the democracy of habit change

The Democracy of Habit Change

January 20, 2021

Everything new begins with hope and with an idea of how to create change.

I think about this, as I often do with many things, in the context of yoga and movement. 

Let’s say you want to fell stronger and more powerful in your body. You have hope that you can create that and your idea is yoga.

You know that yoga could help you feel stronger, more powerful, and more capable of moving your body. Yoga might even make you feel healthier, which you are totally on board for.

So you decide take a yoga class.

I often say, the first and biggest step you take when it comes to your yoga practice is when you choose to step onto your mat.

And then the hardest thing is that first lunge. 

I don’t teach lunges as the first pose almost ever anymore, but when I did, I’d often say, “The first lunge is the hardest. Check in with how much you are regretting the choice to come to your mat today.”

Or something along those lines.

The truth is, it’s fairly normal to regret that first pose. And the one that follows it. Maybe even the one that follows that next one, too.

And then, once you get into a good rhythm things start to shift.

By the time you make it to savasana, you’re almost sorry class is over. Almost. Because savasana feels amazing because you worked your body in all of the best ways, so you’e also grateful to rest.

There are 3 big takeaways from this.

First, an idea isn’t enough. Hope isn’t enough. You have to take action.

Second, new habits are always hard when you first start them.

Even if you make them simple and easy, they might still feel awkward.

You might have to remind yourself to do it. Likely, you’ll even resist a little because new habits are hard simply because they’re new and your body doesn’t always like change.

Third, if you don’t do it, the habit can’t get easier.

You might have to slog through those first lunges when your body is still stiff and resistant, cranky and tight. Probably, you’ll just want to get to the fancy stuff that feels exciting and transformational.

But first, you have to lay the foundation.

You have to put i the work.

It’s not sexy or fun or exciting.

Instead it’s hard and repetitive and requires commitment, dedication, and perseverance.

And if you stick with it, the habit will become a natural part of your day and a powerful part of your life.

I feel like our country is going through this right now.

In some ways, so many of us are breathing a huge sigh of relief. Glass ceilings shattered when Kamala Harris was sworn in as vice president.

And it was a relief to hear the person leading our country speak in full sentences, with intelligence ad compassion.

But this is not the end of hard work; this is the beginning.

Our country is deeply fractured by years of gaslighting and misinformation.

By centuries of a racial caste system that has created a painful legacy we have yet to fully dismantle.

By gender-based oppression that continues to weigh down over 50% of the population.

Our planet is dying and we’ve been stoking the flames of it’s funeral pyre — yes all of us. It’s easy to blame this on the past 4 years and some of that is fair.

We also have a huge mess to clean up and much of it started years before agent orange was elected president.

My point is this:

Today we can hope.

Tomorrow we need to take action.

Step onto the mat, take that first lunge, and commit.

We can create the new habit of intentional action through small steps first that build into consistent action for social and environmental change.

Are you with me?

What will your first step be?

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