the thought, anxiety and debate out of the action, I make it possible for it to just flow. So I don’t feel up for a heavy squat workout today, alright – lets work on form instead. As long as I show up and get my butt under that bar, that’s what matters. Sooner or later, I’ll be looking forward to that next workout, yoga series or run instead of talking myself out of doing it in the days leading up to it.
Finding a consistent time or situation (first thing in the morning, after class/work, before bed, whatever), every day, to fit these activities in has been most effective for me. It helps to make it a non-negotiable habit by ingraining it as just something you do – like brushing your teeth. Eventually, there is little thought dedicated to whether or not you should pack your mat or shoes – you just do. This ties into my mantra-in-progress of –lift– (life is f*ing tough). Its this idea of acknowledging life’s challenges and lifting – getting stronger, being active and proactive, of dealing with it and moving on. Nike said it with “Just do it” and the Trailer Park Boys will tell you to “git ‘er done,” the message is the same. Suck it up, do what you’ve gotta do, and move on to the next.