November Intention: Deliberate Practice


This month's focus is on something you might not normally see during the month of November: DELIBERATE PRACTICE.

We chose "Deliberate Practice" because things like gratitude, giving, service, and our normal habitual patters actually aren't practiced deliberately during the Holidays. A lot of our normal spending habits, eating habits, yoga habits, running habits, self care habits, and de-stressing habits get thrown out the window. We are not saying don't practice gratitude, what we are saying: DELIBERATELY practice gratitude. 

What does "Deliberate Practice" mean? Well, we read a book about Grit during our YES 200 (and we will do it again in 200.2), but Angela Duckworth says that it is establishing a goal and focusing on it 100%, give and receive feedback, put that feedback into your work, practice, and do that all over again. Deliberate Practice is for those who are talented and those who aren't. It is truly for those who want to learn, refine, and grow within their skill set. The thing is, Deliberate Practice requires actual effort. This is when your practicing becomes boring and mundane, but you push through and you do it anyway. 

Okay let's say all this stuff in real life words now. First, let's talk your yoga practice. This month is the catapult into the Holiday Season, Christmas shopping, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, eating until your button shoots off of your pants, holiday parties, kids out of school....the list goes on. We've created the November YES Challenge to help you work on Deliberate Practice. It will get hard, and it will get old, but staying with it keeps you gritty and keeps your yoga habit in tact. 

Same concept goes with gratitude. You want to be grateful and create a gratitude practice? Schedule a time each day to write in a journal 3 things you are grateful for, complete a daily 5 minute gratitude meditation, tell someone everyday you are grateful for them. These are things that will get boring after about 10 days of doing, but you must deliberately practice them, and in the long run. Your gratitude practice will turn into a habit and each time you will get to refine how your gratitude practice looks. 

The big question of the day, how do I even start? You start with identifying your habits. Our life is run by habits all throughout the day. The way you get ready in the morning, your tardiness or ability to be early, the way you get to work, what you eat for lunch, how you decide what to eat for lunch, what happens at 3pm, how you get home from work, what songs you skip on the radio, whose text messages you answer first, the list goes on and on and on. What you need to identify first is a keystone habit, easier said than done.... This habit is a habit that can change all other habits, the problem is actually changing it. It will take deliberate practice. If you have trouble getting to yoga class, start to recognize the signs of why, and start to recognize the signs of other habits that are easy for you to uphold.

How can you change your habit? Deliberate practice... which means start your analysis and feedback. Answer these questions:

Where are you?

What time is it?

What's your emotional state?

Who else is around?

What action preceded the urge?

If you can collect data for a few days about the habit you want to change, it could be as simple as an afternoon coffee, answer these and do some research, see what happens.

Then, change the middle action. Keep your trigger and your reward, but change the action. So, instead of grabbing an afternoon bag of chips, go for a walk and see if your tiredness wares off. If you aren't making it to yoga class, see what is happening, are you trying to go to the wrong time class and your "reward" is now shame and self-doubt, try a different time. 

Lastly, the most important thing about Deliberate Practice is believing you can do it. Honestly, that's the only way and the only simple trick. Believing in yourself. 

We challenge you this month to not only deliberately practice yoga, but something else. Where can you tune in and look at your habits, because once a new perspective is shown, you can't unsee it. 


Resources: "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg, "Atomic Habits" by James Clear


Journal Inquires: 

-What habit do I want to change? 

-What is holding me back from changing that habit?

- Am I a true YES for changing that habit?

-What is available to me if I were to change the habit?

-Am I a true YES for deliberate practice, which means working on it daily no matter how mundane it becomes? 

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