Design your life – create good habits with the help of yoga and meditation

16 February 2021 | By Emma Öberg

How could yoga and meditation help you design the rest of your life? In fact, your practice has the potential to be a so-called core behavior – which has a strong influence on other habits. Read more about habits and get inspired to create a new habit here!

Social expectation – the key to long-term habit

Our DNA, our great life choices (such as work, partner and home) and our habits are the three things that strongly affect our lives.

The daily small habits are the ones you can most easily change today. Some habits are extra important, they are called core behaviors. When you establish new core behaviors, they can trigger several new positive habits.

Yoga, exercise and meditation are examples of core behaviors that can have a strong influence on other behaviors. The habits you have now are part of creating the life you live in six months. You can either be a victim of your habits or the designer of your habits – the designer of your life. Who do you want to be?

Behavioral scientists point out social expectation as the most important key to a habit becoming long-term. Spending time with people who also have the habits you want or need is therefore important.

We as humans need belonging. If the group we hang out with thinks that our habits are incomprehensible, the driving force to belong often wins over the habit. When the group we associate with expects us to perform a specific behavior, it becomes easier.

Once you know this, you can create contexts that strengthen the habit you want. Try to approach groups that confirm your choice of behavior. In the context of yoga, this is called sangha. The group of people with whom you share the truth and who help you grow when you don't have the strength to take the initiative.

When creating a new habit, it helps if:

  • There is something that triggers the behavior. Always after X you do Y. It will be easier to establish a new habit if the new habit is an obvious part of the system that your days work according to. For example: Whenever I wake up I take a shower, after that I do my yoga. Taking a shower is a reminder of yoga.
  • It's something you like to do. Many people try to establish new habits to reach a goal, such as better fitness. They choose to run even though they don't like it. This makes it much more difficult to maintain the habit than if you have chosen something that you like to do. If you want to start yoga or meditate, choose a style that you like.
  • It is simple. The new behavior needs as little friction and thresholds as possible for it to happen. It's often easier to establish a short new habit than a long one. Meditating ten minutes a day is easier to establish than meditating for an hour. It's better to have a small habit that can grow. If you start in a simple way you can optimize your habit once you have established it.

Performing a behavior also creates an identity. You become someone who meditates and that in itself gives more of that behavior. You get a direct feeling of satisfaction. Perhaps the most important thing in establishing a new habit is that you get a feeling of having succeeded, that you are winning and that it is satisfying. You can do this by ticking a box at each performed time. That small act gives the mind a sense of gain.

Core behaviors design your life

Some habits are, as I wrote earlier, core behaviors. The core behaviors are often different for different people but meditation, exercise and yoga have the potential to be such behaviors. It is a behavior that when you perform it, it affects many other behaviors, such as your sleep, your food choices and how you meet others.

In this way, a daily habit of yoga and meditation can help you design your life. So if you are going to choose a new habit this year, choose a core behavior. Try yoga and meditation.

And remember that the habits you have now are part of creating the life you live in six months to two years. Get habits that take care of you. Because you are valuable.

Read more – create good habits

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Emma Öberg

Emma driver retreatgården Yoga Managalam och är internationellt diplomerad yogalärare, yogaterapeut och gongmästare.

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