We are creatures of habit, not discipline

When Master Paalu first shared on the home practice we should do every day on our own (i.e. setting aside the first 20 mins of our day upon waking up for pranayama practice and 20 mins for asana practice, and the last 20 mins of our day before sleeping for meditation), it was greeted with mixed reactions and probably the same thought was going through everyone’s mind – with only 24 hours in a day, how do we fit this in and how do we maintain the discipline to continue this every day?

While it does take discipline to maintain a process before it is developed into a habit, the reassurance to this is after the habit has been established, there’s actually no need for discipline – it becomes an automatic behaviour. This was supported by a 2009 study, where researchers at the University College of London discovered that habits developed after an average of 66 days, a term they called the “point of automaticity”. While this duration was said to differ depending on the individual and on whether the behaviour was easier or tougher to establish, it took little to no effort to maintain once the behaviour was successfully established. That’s good news for us!

So, let us strive to maintain the discipline to carry out a consistent home practice to the point it becomes habit. After all, we are creatures of habit, not discipline. May we keep supporting each other in this yoga journey and not create excuses to justify our actions otherwise. Keep on keeping on!


“Success is actually a short race – a sprint fuelled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over. Once a new behaviour becomes a habit, it takes less and less discipline to maintain.” – Gary Keller


Claire Tan (200hr YTTC, Sep 2017 Weekday)

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