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Falling Off The Wagon

Falling Off The Wagon

 

How to Restart a Stalled Practice

When it comes to practice, consistency is the most important thing.

Showing up day after day, week after week, is how you become the dancer you want to be.
 

But even a steady practice habit is going to have some ups and downs.

Big life events like an illness in the family or moving, changes to your routine, or just being distracted by other obligations and other interests.

Missing a day or two here and there isn’t going to kill you.

But when that day turns into two, and then a week goes by, and then a month… that’s a different situation.

How do you get back on track when you’ve fallen off the practice wagon?
 

Listen Now:

 

Or Read the Transcript

This was professionally transcribed, but it probably still has some errors. If you catch any, drop me a line at nadira@nadirajamal.com. I’d love to hear from you!

When it comes to practice, consistency is the most important thing. Showing up day after day, week after week, month after month. That’s what helps you become the dancer you want to be.

But if you manage to establish a steady practice habit, you’re going to have some ups and downs. Big life events like an illness in the family or moving, simple changes to your routine that make it harder to show up, or just being distracted by other obligations and other interests.

The thing is is that missing a day or two here and there isn’t going to kill you and it isn’t going to threaten your habit. But when that day turns into two and then a week goes by and then a month, that’s a different situation. You’ve fallen off the practice wagon.

This has happened to me. I have a pretty solid practice habit, but I also have a part time day job doing custom software. A while back, I had to take a professional exam on a pretty tight deadline. I was studying in every free minute. I was staying up late and then I either slept in or spent my morning studying which really ate into my practice time. I figured I would jump right back in, but then day after the exam I thought I would reward myself with another day off. It didn’t just end up being one day. The amount of time that I missed was embarrassing.

So what can you do when you really fall off the wagon?

Well, there were four things that helped me get back on track and that I recommend to my coaching clients as well. First, double down on your commitment to show up. Move heaven and earth to make it happen, but keep that practice really short. If you listen to the practice tantrum episode, you’re familiar with the hilarious minimum. For example, you might decide that for the next two weeks, you’re going to practice every single day, no matter what but only for the length of one song. My second recommendation is to consider adding some form of accountability. Track whether you practiced or not every single day. You might mark that down in a calendar, in a journal. Use a phone app. I use one called Way of Life. You might partner with a friend and check in with them every day.

If you feel like you need a big carrot and stick, you might consider a public practice challenge where you post whether or not you practiced every day on Facebook or Twitter or your blog. Third, shake it up. Boredom is the kiss of death, but if you choose some fresh content to practice, that can make you more excited to show up in the first place. That excitement can be enough to get you over the hump until practice becomes a regular part of your routine again. Fourth, play. Don’t work. Instead of focusing on what you need to fix in your dance or what you feel like you should be doing, just do whatever you would enjoy the most. A healthy practice should always balance having fun and making progress, but for now, don’t even try to make progress. Your only job right now is to reestablish the habit of showing up and focusing on enjoying your practice makes showing up that much easier.

No matter how long it’s been since you practiced, don’t beat yourself up about it. No shame. No blame. Tomorrow is a new day and it’s never too late to get back on the wagon.

 

Your Turn

If you try this technique, let me know how it goes!

Got a question or topic that you’d like me to talk about on the show?

I would love to hear from you.

Leave a comment below, or better yet, leave me a short voice message. Maybe I’ll even play it on the air!

 

Want More?

If you’ve had trouble making practice a consistent part of your life, check out my online course, How to Build a Sustainable Practice Habit.

In the past, I’ve only offered it as a group course.

But I’ve created a special DIY version for The Bellydance Bundle, a collection of 21 great belly dance products from 21 different contributors, at a HUGE discount.

The Bundle is available only through October 8th, 2017, so check it out now.

Check it Out 
 
 

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