In 2018 I’m doing month long “experiments.” Thirty day journeys into developing habits and routines that I think I may want to implement into my life. At the start of a new year we often have a list of “resolutions” that are vague – things like “lose weight” or “get fit.” These monthly experiments are meant to break a bigger goal down into small steps – steps that will help us figure out if its something we want to add to our routine…or not. Small steps that will help us really develop the habit.
January was a free 30 day journey of doing yoga daily with Yoga with Adriene. I love yoga, but had neglected getting on the mat after the class I regularly attended was discontinued. This free 30 day challenge was the perfect opportunity to get me back on the mat and develop an at home practice.
Did I do the full 30 days in the month long experiment?
I did! I missed two separate days throughout the month, but I just started again the next day. One day I did two sessions in order to “catch up.” I was a day behind the group, but the important thing for me was to complete the journey, even if it wasn’t done perfectly on schedule.
Lessons learned from 30 days of Yoga
Every time I got on the mat I was reminded of why I love yoga. Getting on the mat gives me time to take care of myself and reflect. Yoga reminds me:
- to breathe deeply.
- to open my heart – physically and emotionally.
- to be aware of what is happening in my body and my mind.
- to check in with my body – where am I holding tension?
- to honor where my body is today.
- to stay on my mat and not compare to anyone else (which is arguably easier when you’re at home).
- to balance – to focus on one spot while balancing.
- to move gently, and also to be gentle with myself.
- to connect my actions to my breath.
- to breathe into the hard places.
- to send breath to the area that is tight.
- to purposely relax, to surrender, to approach things with curiosity.
- to stay in the present.
- that the two halves of my body are not going to feel the same, to be aware of the difference.
- to trust muscle memory – we’ve been here before.
- to trust my body – we know what to do.
- to slow down.
- to move intentionally.
- to lengthen, not constrict.
- to do what feels good and right to me today.
RELATED: Heart Openers: On and Off the Mat
Tips for sticking with a 30 day journey
Decide ahead of time when you will do your activity daily.
I chose to do my yoga practice right after I got home from work during the week. After greeting my family, I went straight to our bedroom, changed into comfortable clothes, then got on my mat. The two times I missed were on the weekends when my schedule tends to vary and I didn’t plan ahead.
Start small. Consistency is more important.
Whatever your 30 day journey is, evaluate where you are right now, and set the daily goal from there.
If your goal is to drink more water, how much are you drinking now? If you drink 16 ounces, then set the goal above that and add on throughout the month.
If your goal is to declutter everyday and you haven’t done any decluttering, set your goal at decluttering one item a day at first. I’ve found with decluttering that a lot of the training is in recognizing the clutter instead of walking around with our clutter blinders on.
Whatever your goal is, doing it daily is the important part. Start small with the amount and increase as the month progresses.
When you feel yourself hesitating, say this to yourself…
At one point during the month I found myself saying, “Ugh, I don’t feel like doing yoga.” I was lying on the ground feeling lazy. As I lay there debating, a statement came to me.
“I am a person who does yoga every day.”
It rang true to me. Yeah, I AM a person who does yoga every day. I got myself up and on to the mat.
If you find yourself hesitating, affirm your desire and intention and see if that changes something for you.
Reward yourself daily or weekly
The feeling after doing yoga daily was reward enough for me. It left me feeling calm and relaxed which was helpful after a work day. It helped me transition from work to home.
If your task is difficult for you, plan a small reward after you complete it. It will help you stay motivated.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Coming to the Mat as a Beginner
In February I plan to write a note to someone I care about each day. Although I plan on writing handwritten notes, I’m also allowing myself to write a thoughtful email as well.
I heard about this idea from someone during a productivity summit I listened to. He writes a note to someone acknowledging them each morning as part of his morning routine. As a former letter writer, I thought this idea was really touching.
What about you? Want to make an intention to do a 30 day experiment? Let me know in the comments!
Need some extra support?
We’ve formed a closed Facebook Group called Month Long Experiments for Greater Wellness. If this would be helpful to you, feel free to join HERE.