Here are some ideas for a process to move through to figure out what’s stopping you! You can use what the yogis call svadhyaya or self-study (the first element of Kriya yoga or the yoga of action). Write it down - there's an element of personal accountability when you've got it on paper for yourself.
1. Ask yourself what it is you REALLY want
- Maybe you have a goal to start or sustain a yoga practice - why? Is it for fitness? Mental, emotional, or spiritual well-being? To learn more about yourself and find out what you're capable of? Feel like you should?
- Asking these questions might give you a 'carrot' in front of you to keep you going when you lose your motivation. They may also sometimes lead you to a different goal altogether! I find for myself that when I separated the "should" from the real underlying motivations, there actually are very good reasons to keep going for my goals.
2. Ask yourself what is getting in your way?
- Are you making excuses? Not enough hours in the day? Not enough money? Not enough resources? Don't want to ruin my hair?...(you laugh, but I can't be the only one who's ever used that excuse!) Write them out. When you write down your excuses, they may just get small enough to step over.
- Is it your inner critic? An inner voice telling you that you can't do it, are not good enough, don't deserve it, etc.
- Do you feel like you shouldn't do it, or your should be doing something else instead? I'll offer a phrase passed on to me by a very wise woman: "Don't should on yourself!"
3. Weigh and compare #2 vs #1.
- Which is more valuable to you in the long run? Your excuses, or your goals?
4. Create a 3-step plan for overcoming those obstacles
- 3 is a magic number! Write down 3 practical stepping stones that will get you in tapas mode. Tapas is the 2nd element of Kriya yoga (the yoga of action) partially interpreted as action, zeal and discipline.
5. Share your goals.
- By sharing your motivations, blocks, and 3-step plans with a trusted companion, you create accountability for your process.
- You might also inspire that person to moving past their own personal road blocks
6. Follow-through with your plan
- Just do it.
7. Continually evaluate and adjust the process through a lens of self-compassion
- Are you seeing positive changes? Celebrate! Acknowledging positive changes with gratitude can help keep you on track.
- Look at what’s working and what’s not. If you keep hitting road blocks, re-evaluate if the road you’re on still leads to what you REALLY want. For example: my goal to run a marathon – what is it I really want? To do something that scares me? To brag to my friends? To get insanely in shape? To get skinny? Is it out of guilt? If I keep getting injured training maybe it's because I'm doing it out of self-penance and there's another way to achieve my challenge and/or fitness goals.
- Get in touch with your inner motives without judging yourself for them. If you are on the right road but keep getting side-tracked, don’t beat yourself up for it, just jump back on!
- Finally, realize you are in control of your actions and responses, but not always the outcome. This is part of the 3rd element of Kriya yoga ishvara pranidhana or surrender.