Updated: Feb 20
6 proven steps to achieve your weekly yoga goals and never miss a class again.
How often do you register for a yoga class or buy a monthly/yearly plan and end up not going? How often do you think you want to get fitter and do yoga but end up watching Netflix or random youtube videos instead? How often have you taken a new year resolution to stay fit and haven't followed through?
There is always a reason not to do it. Forming a new habit is challenging and often needs careful planning rather than sheer willpower. Here are 6 proven steps to help you push through your old habits and build new ones.
Step #1 - Location, location, location
Create your personal yoga environment. In a regular yoga studio set-up, you don't have to think about the location aspect but when you are going to an online yoga class, this plays an important part to establish a habit. Have a specific yoga spot in your house. It's better to have a room with a door so that way, you can eliminate possible disturbances. It does not have to be a fancy room just for yoga, if you are like me, I do yoga in my living room. I don't change this spot. I know where to put my mat, where to put my laptop, the room has good lighting, the internet connection is great etc.
If you have a spare room then create your yoga space, decorate it with things that bring in positive energy and good thoughts. A place of peace and calm.
Some other great places to do yoga in your home are the balcony, backyard or garden (given that you live in a relatively calm neighbourhood).
"Motivation is Overrated; Environment Often Matters More"- James Clear
Step #2 - Plan
Say you want to take an online yoga class every Monday at 19:00,
Write this down on your physical calendar.
Repeat, write it on your mobile calendar.
Set a reminder/alarm. One reminder beginning of the day and one reminder 30mins before the class.
Feels like you are overdoing it but you just can't unintentionally miss it. It's everywhere! If you still miss it, then it means that you chose to actively ignore it. Then read no further, you need external help like a personal trainer who comes to your house and kicks your ass.
Make sure that you also plan what to do before and after the class. As simple as this seems it tricks your brain to accept and assimilate the new habit easier in combination with an old habit.
Example: "I will brush my teeth, meditate for 10minutes and then take a shower". Here you have two preprogrammed habits as starting and ending points.
Similarly, for a yoga class, "I will come back from work, change clothes/wash my face, then do yoga for an hour and later have dinner with dessert" ("Dessert" also acts as a reward and we will talk about it in detail in Step 6). Again here you have two preprogrammed before and after habits, coming back from work and dinner to accommodate your new habit.
“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” -John F. Kennedy
Step #3 - Prepare
As soon as you register for a class, make sure you have everything to attend to the class. In a yoga studio, you can use the yoga mats from the studio, but at home, you need your own yoga mat. So buy a good yoga mat, sports clothes (including sports undergarments) etc. and prepare yourself for the course. Especially for online classes, you might need an App or registration on a video conferencing platform. Don't start downloading and setting things up 2 minutes before the class, the time pressure will just annoy you further.
The night before the class, roll out your yoga mat and keep your laptop and clothes ready to use. This way you are breaking up the tasks, one small step at a time. This trick is especially useful for morning classes. You literally have to roll out of bed and crawl to the mat and tada, you are in the class!
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail". - Benjamin Franklin
Step #4 - Commit
Tell someone about your class. Tell your partner, friends or colleagues, that you have a yoga class at so and so time. Your friends or colleagues, will probably ask you about yoga next time you meet them, this will act as a constant reminder of your goal. That is to do yoga!
If it's a small group and you personally know your teacher, then let your teacher know that you will come to the class.
Do NOT use the word "Try" or "Plan" when you announce.
It's not "I will try to come to the class today", it is "I will come to the class today."
It's not "I plan to go to a yoga class today evening", it is "I am going to the yoga class today evening at 19:00".
“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” - Kenneth Blanchard
Step #5 - Yoga buddy
Get a Yoga buddy, one of your friends who already loves doing yoga and is disciplined. Or someone in your yoga class. Someone with whom you get along, exchange numbers and go to yoga classes together.
Here the important thing is that you don't try to motivate someone who is not into yoga. They will end up demotivating you and you might end up quitting your goals. Stick with someone excited about the classes as much as you are or more. You will have a positive impact on each other. Even though it seems romantic to have couple goals and do partner yoga, if your partner is not into it, then you cannot make them like it no matter what. In such cases, it is better to ask a friend or a sibling to be your yoga buddy.
“When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is within all of our hands.” – Maria Shriver
Step #6 - Reward
Remember to be kind to your body. Treat your body the way you would treat a loved one. A lot of people miss the last but the most important part of establishing a habit, Reward. Reward yourself immediately after the class. This step is as important as attending the class itself, you need to celebrate your successes. So, don't miss it or put this away in the future.
Here are some ideas for a quick reward if you are doing yoga from home,
A scoop of ice cream, a cupcake, a glass of milkshake, a cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate! Also, reward yourself with a treat that’s on the same level as the task. 1x60 minutes yoga class = 1 cupcake, not more.
If you are not into munching then reward yourself with a nice bath and music. Remember, rewards don’t have to cost anything, you can get pleasure out of the most simple things if you allow yourself to really enjoy them.
"“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”- Oprah Winfrey
Using all the above steps I am very sure you will not miss another yoga class. I wish you all a wonderful time in your weekly yoga classes.