YOGAS CITTA VRTTI NIRODHAH
The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.
– Sutra #2, “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” Translation and Commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananada
The mind is a incredible and wonderful thing, but it’s fickle, its the monkey mind. Coupled with our “monkey society” of constant consumption, over stimulation and array of minute to minute choices we are presented with its no wonder why being dedicated to our goals is so difficult.
In Yoga we talk about the ego, or ahamkara, the “I”. How often in a single day are you presented with something attractive to you, be it an object, an idea, or a scenario? Immediately the ego takes over and there is an immediate desire for it. The ego is not a muscular man walking down the beach with his chest puffed out, it is a very natural modification of our peaceful mind. Yet it is a modification that we practice, in yoga, to control and restrain.
If you’re interested in getting more into the nitty-gritty’s of the yoga sutras world, please feel free to comment below; the nerd in me is always up to dive into my yoga books and have a great philosophy discussion.
I want you to think about how many times your ego has taken you off track of your goals. When something attractive or appealing comes your way do you lose sight of what you want? For example: I would like to get into better shape. However, theres this great book I’m reading and that packet of vegan lavender cookies I picked up from the garage in Duncan is looking extra good, especially coupled with a cup of tea and some sunny little nook. My ego saw the cookies I bought and the book I’m reading and wanted to fulfill a desire IMMEDIATELY. Thats key. The ego wants to fulfill desire, in a ASAP kind of way, which is why things get pushed to the side and we end up never achieving our TRUE dreams.
Of course, as its Monday and we want to keep the motivation up, I have an activity to help you keep your goals in sight and your ego at bay!!
Grab a pen and paper and follow along!
Lets think big. Set a clock for 30 seconds. Start writing down (in any format you want) what you would like, it can be anything but you have to be writing for a full 30 seconds. Don’t think to much about it, and don’t delete anything.
“I want to be in better shape – according to the “eye ball” test. I want to be able to save more money so I can buy a house. “
30 seconds goes by very quickly so make sure you write down the first thing that comes to mind. You can do this two or three times if it helps you just get ideas down on paper. Once you’re done pick one of the trials (you can do this with all of them, but for now lets work on one).
Take your selection and add some specificity:
- Who is involved?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Where will you do it (location)?
- Which requirements are there or constraints?
- Why do you want to do it? (what are the benefits?)
If one of these does not make sense, don’t worry… thinking about these are a good start. Okay, lets transform your original selection:
- Who: Its ME thats involved = I
- What: I want to get in better shape and save more money
- Where: In the gym, outside, in the water… where ever my exercise takes me. I’d like to save money in the bank.
- Which: requirements are that I have to exercise 5 days a week, constraints is time but I can dedicate 30 minutes to it. Saving money? well my constraints are that I have to pay for bills and I only get paid once a month, but I want to save $80,000.
- Why: To feel better about myself, for a down payment on a house.
Now apply the above to your selection:
I want to exercise 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time to be in better shape so I can feel better about myself and I’d like too put a minimum of $1000 per pay check in a savings account in the bank so I can save up for a house.
When you’re goal setting you want to close as many gaps as you can so that there’s no room for your ego to get in and justify going off course for the fulfillment of your many desires. This is why we are going to add a component to your goal! We want the goal to be measurable which will establish concrete criteria so you can judge the progress you’ve made towards attaining what you want. Adding a measurable component will help you stay on track, reach your target dates, and give you something to celebrate when you’ve made it!
Here are the questions you want to ask yourself:
- How much?
- How many?
- How long?
- How will I know when its accomplished?
- How much? $80,000 saved in the bank. Run: 10 km & 250lb squat
- How many? 4 years to save up for the down payment. And I’ll add 20 regular style pushups to my goal.
- How long? 4 years to achieve my goal of a down payment. 4 months to achieve my fitness goal
- How will I know when its accomplished? When I can run 10km in 1hr, do 20 regular style pushups, and squat 250lbs, When I have $80,000 saved up for a down payment.
Again apply the above to your ever-growing goal!
I want to exercise 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes until I can run 10km in 1hr, do 20 regular style pushups, and squat 250lbs so that I can feel better about myself. I’d like to achieve this within 4 months. I would also like too save up $80,000 in the next 4 years for a down payment on a house by putting $20,000 away each year in the bank.
Now ask yourself is this attainable? Maybe you need to ask someone in the respective field? Take your goal to a personal trainer, a financial advisor, or a trusted friend! This component of goal setting is also about what is most important to you, and how your attitudes, skills and abilities will affect your progress. If your goal not important enough, or seemingly too big for you to work at it and meet the requirements you’ve set for yourself, will you attain it? If not, can you break it down into smaller parts to make it more attainable? Goals that may have seemed far off and out of reach at the start eventually get closer and more attainable as you grow and expand to match them. You ARE worthy of your goals, its just a matter of breaking them down into smaller parts so that YOU see them!
Here you can change the language you use in your goal, instead of saying “I want” or “I would like” say “I am driven to” or “I am committed to”. Words are power, use them to back up your goal with the strongest part of your will!!
Hand in hand with the questions you’ve just asked yourself is the questions: Is my goal realistic? You’ve just said you’re willing to work for it, but are you able. If I want to save $20,000 each year for 4 years, will I be able to do it if I only make $30,000 each year? No, I am physically unable to put away $20,000 and only live on $10,000, this is an unrealistic goal. However just like my previous point, I can make my yearly target smaller, with a longer duration and my goal of a $80,000 down payment will become a more realistic future reality!
Now lets ground our goal by making it timely. With no time frame clearly laid out theres no urgency. I can believe I have 4 months to achieve my fitness goals but how do I know when those 4 months are over? I need dates, days, and times because an arbitrary “someday” just won’t work!
Go back to your selection and add time to it. Notice that I’ve broken up what was once two sentences together into two small but clear paragraphs.
I am driven to exercise 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes until Monday, January 1st 2018 when I will be able to run 10km in 1hr, do 20 regular style pushups, and back squat 250 lbs, so that I can feel better about myself and have more confidence in my body.
I am committed too save up $80,000 by September 2021 for a down payment on a house by putting $20,000 away in the bank each year, which I will do by putting $1,670 away in the bank on the 3rd of every month.
You’ve created a clear outline for your goals and will soon be well on your way to achieving them!! I suggest printing them out and putting them somewhere where you can look at them daily so you can be reminded of what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and the daily measures you’ll take so that your ego will never pull you off track!
Feel free to comment below with your goals!!