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The No. 1 Way To Develop A Personal Practice That Actually Works
Developing a personal practice isn't something that happens overnight, and as its name implies, it's unique to the individual. A personal practice is something you can return to over and over again to get your day off on the right foot, help you wind down at night, or give you the tools to cope in times of adversity. Of course, a personal practice looks different for everyone—for one person it might be a few moments of silence in the morning, and for another it might mean a meditative walk after dinner.
But here's the thing: If you try to add in a bunch of new elements to your practice at once, the likelihood of them actually sticking is slim to none. In order to be successful and create a daily practice that will last, it's helpful to choose just one thing you want to add to your day—at least in the beginning.
Here are some ideas:
Meditate for 10 to 20 minutes.
And if you don't have time for that, start with just three minutes. Everyone has three minutes!
Drink a large glass of lemon water.
Upon waking up, drink a cup of lemon-infused hot water. It will get your digestive system moving, setting you up for a peaceful, productive day.
Make a superfood tonic to reset your system and begin your morning.
Because kicking your day off with a nutrient-packed tonic is a recipe for success and won't lead to blood sugar crashes later in the day.
Play inspirational music or listen to a book on tape.
The upside to this is that you don't need to carve out extra time to do it—you can build both of these activities into your commute or listen while you're doing the dishes at home.
Light candles or incense to fill your home with pleasing smells.
This is one of my favorites, and again, it takes very little time or effort.
Eventually, after practicing that one thing for a few weeks—there's no magical number here; you will just feel ready intuitively—you can add in something else. Maybe it's physical movement, clean eating, journaling, deep breathing, or planting flowers and greenery. The point is, you want to take your time with it. Be selective and invite things that speak to you and fill your soul and heart with joy.
It's helpful to keep a journal during this time and write about how you're feeling, what worked, and what didn't. Eventually, the journal will become a part of your daily practice as well. It's also helpful to share with those around you what you're doing and ask them for support. If you have a roommate or partner, tell them you'll be waking up early to meditate! This will only enforce your practice and make you more resolute and determined to succeed.
If you start slowly by picking just one practice that fills you with joy, you're well on your way to a solid personal practice. Once you feel ready, add in something else and check in by journaling regularly. Take your time, and enjoy the process!
Inspired to make a change? Read up on how yoga changes in the structure of your brain.