One of the questions I get all the time from my clients and students is, "I know the right choice to make, but WHY don't I actually follow through with it?!"
Sound familiar? Like you know which foods you should be eating or what you should be going to bed . Or you know that you should get up before the sun or exercise or take a break during the day or build in time for self care, or, or, or., etc., but you're not doing any of those things. And you're like, "What's my problem?"
Well, good news, you're not broken. And it is totally possible to break that cycle of disappointment! Especially now that it's the new year, you might have new practices and new goals — so how do you stick to them?!
I have two tips for you to start practicing what we call in Ayurveda, "right choice, followed by right action."
You know those little glimmers of right choices come into our brain like a million times a day, that kinda whisper in our ear? They go something like this, "Skip the sugary coffee in the afternoon because I won't be able to sleep." Or, "Omg I'm stressed. I should take a walk around the block because it always makes me feel more relaxed." Or, "I'll choose these foods for dinner so I don't feel heavy afterwards." Etc., Etc.,
Those little glimmers of awesome are our wisdom!! That's our wisdom coming through and in Ayurveda, that's called our "buddhi."
When we listen to our buddhi and follow through with right action, we feel amazing! We know we did make the RIGHT choice and followed through with RIGHT action. It feels good to make that choice and actually do the thing. And once we do it a few times, it becomes a huge motivator to keep going and going!
Here's where we screw up:
When we get those little glimmers, often times we negotiate ourselves right out of the practice. So for example, every morning I take the dog for a run. But this morning it was very cold and dark and I was not super excited about going outside that day. Then then thoughts started. Maybe I'll wear my fleece pants and write in my journal. I could take her out twice later. Or maybe I can take her to the park and get a late start on my work. The negotiating process in full swing, right? All the excuses!
So I told myself, "Stop. Put your clothes on, get your butt out the door." And there was no room for negotiation. Nope, you're going outside because you'll love it when you're done. So I did. And I felt so much better about my day because I made that choice.
We all do it. But the point of following through with right action is to make less space between that right choice and that right action. Act as fast as you can.
So that's number one. No negotiating. Start to recognize how you're negotiating yourself out of your best practices. And once you're aware of it, you can stop it.
You're like what's Tamasic foods?
This little list is from my book In Your Elements, and these are all of the foods that promote a low quality of the mind. There are three qualities of the mind, sattva, rajas and tamas. The lowest quality is called tamasic.
Here's a list of tamasic foods: ALCOHOL, FAST FOOD, FRIED FOOD, FROZEN FOOD, CANNED/STALE FOOD, REFINED SUGARS, TOBACCO, SODA, OVEREATING
These foods promote negative emotions. They promote a cloudiness of the mind. And these foods also get into our body, our physical body, and they break down our resistance to disease. So you want to omit these or have them way less.
In the near future, I'll post more info on the three qualities of the mind — Sattva, Rajas and Tamas — but for today, just stay away from or eliminate these tamasic foods. If you're having a lot of them, then this is a perfect place to start. Omit them and start having foods that are closer to nature.
Tip #3 Create a rhythm, pattern, routine
The thing you want to change or work on needs to have a home. And if we're truthful, the things you want to "undo" or improve are likely things you've been doing for a long time - they have a rhythm and a pattern. So you just need to swap that for something better.
If we let random stuff happen, we put our personal goals last and shiny-object ourselves right out of our good habits. So make a new choice and give your brand new, exciting goal or life changes priority.
Give it a front row seat on top of your mind or on your calendar, so you can always rely on it being there and nothing disrupts it.
If you're like "But Monica, how do you put 'eating foods from nature' on my calendar?" If you have a goal like that, then put time on your calendar when you will SHOP for the good food or what meals you will make for the week or when you will put together your grocery list.
Sticking to good decisions has a lot to do with creating the habit and the discipline to stick to it. BTW, if you feel reluctant or resistant to the change, good! This is likely exactly where you need to focus. In the book the Spark and the Grind, Erik Wahl says "your resistance is the dragon that guards the gold."
However! If you are reluctant, you might not be motivated to change. That's ok. Do it anyway. Motivation will come later after you're doing the thing that's hard...until you start to feel AMAZING and then you'll be motivated to do the practice over and over.
And there ya have it! 3 things to look out for that will help you STICK to your goals by following through with right action.
If these tips helped you, share it with your friends and post a comment below so I know to keep creating more content like this for you. Go crush it as we keep bringing Ayurveda to life.