This article was reprinted on ProHealth on June 8th, 2017. It was later removed for reasons outlined in this notice. Most of the links on this post are informational, but a few are affiliate links to help maintain this website.
When I want to accomplish something new I find the "no turning back" approach to be the most effective. Humans in general are very good at talking ourselves out of things. For most of the us the first thing we do in the morning is hit the snooze button. Going to yoga is similar for me. I love yoga and what it does for my body and mind, but sometimes I'm good at talking myself out of a class.
Yoga is a big part of my healing process, and ideally I would take 3 classes a week. With chronic illness it's a challenge to work out at all, and right now I go to 0 to 2 gentle or restorative classes weekly.
I need to jump start my yoga practice. Here are some tips I will use to get myself to class and you can use for starting anything new in your life:
5 Ways to Jump Start a Yoga Practice:
1. Put it on your calendar and schedule everything else around it.
If you want to attend an "Introduction to Yoga" class on Saturday afternoon, write down the date and time on your calendar, even if you aren't 100% ready to start. It also helps if you plan out your month, not your week. We believe we can do a lot of things in a month, but tend to think our weeks are too packed to add anything extra.
2. Tell someone else your plan.
Using the example from above, say your friend calls to invite you to lunch on Saturday afternoon—schedule the lunch after the yoga class. You're less likely to skip it if you told someone else you were going.
You can also bring it up in conversation, or write a Facebook status or Tweet that says, "Can't wait to take my first yoga class ever on Saturday."
3. Invite someone to go with you.
Maybe the friend who called to invite you to lunch can go to yoga with you first, or if you have an adventurous friend bring them along. Be careful not to get trapped in the idea that you will only try new things if someone else comes along though, it will limit your options.
4. Pay in advance.
We are much less likely to back out of something if we've already paid for it. This is where sites like Groupon and Living Social are excellent, because you prepay (at a discount nonetheless) and therefore are more likely to go.
5. Offer yourself a reward for following through.
My ultimate reward is a Chai Tea Latte with almond milk. Sometimes when I'm really nervous about something, I say to myself, "If you do it, you can stop by the Starbucks drive thru on the way home." I try not to do the opposite, punish myself when I don't follow through, this is when I offer myself forgiveness and write down the next class in my calendar.
Plan a bigger reward for 3 or 6 months after your start date to keep you motivated. Maybe a new yoga mat or strap? I've got my eye a this cork block.
What do you want to jump start in your life?
"Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterwards." - Tina Fey
I'm Kerry (She/Her/Hers) and I am a licensed therapist, group facilitator, poet, writer, & speaker. This is a place to acknowledge and validate our suffering and trauma, while also learning how to turn toward aliveness and spaciousness.