Commitment is an in-road for sustainable change and growth.
Talking about growth inevitably brings up extended metaphors about gardens and weeding and seed planting. It might feel a bit overused, but the visual can be helpful to organize our thoughts when we get stuck in the overgrowth that happens when we’re too focused on a minor goal and end up disconnected from our big picture. Inspiration is a great fertilizer for getting us active and actualizing the abundance we are so attracted to, but growth actually happens incrementally.
We inaccurately measure our progress by looking at the cumulative effect of these subtle changes. This can leave us feeling stuck or discouraged. Here’s the work-around: commitment!
Commitment can be a crippling word for some people. But, the C-word is how growth happens! If you want your arugula to taste good, you’ve got to cut the flowers before the stalks shoot up. Pruning back your interests (like saying, “no” to the things or people that distract you from your primary goals) can actually preserve your energy so you can use it elsewhere and get better results. Even deleting your old text messages frees up internal space that keeps your phone powered up for longer.
The commitment can be something temporary, like, “Today I will hit my goal of drinking 8 glasses of water,” or longer term like, “I will use every class in my 30-class series within the next 2 months.” Simply put, the decision to put all of your energy in one direction actualizes it better.
Here’s a short and dirty list of a few things you can commit to that lead to huge changes:
1. Daily Yoga
Get to a class, make a friend and the studio and buddy-up to keep each other accountable, or roll out your mat and start a video. However you need to make it happen, make a plan or plot out some time in your day to just do it. You know how good it feels after you’ve done your practice and how it is easier to do everything else because of it. When you’re ready to delve deeper, check out a retreat like Patagonia or Scotland or California or Italyand get the VIP attention to enhance your personal practice
2. Give Away the Love
This is something I’ve been doing for a few years as a way to get around that meaningless chitchat of “How are you? Good. How are you? Good.” Compliment someone. If you see something someone’s done or has that you appreciate or brings beauty and positivity into your life, let them know. It costs nothing and adds some sweet value to your immediate environment. It can lead to a more meaningful conversation, a new acquaintance or at the very least, a positive interaction between people. We know the world needs more of that and it’s been shown to foster a sense of community and positive mental attitude.
3. Go to Bed
Some of the advice our parents put on us holds the test of time. There is a lot of evidence to show why a proper night’s sleep on the regular is essential for success. Commit to getting to bed at a decent hour every night. Prune back your phone time so that the last 30-60 minutes before bedtime are ambient – reading a book, cleaning up your space, mediating or journaling, or cuddling are all effective wind-down activities to prepare your nervous system and mind for better sleep.
Niki Saccareccia (E-500) is a blogger, author and Clinical Behavior Therapist based in Los Angeles. She blends the practical application of behavioral habit change with yoga’s comprehensive lifestyle of wellness and creativity. Her aim is to educate, inspire and share. For more about Niki and upcoming events, visit www.lightinsideyoga.com.