Can we take a moment and admit that yoga is much harder than it looks? I had a feeling yoga would help me become more flexible (and bless up for that because my muscles used to have the tensile strength of beef jerky), but what I really didn’t expect was how good of a full-body workout it is. Yoga really works the shoulders, core, and legs. There are times when I’m doing yoga and think, “I am getting a better workout in my apartment than I did the last time I went to the gym.”
So not only are you building mental strength by doing your THING every day, you’re getting physically stronger too. Yoga is sneaky that way.
Full transparency. I created a website dedicated to finding your next passion and repurposing your free time, and there are days when I get home from work and I know that I should do my THING, but I default to things like YouTube, napping, or looking at Instagram. Here are three lessons I’ve learned from those experiences:
When that feeling hits, I’m usually not strong enough to motivate myself. I need some help. That’s where the Inspiration Page comes in clutch.
I always feel better about myself after I finally do the THING. Especially on a day when I could have easily talked myself out of it.
The more months I’ve done My Next Thing, the less often I default to things that feel aimless in my free time.
If you have one of those days this week, I know the feeling. Remember that your goal is not to do yoga today. Your goal is to unroll your yoga mat. Start with that and see what happens to the remainder of your free time.
Let’s talk about chocolate. I like eating chocolate. It’s kind of addictive, it gives me a little bit of a sugar rush, and there are enough different kinds to keep it interesting pretty much anytime I have a sweet tooth. The problem with chocolate is if I eat too much of it I feel awful. We’ve all probably made that mistake as kids on Halloween. And maybe once or twice since then. It’s a fine line between a tasty treat and a real problem.
On the other hand, I REALLY like coffee. I like the taste of coffee as much as I like the taste of chocolate, but coffee makes me feel good for a long time after drinking it. The caffeine does wonders for my productivity, mood, and motivation. When I first started trying to get into coffee in high school I never craved it. But before too long I was hooked.
This is a thinly veiled metaphor. I probably don’t even have to explain it. When we have free time, the easy things we default to (Netflix, social media, drinking) are like chocolate. They’re fine in moderation. They make us feel good for a while. But if we only partake in chocolate, we’re going to feel pretty bad about ourselves.
A THING is like coffee. At first, we’re probably not going to obsess over it. We may even have to teach ourselves to like it. But the more we stick with it, the more we’re going to realize we love the way it makes us feel. Eventually, we’ll crave it. We’ll consume more coffee and cut back on chocolate.
I wrote this while drinking coffee. But after I’m done working I’m probably going to go find some M&Ms. Balance is important.
When I chose yoga as my next THING, Day 10 was when I finally bought a yoga mat. Looking back, that seems crazy, but it showed me that it’s far more important to get started on a THING than to wait around for everything to be perfect. If I had waited to start doing yoga until I bought a yoga mat, I probably would have never bought a yoga mat. So I never would have started doing yoga.
The timing in life will never be perfect. That goes for anything. If your parents waited around for the “perfect time” to have a baby, I guarantee you wouldn’t be around to read this. So I don’t regret starting my yoga practice without a mat. But if you don’t have one yet, come on! What are you waiting for?!
That was a joke. You’re doing great.
I believe that when we are unsure about where to proceed in life, we are indecisive, unproductive, and our daily routine feels like it lacks purpose. Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that we’re all told we should ‘find our calling’ in life. I believe that’s terrible advice.
There’s a great Pete Holmes joke that goes, “There was a time where if you didn’t know where Tom Petty was from, you just didn’t know.” He’s right. We now live in a time where there is instantaneous access to virtually all information. There are experts at anything, everywhere you look. How are we supposed to find our calling in life when there is someone out there who does exactly what we want to do, does it better than we can, and has an Instagram account dedicated to how great they are at it with 50k followers?
The answer is, we need to stop worrying about finding our “one true passion”. We don’t need to find the right THING. We just need to find the next THING. Ultimately, the intersections of these passions will reveal opportunities to apply our THINGS in innovative and exciting ways. More on this tomorrow. Thank you for attending my TED Talk.
What’s the difference between a THING and a hobby? I really hate the word hobby. It feels pointless. A hobby is collecting stamps (no offense, philatelists). A THING is something that has a greater return. It doesn’t just fill time, it enhances your life. It makes you feel accomplished. It may even lead to future opportunities down the road.
At the intersection of our many interests lies opportunity. At the intersection of yoga and writing is a personal blog about yoga. Mine would be called “Yoga for Rigid Skeptics”. At the intersection of yoga and pottery is this wellness class someone in North Carolina is teaching and making up to $450/hour. At the intersection of all of my previous THINGS and a recent THING (Website Design), was the idea for My Next Thing. I never imagined I would start something like this, but it emerged naturally and it has been a major highlight of my year.
If you spend an entire year picking up 12 new THINGS, imagine how many doors might open for you at the intersections of your multiple THINGS. Keep that in mind as you start yoga today. You're not just doing one THING. You're connecting yoga to all of your past and future THINGS.