How to motivate yourself to do Tai Chi every day

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If you’ve been in the Tai Chi game for long enough it’s impossible to not recognise the hard truth that you can’t progress very far without daily practice. You have to practice this stuff every single day or you won’t see any real progress. That requires time, and unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll find that there are already a lot of competing demands on your time, even your ‘free’ time. Add kids into the mix and your me-time shrinks to absolute zero faster than Jorge Masvidal running across the ring to flying knee poor Ben Askren in the face.

Quite often though, we could make time to practice, but we just don’t have the motivation. We get distracted by all sorts of other fun pursuits, like social media, TV, Netflix, Box Sets or listening to music, things that simply occupy us rather than fulfill us. In the old days, these used to be considered treats, but now they seem to be the main course.

If we cut all that out then I’m willing to bet that we’d have more than enough time to practice Tai Chi in our day. We just lack the proper motivation.

I’m no expert on motivation. In fact, I should be writing a piece of very dull freelance work right now, but instead, I’m here procrastinating on this blog by writing this article for you all about motivation. Ironic, huh?

So, I thought I’d ask somebody who is an expert what they thought would be the solution to getting our butts outside to practice Fair Lady Weave the Shuttles (even when it’s cold) should be. Mark Manson writes lots of books and blog posts about getting yourself together, getting motivated and getting stuff done. You can read his whole article on motivation, but the top line is that his advice is alarmingly simple – instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, just do something.

It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something, and build from there. Hopefully, that something will then inspire you to do something else, and so on.

So rather than starting your morning by looking at your phone, just pick one warm-up exercise and do it. After that, you might find you want to try another, and another and so on, until you’ve built a practice out of positive curiosity rather than enforced discipline and willpower, which never lasts.

Try it, and let me know how you get on. Go do something now.

 

3 thoughts on “How to motivate yourself to do Tai Chi every day

  1. These tips are helping me every day. “We get distracted by all sorts of other fun pursuits, like social media, TV, Netflix, Box Sets or listening to music, things that simply occupy us rather than fulfill us. In the old days, these used to be considered treats, but now they seem to be the main course.” Very true. I am trying my best to ignore them and concentrate on myself

  2. I recently read one of Marc Manson’s books and I agree that he is really something. I recommend to anyone to read his books, check out his website and subscribe to his emails. He is really a mind opener.

    Another writer whom I have found to have an impact on me is Scott Adams (the Dilbert guy). He has become quite well known for his thoughts on self development and persuasion. I can in particular recommend two of his books: LoserThink and How to Fail an Just About Everything and Still Win Big.

    He has a daily podcast (scottadamssays.com) that usually revolves around current events, but is really about how we think about things, how we are persuaded and how we persuade. I also recommend that if anyone would listen to his podcast for a week, you’ll find that some of your thinking will change.

    One of Adams points is that systems are better than goals. I long had a goal of practicing everyday, but regular life frequently got in the way. So what I did was to put in place a system.

    I gradually began getting up earlier. Now I get up 1.5 hours before I really need. I have time to casually wake up, have my coffee and catch up on the events of the day; then practice for 1 to 1.5 hours without the feeling that I have to hurry in order to be on time.

    I practice everyday before work so that my best laid plans don’t catch a monkey wrench in the teeth from whatever life conspires to throw at me.

    I have also become opportunistic. I live in a subdivision near some woods where coyotes are known to live. They sometimes roam into our backyards.

    When I let my dogs out, I go with them. In the winter, all the patio furniture has been put away, so I regularly find myself outside with time on my hands and a large enough open space to practice my form, so I do. I have found that I pretty regularly practice outside during the winter now.

    Finally, about being stuck. Adams suggests that there is a difference between wanting to do something and deciding to do something. If you find yourself stuck on the couch and decide that you want to practice, but can’t seem to muster the concentration and energy to get going, just do this: decide to wiggle your little finger and do it. Just that.

    If you can decide to wiggle your little finger and do it, it’s like a pebble that rolls down a mountainside and starts and avalanche. I can say from my own experience that this technique has worked for me.

    Great blog, great post! Keep up the good work.

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