This is the time of year that many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. Often our resolutions are a desire to establish new healthy habits—“I’ll start working out 6 days a week” or “I’m going to eat less sugar” or “I’m going to make Alexander Technique Constructive Rest a 20-minute practice every day—starting today!”
More often than not we don’t succeed with our resolutions. We fail so often that it is the butt of many jokes.
I am not suggesting that you give up on your resolutions. Instead, ask yourself “are my expectations for change reasonable?” As human beings, we tend to resist change, however beneficial it may be for us. Too big a change and we tend to rebel. Over the years I have found that very small changes, however insignificant they may seem at first, produce the best results over time. So look at your original resolution and break it down into really small, manageable, and achievable goals.
When you break a larger goal down into smaller goals that you can easily achieve you will feel good about yourself and be more likely to continue working toward the larger goal.
One of the first things I teach all of my students to do on their own is the Alexander Technique Constructive Rest practice. It is a very simple way to rest your back, decompress your spine and generally release unnecessary tension in your body.
The goal is to ultimately make this a 20-minute practice every day.
For many students, if they start off the first week with the goal that they are going to do their Constructive Rest practice for 20 minutes a day, every day, most very quickly give up on it.
The everyday aspect of this practice is the most important and what I suggest they work on first.
So, a better approach for many students is to break it down and start with a more reasonable and achievable goal of 5 minutes a day, every day. I suggest they do this for a few weeks. At that point, they can try a goal of 10 minutes a day, every day for a few more weeks. After that, they can try a goal of 15 minutes a day, every day for the next few weeks. Finally, they can make their final goal 20 minutes a day, every day.
Proceeding in this manner means it may take you a few months to make the 20 minutes a day, every day, a habit. However, if you look at Constructive Rest as something that you can do to help take care of yourself for the rest of your life, a few months in the overall scheme of things is not a long time.
If you are new to the Constructive Rest practice I recommend this 15-minute podcast interview between two experienced Alexander Teachers.