The problem with resolutions is that we make them once per year. The rest of the time we live on a day to day basis. No big goals or visions, just doing what we need to do to get by.
Yogis know that the habits of the mind are some of the most powerful forces in our lives. The patterns we create and reinforce over months and years of repetition will easily overwhelm a new idea or desire. Habit is simply too powerful. Making a new habit is really hard.
HOW TO CHANGE A HABIT
The first step in changing a bad habit is awareness. Recognize that it exists. Every time you engage in this habit, notice. Tell yourself, "There it is again. I'm doing this without thinking, as a habit."
The second step is interrupting the habit. When you notice yourself doing the habit, try to stop it. This is the hardest part. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The point here is not to stop it every time, but to begin the formation of a new habit: the habit of restraint.
The third step is replacing the old, bad habit with a new, good habit. This makes restraint a lot easier, since our minds would rather do something than do nothing. This is where our resolutions come in. (Hopefully you can do this anytime of year, not just on January 1.) Pick something you want to cultivate that you're not currently doing. Insert this thought or action in place of the old habit.
This takes time. It's not just a matter of will, but a matter of persistence and determination. Be patient and keep at it. This way you can rid yourself of bad habits and create good ones.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are scholars as well as practitioners of yogic postures, breath control and meditation. They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga.
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