I learned more about myself and my habits from becoming a person who flosses than you might think. Notice the difference there. I didn’t say from flossing itself, but from becoming a person who flosses. Some fundamental things changed for me when I made this new habit and was able to keep it. One thing I realized was that I (and most of us!) need containers to make ourselves do good things.
I’m not talking Tupperware and mason jars. When I say containers, what I mean is boundaries. It feels impossibly daunting to me to say to myself, “I will floss my teeth every day forever starting today.” I can already foresee the ways that I will likely fall short, and that makes me want to throw in the towel before I begin. And in fact, that’s what I did. For years I tried to become a flosser by setting a New Year’s Resolution on January 1 that I abandoned before the month was over.
And of course, for me, just like for you and most of the rest of us, when I fail at something, even something as ridiculously simple and stupid as flossing, I feel bad about myself. The slope towards self-loathing is steep and quick and it’s not long before I end up in the “You never accomplish anything you worthless lump of a human” abyss.
You know this feeling too, I’m pretty sure. “I set an intention to meditate daily but I can’t seem to make myself just sit down and breathe.” “I always say I’m going to go to yoga twice a week but I never do.” “I want to have healthier sleep habits, or become a vegan, or talk to my grandmother more, or ride my bike on the weekends, or get out in nature once a month. But I don’t.” And then down into the shame spiral you slide.
However, if I give myself essentially the same directive but create a clear boundary for when the expectation will begin and end, I am much more likely to be able to follow through. I said I would floss every day for the forty days of Lent. At the beginning, when I was still in the ohmygodthisisterriblydisgusting phase, I would think to myself “I only have to do this for 36 more days.” Or 33. Or 25. That fact alone made it so much easier for me to stick with it.
I created the LEAPS+BOUNDS classes to make this clear boundary for your practice. These six week courses create a container for you to commit to yourself and your practice within. I know how impossible it can seem to commit to big change forever without end. But you don’t have to commit to being a superstar yogi who practices three hours every day forever and ever amen. You only have to commit to 75 minutes once a week for six weeks. This is infinitely more doable.
But here’s the trick--when we stick with it for forty days, or six weeks or whatever, we are so much more likely to stick with it forever. When we change our habits, we change ourselves. And when we change, we find a more solid footing to stay firmly grounded here in the place of self-acceptance and self-love.
Want the slope to your shame spiral to get a little less steep? The new session of LEAPS+BOUNDS starts the first week of March. Monday night’s class (for more experienced practitioners, we’ll work towards Full Split (Hanumanasana). On Wednesday, we’ll explore Standing Balance Poses (suitable for all levels, including brand new beginners).
Register now for LEAPS+BOUNDS! Click the buttons below for more information and to register.