I was practicing tolasana recently, a move where you sit in a cross legged position and lift your body up with your arms (because everybody needs to be able to lift their heavily weighted lower half off of the ground to be successful at life). As I switched the crossing of my legs, a familiar thought entered my head. “This way is pretty much impossible. It would be much easier to cross my legs back the other way and do this successfully.”
We only have so much energy. Despite the tools (or caffeine), we use to magically give ourselves more, at some point we get tired. In an effort to conserve energy, it is important we choose our self inflicted battles wisely. Many years ago, researchers decided to see what would happen if they put three year olds alone in a room with a marshmallow. They told the children if they waited 15 minutes for the adult to come back, they would be given two marshmallows. This was terribly difficult for many of the children, and, needless to say, not all of the children were able to resist the draw of the marshmallow calling their name. It takes less energy to say yes than to say no, and when you are three and there is sugar involved, sometimes no isn’t even really an option. To make any significant change, whether it’s emotional, physical, or mental, requires a significant amount of energy. Rather than expend all of our energy trying to change several things at once and risk eating the marshmallow, to maximize our chance of success, it is better to focus on making one change at a time. Once there is minimal energy required to sustain that change becomes it is now a habit, move your attention to something else. And in the meantime, I will continue trying to lift myself up with the left leg crossed in front of the right, even though it is much easier the other way.