How to Take the First Step After You’ve Convinced Yourself Not To
What do you do when you want something, but you've convinced yourself not to go for it? When taking the first step feels impossible, try these 3 things.
We can get so caught up in the goal of something that we become intimidated and freeze; we claim it’s impossible, it’s too hard, we’re not worthy. Our minds convince us it’s a lost cause before we take one small step toward it.
For me, sometimes this shows up in my yoga practice. The times I need yoga most are the times I want it least. But every time I make it onto my mat, I am thankful. Yoga always brings me back to how I want to feel and who I want to be.
1. When we’ve successfully convinced ourselves the thing we want is no longer worth trying for, we need to take a step back and look at the goal.
Is the goal something you know will bring you peace and freedom?
Or is the goal something you think you should want because other people want it and they say you should want it, too?
Say practicing yoga is your goal. Why is it your goal? From my own relationship with yoga, I can tell you with absolute confidence:
The yoga pose is not the goal.
Becoming flexible is not the goal.
Standing on your hands is not the goal.
The goal of yoga is to create space where you were once stuck; to unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart; to appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates; to make peace with who you are and what you are here to do.
The goal is to love, well…YOU.
If you want to practice yoga, choose a reason that pulls at your heart and beckons to your soul. Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow (and so will your yoga practice).
2. Once you’ve redefined your goal, get real with yourself and what it means to put in the work for it.
Yoga is called a practice because we’re never finished. If you think the point of getting on your mat is to eventually reach one specific milestone, trophy or sense of accomplishment, staying committed will get hard because you’ll never reach that goal.
The same can be true of anything else: it’s nothing more than a practice, a commitment to show up every day and do your very best.
Yoga, and any other goal you want to spend time doing, is a continuous string of moments, movements and breaths that make up this life we choose to lead.
Listen carefully, this detail is key: doing your best in those moments changes all the time.
With yoga, some days doing your best means a sweaty 90-minute Vinyasa flow, then drinking a big green smoothie and checking off your entire to-do list.
Other days, doing your best means putting your legs up the wall for 5 minutes while you close your eyes and breathe with your belly.
Every day, it's remembering why you started, why it matters to your heart, and why that alone proves you are worthy and able to have it.
Doing your best today may not be how you do your best tomorrow — that's perfectly okay! Humans fluctuate like the moon and the tides. Some days the work comes easily. Some days, it just doesn't. But those days don't have to be a sign that you should give up! Adapt your practice to how you are today, right now — keep showing up in any way you can.
See how this all relates to any other worthy goal in life?
3. No matter what life has given you today, keep showing up. Keep trying. Keep doing the best you can with what you have.
As long as you do the best you can today, it will be enough.
My goal of learning yoga continues to teach me all of this and more — usually the biggest lessons happen when I start to give up.
Today I woke up feeling super tired and off, but I didn’t know why. All I knew was I did not feel like getting on my mat at all.
Whenever I get in a funk and yoga is the farthest thing on my mind (yes, it happens to everyone) I make myself do 10 Sun Salutations. If I can get myself to put on yoga pants, great. If that feels too hard, underwear it is — whatever gets me to rolling out my mat and promising myself I’ll do 10 rounds of Surya Namaskar A. The rounds can be as slow as I need them to be with any variation or modification my body craves, but I commit to doing 10 of them.
Sometimes that means crawling into Downward Dog and doing every Chaturanga with my knees on the floor — but I do them.
Right around the 7th or 8th round, I forget why I didn’t feel like stepping on my mat in the first place. All I know is what I feel; I’m out of my head and in my body. All of a sudden, I realize just how much I crave this, even when that little voice inside my head is telling me to spend the morning on the couch instead.
I always crave time on my mat.
What started off as 10 simple Sun Salutes becomes a full hour of practice in conscious, empowered breath and movement. After Savasana, my entire mood is shifted.
If your goal will nourish your soul and you understand what matters is doing your best, however that looks, then… All you have to do is begin. The rest will take care of itself.
What are you avoiding today, something you know is good for you and your heart? Make a promise with yourself that you will take just one step; that will simply begin it, even for only 5 minutes. Better yet, make it feel real by writing it down! Make your promise to yourself in the comments below!