I was listening to a podcast yesterday with James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits. I tuned into part 2 today which (for me) was a better listen, however, it was part 1 that gave me the inspiration for this blog post.
“Intensity makes a good story. Consistency makes progress.” – James Clear –
These 8 words made so much sense to me as I understood immediately, how easy it is to be impressed by intensity & nonplussed by consistency. Yet consistency is the key to so many things that we do.
A marathon runner doesn’t start off with running 26 miles, it all starts with a single step. He will train for 100’s of hours in every imaginable weather yet it will be the glory of the day that is remembered. Arthur Ashe sums it up nicely with his words, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”
Compare & contrast
Comparing a daily meditation of 10 minutes with a 10-day silent retreat we can easily believe that the latter is more meaningful, or even more challenging. But is sitting in mediation for a few minutes each day really that easy? Doesn’t it take determination to commit to something on a daily basis?
Consistency may not always give us an exciting story, but it does have the edge when we are creating new habits, especially good habits that will serve us in the long term. As Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of Western mindfulness says, “The little things? The little moments? They’re not little”.
Daily teeth brushing isn’t exactly exciting or intense but doing it is well worth the effort! And it’s only when we stop doing it that we realise how beneficial it is.
So, how do you create a consistent habit?
Make it easy for yourself. Plan ahead & remove the potential obstacles that could get in your way. For example, if you are going to an evening yoga class, then book the class. Make the commitment ahead of time, put it in your diary or set a reminder on your phone. Leave your mat by the front door or take it to work with you if you’re going straight to class. Know what time you need to leave work or home so you can get to your class without feeling rushed or harassed. Decide if you are going to eat before or after your yoga, plan your meal in advance especially, if like me you have a tendency to get h’angry!
It possibly sounds a bit OTT but there are countless excuses not to make it to a class. Believe me, I’ve used them all! Leaving work late. I’m hungry now. I’ll be too hungry later. I can’t find my yoga pants. I’ve left it too late to go now. I’ll just have a glass of wine instead…..
Make a commitment to yourself
Committing to one yoga class a week may not seem huge but the impact can be far-reaching. The movements will become familiar, you will become more skilled at finding the sweet spot between effort and ease. Little by little, the awareness you cultivate within the class will seep into your day. Sitting at your desk, standing in line at the supermarket you’ll adjust your posture to be comfortable or balanced. When you feel tension building, you know that changing your breath will help to release the tightness in your body because you practised it in class. Those little yoga moments, they’re definitely not little!
Book your yoga class today, make a commitment to yourself!