We make resolutions or goals with the best intentions. Then we try to keep them. When faced with staying in your warm bed and getting up in the cold to practice, staying in bed is probably going to win. So, once the newness of your resolve has worn off and you’ve skipped one practice for a few extra minutes snuggled under the covers, how do you stay motivated? The good news is that it takes a long time to form a new habit and missing a day doesn’t mean you failed. It just means it’s time to renew your commitment and get back on the mat.
Here are 10 tips to stay dedicated to your daily yoga practice:
Ask yourself what keeps you coming back to the mat. Write down your motivations and post them in your practice space or another spot (like a bathroom mirror or on the back of your bedroom door) where you’ll see them daily. Constantly reevaluate your list. Keep the practices that motivate you and let go of those that no longer serve you. My list would start with this statement: I’m a better, kinder person when I practice.
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2. Daily readings
A short reading at the beginning of practice can set the tone and prepare you for either asana or meditation. It can also set the tone for your day or help you wind down in the evening. Reading gives me a gentle reminder of my goals and connects me to the wider yoga community. Some of my favorites are Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates and any poems by Rumi or Mary Oliver.
3. Inspirational messages
Short inspirational messages throughout the day can keep you focused on your goal and give you an added boost when you may be tempted to skip practice. Download an app to your phone that sends you inspirational quotes each day or write your own. In my planner I write quotes that resonate with me and I follow a few inspirational accounts on Instagram like @yogainspiration and the poet @adrianmichaelgreen.
4. Sign up for a challenge
Sign up for a two week to month long yoga challenge either online or at your studio. These often include daily emails with suggested classes or inspirational messages and sometimes rewards for completing the challenge.
5. Use social media
Social media can be a great place to find inspiration and support. There are thousands of other yogis posting and talking about their journeys and looking to connect with others that share the same goals. Follow a few and join the conversation. See if your studio or regular teacher posts on Facebook or Instagram. Post your own goals and accomplishments.
6. Set concrete goals
Choose a pose you’d like to work towards, a new breathing exercise you want to learn, or a meditation goal and make notes of your progress each day. When I started meditating, I used incremental goals, starting with five minutes.
7. Set a timer
Decide on a set time for practice, set a timer, and don’t leave the mat until it rings. This works for both asana and meditation. I absolutely love the Insight Timer app.
8. Practice buddy
Grab a friend to practice with. You can hold each other accountable and enjoy a cup of tea after. Include your buddy in daily readings and you’ll have a yoga book club to keep you coming back for more.
Buy a class pass from your studio or teacher. Knowing you’ve already spent the money may motivate you to make it to class more often. Most class passes offer a small discount over the drop in price, which will probably save you money over time.
10. Treat yourself
Reward yourself for staying on track. If you practice for a week straight, get that gold star! If you practice for a month straight, buy those new leggings you’ve been eyeing.
Have you tried any of the above tips? How do you stay dedicated to your practice?