Happy Monday! This week’s intention assignment is all about cultivating focus and discipline. Is there something that you have been wanting to do for a long time, but has been procrastinating or putting it aside simply because it’s not the “right time” for it yet? By honing your discipline and focus, you become just one more step closer to making your goals into reality. Here are some tips to help you get started in cultivating a little bit more focus and discipline both on and off the mat.
1. Start small
Taking that first step does not have to be a well thought-out, elaborated grand scheme of plans that will span for the entire week, month, or year. Often times we are too caught up in planning that when it comes to execution, we no longer have the time nor energy to make them happen. Taking the first step, however small or insignificant it may seem, is always half the battle won. As you take your first step, you will often find your next step becoming a little clearer. Whenever you let your intuition take over in this case, knowing that you set out to improve yourself both physically and mentally in a mindful and healthful manner, you often find that one step leads to another.
Starting the journey with little to no expectations and planning can be a lot less disastrous than you envision it to be. It also allows you to enjoy the process a lot better without having to worry about reaching the end goal within a certain time frame.
2. Avoid creating excuses
Whenever the going gets tough, we often find that our minds are wired to find excuses to skip that workout or to sleep in just a little bit more, even though that particular action or activity does not really serve us. Sometimes sleeping in makes us even more lethargic, and we just want to laze around for no particular reason, causing us to fall into the vicious cycle of procrastination, laziness, and lethargy.
It is important to catch ourselves whenever we find ourselves making excuses to skip the yoga practice, or to cancel that particular activity on the eleventh hour. Try not to entertain such thoughts and think about how you often feel after the yoga practice or the particular activity. We often do not regret waking up an extra hour early to get that work out in. Similarly, when we focus on how we feel after the activity (happier, more relaxed, increased productivity), we entertain less of the excuses we make for ourselves. Rewiring the brain to think of more constructive, positive, and productive thoughts can go a long way in eliminating procrastination that we often struggle with in our daily lives.
3. Concentrate on your locus of control
Focus on the things that you can make a difference on, rather than the things that you often cannot control. This allows you to become a more empowered person who is able to make little changes to your lives according to the goals that you want to achieve. For instance, you may not be able to control the time you knock off from work because of circumstances beyond your control, but you are able to make full use of your mornings before work, and evenings / nights after work. Too tired to do an asana practice? Just a simple pranayama exercise before bed can help you sleep better and prepare you for next day’s work. This allows you to approach your goals and habit changes in a more constructive manner, preventing you from beating yourself up over it whenever you fall out of your routine or when unexpected changes happen.
I hope that this week’s intention assignment has provided you with a direction in your yoga practice both on and off the mat. Tips to share? Feel free to share them with me via the comments below. Have a great week! x