I have several practices that I do on a regular basis: yoga, journal writing, and meditation. Over the holidays, and the time leading up to the holidays, my discipline at maintaining these practices has been slipping. As someone with a history of procrastination, I have had any number of reasons (read: excuses) as to why I cannot do any or all of them. Since I practice first thing in the morning, and right before bed, many of my excuses revolve around sleep.
“I stayed up too late last night, so I ‘m going to sleep a little later this morning.”
“I feel a cold coming on, so I am going to rest more to fight it off.”
“I have to finish reading this book so I can get it back to the library.”
Thinking of these three practices (yoga, meditation and journal writing), it can be difficult to measure the effects of doing or not doing them. If I don’t brush my teeth before bed, it’s easy to relate that to furry teeth and horrible morning breath when I wake up. If I don’t put my raw breakfast on to soak before I go to bed, I have to have something else to eat in the morning. But is the late afternoon headache coming on because I didn’t do yoga, or because I didn’t drink enough water today? And am I irritable because I didn’t write in my journal or meditate last night, or because my hormones are changing with the onset of my moon time?
And then there is the guilt. I made a commitment to myself to practice yoga at least three times a week, and to journal and meditate before bed at least 5 times a week. If I can’t keep my commitments to myself, how trustworthy am I? And if I am not keeping my commitments, I am not in alignment, and I am not attracting the things I want into my life.
Why did I make these commitments in the first place? Yoga helps keep me flexible and is a good way of combating chronic plain. Writing in my journal and meditating help me stay balanced emotionally, and help me feel calm and peaceful. I am able to stay focused longer and accomplish more. And frankly, I don’t like what I become when I am not practicing.
So while it may always seem easier to follow an excuse and not get up for yoga, or short myself on meditation time so I can get back into whatever book I am reading, I almost always end up regretting the decision. Discipline is much more challenging to maintain, but it is so much easier to live with than the regret of not following the discipline.
Keep this in mind as you make your New Year’s Resolutions, if you partake in that ritual. Will you be self-disciplined enough to keep your commitment?
PS. How do I best impart this lesson, which has taken me over 30 years to understand (and I still haven’t gotten it perfect!), to my young sons? 🙂