Habit creation for Rebels: the strategy of other people

In my last post I talked about habit creation and the Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin*. If you don’t know what that is, read the last post!

Within the Four Tendencies framework, I am rebel. That means I resist inner and outer expecations.

I am a rebel who wants to practice Taijiquan and Qi Gong daily. And I resist that. But thankfully Gretchen Rubin shared some strategies and tips how to create habits as a rebel.

One of the strategies is “the strategy of other people”. First thing I’ll do is rename that strategy. Yes, the rebel in me needs to change the name.

I call it “the strategy of being different”.

Because: yeah, I want to be different! I like being different. “Different” is my “cool”.

Actually one of the reasons I started Taijiquan and Qi Gong in 2004 was: I wanted to be different!

I did not want to be one of those fitness chicks. I did not want to be one of the yoga chicks. I certainly never wanted to be a runner, a swimmer or a marathon chick. I am a Tai Chi chick.

I LOVE that face when I tell someone that I do Taijiquan. I LOVE that big question mark “what IS Taijiquan?”.

Doing something that other people don’t even know how to spell it – I think that is really cool!

That may sound snobbish and arrogant. But it’s not important how that sounds to others. I am a rebel. I care how it sounds to ME. Plus I think that everyone should do whatever is best for them. If marathon is your thing, go for it!

Now back to my current struggle: I started Taijiquan and Qi Gong in 2004. I had my ups and downs. I did not practice for large parts of this and last year. I want to get back into my daily routine.

How can the “strategy of being different” help me with that?

Let’s start with what’s normal. It’s normal to go to classes once a week. I guess most people practice 15-30 minutes multiple times a week at home. It’s normal to struggle with practicing daily. Most people have a practice routine. It’s romanticized to practice outdoors. It’s normal to wear comfortable clothes or silk pajamas.

Now I don’t want normal. I want different.

Let’s apply the “strategy of being different”:

Classes: what I really would love to have is a private teacher. Someone who comes to my home. I know that sounds expensive, but comparing prices having someone come once a month is almost the same € as going to a group class once a week. I will try to find a teacher willing to do that.

15-30 minutes multiple times a week at home: Hm. I don’t really want to be different to that. I just want to get there fast. Usually, it is adviced to start with 2 minutes/day. And then increase over time. I will start with 30 minutes straight away. Same same but different.

Practice routine: no limits. I’ll just do whatever I feel I want to do. I include reading Taijiquan books, Qi Gong books and TCM books into my routine. And massages (what’s more relaxing than a massage? It definitely helps with Qi flow!). All immersion in anything related to Taijiquan, Qi Gong, TCM and meditation for 30 minutes counts.

Practice outside: I tried it. I hate it. I am a city gal. All the birds and insects freak me out. I decide: I practice indoors only.

Clothes: did you know I only wear dresses? The only trousers I own are my Taiji trousers. Do I like them? Hm, I like the idea of a uniform. It’s like a ritual to put it on and practice. I think it helps to get into the flow. I will find my uniform.

Ok, now I just got my own twist on all the things people normally do. I know it sounds almost childish to think this way. I write this down to encourage YOU to find your own way, too.

And no matter how strange my approach is. In the end all that counts is:

will I practice?

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