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The Yogic Way of Forming New Habits and Breaking Old Ones

The Yogic Way of Forming New Habits and Breaking Old Ones


    Some want to change certain habits in them, break the pattern and find new ground. They try to follow discipline, adopt everything they can to stay motivated including writing journals, meditation, reading self-help books and so forth, and yet they seem to make little progress, if any. They keep going back to square one before they give up eventually. Why are habits so hard to break? Or, why is it difficult to form new habits? They are serious, sincere, committed, yet they are unable to live the life they can or they so want to.

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    Your consciousness, your life is an aggregate of proclivities and psychic imprints that have been traveling with you over lifetimes. They make you who you are. It is for this reason that even identical twins can have different preferences, they may think and  behave differently. Everything you do and experience in life leaves an imprint on your consciousness, on your mind. These imprints form your habits. The best way to break old habits or form new ones is to wipe these imprints and create new ones. Let me share a little story with you:

    There was a guy called Bo. A high level executive, in his mid-forties, working for a large organization. Bo had a happy family with a loving wife and two kids. However, he was often battered by episodes of shooting pain in his right knee and wild mood swings. He was physically fit, all medical reports were fine. Nothing could explain his knee-ache. As for the mood swings, they happened even when he was on a vacation, when there was no stress of work. To make matters worse, he experienced it more in a public setting. When in such state, Bo often said things that hurt his wife and damaged their relationship. He would later apologize but the impact of apology almost vanished, for, the pattern of verbal bashing and subsequent apologizing seemed intertwined and constant.

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    They tried many things without success. One lucky day, they came across a genuine healer. He advised them to recall and narrate the major incidents of his life, especially those where he experienced grief and pain, physical or mental. A few hours later, they had figured out the cause of his sudden appearance of physical pain and mood swings. It turned out that Bo was bullied in school. One particular time, a bully gave him a nasty blow on his right knee with a baseball bat. The blow did not break his knee but he cried out loud in excruciating pain. His wailing and howling immediately got the attention of many and he was promptly given medical aid. The bully was expelled from the school and no one ever pestered him thereafter.

    However, that experience had found a permanent home in Bo’s mind. Whenever he passed through the markets, if he saw a baseball bat or even any memorabilia linked to that sport, he experienced pain in the knee. It all happened in the subconscious mind; he was unaware. Shouting became his coping mechanism. His mood swings were triggered at the sighting of anything linked to baseball, especially the bat.

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    Habits are spontaneous responses. They spring from your memory. Yoga sutras state that memory is the unmodified collection of words and experiences. If you work on erasing those imprints, you can get rid of any habit. There are two simple ways you can adopt to erase your psychic imprints, there’s a yogic method and there’s an intellectual one. You can read up on both methods here.

    When you are angry, negative, pessimistic, paranoid, it means you are hurt somewhere deep within you. It means that untoward experiences of the past have not been forgotten yet, that, you still haven’t forgiven yourself or the other person, that, you are still not healed. They are merely the symptoms of a wounded consciousness. You can heal yourself. Such healing will give you a clean slate.

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    Not everything that happens to you is your fault. Allow yourself to be yourself. Heal yourself so you may be the person you wish to be, living the life of your dreams.

    (Photo credit: Road on the Sky via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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