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How to hold yourself accountable

A question I get asked a lot, often from complete beginners, is around the topic of staying consistent. How to plan their day around a consistent yoga practice. This is not always solely beginners but sometimes as my yogis move up through the levels they feel as though they have ‘fallen off the wagon’.

Often times we embark on a new journey with great intentions. We set a goal (sometimes a little too generic – for example ‘to be more flexible’) and, after what you feel is a strong start you might then wonder why it is that you have slowly started to drift off?

It is not enough sometimes to simply set a goal. We need to be more specific. You want to be more flexible? Ok – but that’s pretty generic. In which areas? How much? Will you be happy if you can just move a mm closer to touching your toes? How are you going to monitor your progress? What will it look like when you get there? Do you work well with rewarding your achievements? Why do you want to be more flexible? Will it help you with better mobility or do you just want to have splits as a party trick at Christmas get togethers?

There are plenty of different things we can implement to help hold ourselves accountable. But I think figuring out your reason why you are doing something, is a good place to start. Get more specific. This will then help you later on down the line too, when you need to remind yourself of the reason why you started. Or to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Suggestions that might help…

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1. Schedule your yoga practice in to your week just like you would an appointment. You probably have a good idea already of what your working week looks like, so find a couple of hours where you can fit your yoga practice in. There’s no right or wrong time, you are more likely to stick to something the easier it is. So don’t say you’ll do yoga at 7pm every day if you know you’ll be disrupted or running around putting your children to bed. Set a time and stick to it. You wouldn’t cancel a doctors appointment, so treat your yoga practice the same and show up on time.

2. Post about it on Social Media. It sounds crazy, but it helps. Putting it out there that you are committing to 4 weeks of yoga and sharing it with other people means you’re less likely to quit half way through.

3. Make it easy. How can you make it easier for yourself? Can you roll out your mat ready the night before? Put your yoga clothes next to your bed so you can put them straight on and be ready? Have a water bottle already made up and ready in the fridge. Think about anything that will be a slight hurdle or hindrance and try to get rid of any of those obstacles.

4. Put it on your ‘to do’ list. Write a list the night before of everything you want to achieve the next day. As mentioned above, like posting on social media, sometimes by writing it down somewhere it helps you to commit to the things you’ve set yourself to do

5. Set an alarm on your phone. Or set a reminder to send you a notification 15 minutes before your scheduled practice. This will remind you that when your alarm goes off that you promised yourself, at the time you set that alarm, to do your yoga practice. Often we can get caught up making dinner, walking the dog or just lazing around on the sofa watching Netflix. Setting an alarm helps to remind you if you get caught up doing something else that it’s near to the scheduled time.

6. Take progress photos. If you commit yourself to four weeks of yoga twice a week, then it’s highly likely that you will have gained flexibility over this time. By taking photos at the beginning of the course you set yourself a starting point which you know after four weeks you will then be comparing it against.

7. Reward yourself. If you work well with rewards then it’s a good way to also incentivise yourself on the days you might need an extra push. Set mini targets and reward yourself each time you hit them.

8. Remind yourself why you started. This is why it is important to set more specific goals and also understand why you chose to do the course. If you decided to take up yoga because you wanted to gain more flexibility or have some time to yourself, then whatever it was, you can re-visit that at a later date if you start drifting off from your practice.

9. Mindset – Whenever you say you’re not going to do your yoga practice try saying ‘it’s not a priority for me’. See how this feels. If taking time for yourself is ‘not a priority’ or hitting your goals is ‘not a priority’ – the language you use can have a change in mindset. Saying this out loud sometimes makes you realise that actually, it should be a priority!

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