As part of my spiritual practice, I chant every morning. It’s a time consuming and sometimes tedious ritual, but it makes me feel good – often for the whole day. There are days I don’t want to do it and other days I feel like I don’t have time to do it, and for the most part, I do it anyway. But some days I cheat.
Instead of doing the whole 45-minute practice, I will sometimes do a shortened version. And, if I’m really hard pressed to fit it in, I do a tiny little micro version. It’s extremely rare that I don’t do it at all.
Gradations like this work really well for me – because I know that sometimes I just can’t show up with 100 percent. In my mind, my “short” and “micro” versions “count” exactly the same as a full chanting session. I don’t feel at all guilty because I don’t consider it slacking; I consider it modified. When I make a huge commitment like that – to do something every single day – I need some wiggle room.
As most of you know, I have continued to eat according to the Whole Life Challenge parameters even after the 8-week challenges themselves end. Because this is a big commitment (and because I can rationalize almost any indiscretion), I set up some non-negotiables last year that were my personal lines in the sand – namely staying true to No Sugar and drinking at least 45 oz of water daily. Meaning, when my first challenge ended a year ago, I decided to, at the very minimum, keep these two new habits in my life.
No Sugar keeps me sane and I’m convinced that Lots of Water makes everything in my body work better. I’m not a person who is good at living up to unreasonable ideals. I decided to devise small rules for myself so that even if I went back to a lot of old habits, I wouldn’t feel like all hell had broken loose.
Doing this challenge is hard. And it’s harder without the support of the team, even if it’s made you feel really good along the way. Feeding ourselves healthy meals can be both time consuming and tedious. If you want to continue on but think you need some wiggle room, consider creating your own ideal minimum that you can aim for EVERY DAY. The goal is to continue to feel good about what we can do for ourselves, not feel bad about how we’re falling short.
So maybe pick a thing or two that you consider non-negotiable. And anything you manage beyond that – gluten free, limited alcohol, limited dairy – is (and this is probably a poor choice of words) icing on the cake.
I’m going to say this once more just so everyone hears it: The goal is to continue to feel good about what we can do for ourselves, not feel bad about how we’re falling short.