We have grand plans. We have dreams. We are ambitious. There are so many things we want to do. At times it has a momentum all of its own, other times we feel more like a deflated balloon than a rocket ship.
Reaching our goals, we know, is about sustaining momentum and building good habits. But how? There are many ways, but this little trick is one I have used with developing my home yoga practice, which applies across the board, to business and beyond. I call it, Minimal Viable Commitment.
When I started developing my home yoga practice, my initial promise to myself was at a minimum I would step onto my yoga mat each day. That is all. I would step onto my yoga mat each day. It was so little it was almost comical. But what happened when I did that? My yoga mat represents more than just a mat- it represents the mental and emotional space of practice, of calming the mind and offers a safe space in which to explore and connect with myself. So when I step onto the space of the mat, I am also entering into the psychological space of practice. To me that mat is sacred, and my minimal viable commitment means that I get to enter that space each day. And more often than not, I did more then just step onto the mat; I’d practice for 5 min, 10 mins, 30 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins… depending on the day, and depending on my mood. My commitment was easy to keep, and because it was easy, I was able to build up my practice. I now have a minimal viable commitment to practice 20 mins a day- which again, does not seem like a huge amount of time, but because it is accessible it makes it easier to commit to again and again and again. This year I have been keeping track of my daily practice through a very simple daily check box, giving myself a star for each day I complete it. I’ve also teamed up with others who also want to develop their own daily practice, and we help keep each other accountable via a WhatsApp group. Having others I can check in with, feel supported by and connected to, makes my own commitment and practice stronger.
I am all for big goals but I am also realistic. What does it take to break those goals down into smaller, manageable, bite-sized chunks? And so, what would your equivalent of ‘stepping onto the mat’ be for whatever goal you are setting? Maybe it is writing one line of your book a day, or picking up your paintbrush, or taking one photo a day, or reaching out to one potential client each day. Something doable and something you can easily build into your daily routine.
What is your minimal viable commitment… which before long will become a habit, which before long transforms us…