Forming a habit effortlessly

When I do yoga I really enjoy it. When I think about doing yoga it goes something like this:

  • I have to find the yoga mat, put it out, put on the right clothes and then put it all away after — I think I’ll watch this movie instead.
  • I’ve spent all day concentrating, I need to relax, yoga seems like too much effort today — I think I’ll have a nap.
  • I want to be really good at yoga — I still can’t balance and it’s exhausting, I’ll do it when I have more energy.

It’s hard to get motivated when something feels a tiny bit too difficult to reach. Inspired by James Clear’s Atomic Habits I decided to experiment with making a habit out of doing yoga that would encourage me to do it despite how I felt on the day.

He breaks down forming habits into these sections:

Make it obvious — being aware of the habit I want to form, “I will do yoga every day at home.”

Make it attractive — associate yoga with a positive experience and getting a dopamine hit from the anticipation of, and then doing it. “10 mins will give me a hit and I’ll finish wanting to do more.”

Make it easy — a new habit shouldn’t feel like a challenge, standardise before optimising! Getting myself to show up is the hard part, remove the pain points, “I will show for 10 minutes and do standing yoga without a mat.”

Make it satisfying — the more we like doing something, the more we’ll do it. For immediate satisfaction, I track sessions on my Apple watch. It also gives me the bigger picture of what I’m doing alongside some accountability.

For 18 days, I’ve done 10 minutes of yoga each day, that’s 3 hours altogether. It’s been fun, achievable and easy to show up. I’m going to keep going and maybe next month add more time or a mat to the mix… to be continued.

This post is part of a series of atomic essays on Twitter for #Ship30for30

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