This time of year can be particularly grey for many of us. We're in the depths of winter, it's cold out, we're stressed from driving and shovelling snow all the time and the fun festivities of the season are over. Sigh. It's back to the grind of day-to-day life.
But does it have to be?
I believe this time of year is a perfect opportunity to start something new and add a little more colour into your life. It's so easy to get stuck in ruts this time of year so rather than slowly sinking into being stagnant, do something about it. It was about this time last year that I first started getting more involved in yoga. First it was just a fun agreement with myself to add a little more exercise into my life that I enjoyed that also had a component of mental health support as well. I'll admit, my comfort zone is full of shades of grey and it can be difficult for me to push myself to add a little colour in there. Yoga was that stroke of colour I desperately needed.
From broken relationships to building a practice to living away from my family and trying to stay afloat in my own "stress-ball" mind, this time last year was challenging. And it's from my own personal experiences that I stand behind the search for a healthful habit that you can infuse into your life right now. It doesn't necessarily have to be yoga, just make it something.
So how do you find that habit that lifts you up, makes you feel alive and excites you to wake up every day? Start by writing down all the things that come to mind that you like to do or would like to learn more about. Is it to become a better cook, instil some kind of creative mindfulness practice like painting or photography, start an exercise routine you're excited about, get into yoga or learn an instrument? Get uninhibited with yourself and write it all down.
From there take some time and get really honest with yourself. What habits are most realistic for you to implement, which ones are you really the most excited about, which ones can you see yourself continuing for the rest of the winter and into the future? Pick no more than three of them.
Next, just get started. What supplies do you need to pick up - a camera, paint, a yoga mat, some sheet music? Go out and get what you need. No heavy thinking into it, just do it. Once you have what you need, commit to yourself and make an unbreakable agreement to implement this new habit into your lifestyle. What worked best for me was purchasing a 30-day yoga pass at a yoga studio. Because I had paid money for the pass, I felt obligated to pursue doing yoga on a consistent basis over the 30 days so I didn't feel like I wasted my money. If that's something that drives you, perhaps the idea that you purchased the supplies you needed into order to pursue the habit will be enough for you to get started. Or maybe you're a person who's motivated by your schedule - did you write in your planner that you were going to go to the gym today so now you feel obligated to do so? Find what that motivator is for you and implement it for at least three weeks - after all it takes 21 days to make a habit, right?
After my 30-day yoga pass, I was so used to attending yoga classes that I couldn't imagine my life without these classes so it motivated me to continue. A year later I still consistently practice yoga and have gotten to a point I never thought was possible. It's amazing the results you can achieve when you put a little soulful effort into something you enjoy.
The key is to just start. Start and commit to at least three weeks. The rest will come. Who knows, maybe this time next year you'll be thanking yourself for the commitment you made to something that you're passionate about.