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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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