The other day Linda, someone who’s been practicing at my studio for as long as I’ve been in business, announced she’s going to do the April Yoga Challenge this year. For the first time.
(This will be the 12th year I’ve offered it.)
“Why now?” I asked her.
She didn’t give me an answer.
I asked her again a few days later, and she said something about being “tied here anyway” because of a class she’s teaching this semester.
I’m not sure this is is a a good enough why. I’m not sure it’s going to get her through a month of everyday yoga.
Whenever I contemplate a new project, I always ask myself Why? And until I unearth an answer that will keep me going when I lose energy, or motivation, or heart for the thing, I don’t do it. I have to know my why first.
If I don’t have a strong enough why articulated at the get-go, I know I’m doomed.
It’s okay if my why changes during the project, as long as I continue to have one. And it’s a good one.
I’m in the process of writing my April newsletter to my mailing list now. I’m describing the Challenge and laying out the rules.
The game of the Challenge is that if you agree to come to class every day for 30 days, you only pay $30 for the entire month. There’s a leader board on the back wall where you sign in every day, and others can see your attendance and scribble notes of encouragement to you if they want.
It’s really fun, but it’s also hard. But not because of the yoga. It’s hard because of the everyday. That’s why you need a strong why going in.
So I started writing this sort of rah-rah newsletter to my people, encouraging anybody thinking of doing the Challenge this year to know their why first.
Just for fun, I tried to think of a few good whys for myself. Why would I commit to such a thing?
I came up with 4. There could be many more, but these four would work for me.
1. For My Health
2. To Align More Closely with my Aspirational Self
3. To Set a Good Example
4. For Accountability
I want to shed some winter weight. I want to get stronger, more toned and energized. A 30 Day Yoga Challenge would be a good way to support my healthier eating resolution, or even a detox.
Aligning with My Aspirational Self
When I invision my best self I see a person who does yoga everyday and looks like they do yoga every day. I see someone healthy, glowing, and energetic. Someone getting life done. Someone who’s not enslaved. Someone calling the shots on their own life, or at least recognizing where choices can be made, and making good ones.
A 30 Day Yoga Challenge would give me an opportunity to live, at least for a month, in alignment with what I’m always saying I want to do, but so often don’t.
Here is my favorite chicken-crossing-the-road joke:
- Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
- A: To prove to the possum that it could be done.
I want to be the chicken. I want to prove that something hard can be done. I want to do something hard and not get hit by a truck doing it. I am aware that people are inspired by other people and that we’re all watching each other. If I can be a good example, maybe you’ll be inspired. That’s how the world works, We’re all watching each other. If I can work the logistics of fitting a yoga class into my life for 30 days in a row, maybe you can, too. I am highly incentivized by being a good example. For nobody in particular. For everyone in general.
Also: Very few people in the world actually do what they say they’re going to do. So it’s inspiring to see someone actually persist and win at something hard.
I’m an Obliger. Most people are. Obligers depend on an accountability partner to keep them connected to their goals. A 30 Day Challenge acts as that accountability partner, because if I don’t show up, I’m out. And everybody knows it.
Also: Very few people do this, so it makes me feel part of a little tribe that I have to show up for and root on. And I like that.
If you’ve ever committed to doing something hard, a marathon, losing weight— anything that demanded training and a long(ish) slog, you know what I’m talking about. You have to have your why tattooed on your brain or you’ll bonk.
I’ll be really curious to see how many people sign up for this and what their whys are. I’ll be writing a lot about the Challenge next month for sure. Stay tuned.
Also: if you’ve ever done anything like this, let me know how it went, and if your why played a big part in your success.