A Perfectly Imperfect Approach To 40 Days

Most of the Baptiste family seems to be either beginning, middle-ing, or ending a 40 Day to Personal Revolution program within their individual communities around the world. I’ve completed about five revolutions in seven years. They’ve all looked differently, of course, depending on my life at the time. I’ve done them with others at my local studio and I’ve done them with people online. I’ve gone solo. I’ve even led them.

And I’ve dreaded every single one.

As I embark on another 40-day program with a brand new community, I find myself resisting this one, too. When I did some digging, I realized this “ugh” feeling was actually guilt. Preemptive shame. I saw that I’m already beating myself up for failing at a program that hasn’t even begun yet.

Cue the laughing-til-i’m-crying emoji.

The guilt was coming from a harsh, black-and-white, all-or-nothing mentality. I was either going to do the program perfectly or not at all. Once I identified and acknowledged guilt, I felt lighter. And once I realized I was setting incredibly high, rigid expectations of myself for what I consider “successful,” I realized I could also take those expectations off.

Baron doesn’t say in his book, “We’re going for perfect, guys.” (In fact, he’s coming out with a book actively asking us NOT to be perfect). Once I gave myself permission to be as I am, the program opened up to me as one with huge possibilities. I could now be on a journey of true discovery, rather than one to get “right.”

Wherever you are in your program, join me in a pre-Revolution revolution, through these three new steps to approaching 40 Days:

  1. Put your butt on the line, with compassion. Commit to doing yoga six days every week, meditate every day, make dietary changes, ask the tough questions, without being hard on yourself. If you set harsh parameters through what you “should” do and what’s “right,” you’ll quit as soon as you mess up or as soon as you’re uncomfortable. The more you bring yourself to your edge and allow yourself to be as you are, the more powerful your program will be.
  2. The program looks exactly the way it’s supposed to look. A revolution is radical, and anything radical means there are going to be hiccups and setbacks. We’ll resort to what we know when circumstances get harder. We could see difficulty as failure, or as part of the process. Enter your 40 Days with a mindset of, “Of course I’m going to fail. I’m doing it anyway.” A lot more is possible when you come from trust than fear. Allow your program to unfold (and don’t forget #1).
  3. The timing is never perfect and it is always right. If I waited until my calendar was “just right” for a 40 Day program, I would never do one. We have full lives; there are always going to be other commitments. 40 Days works regardless of how our lives (and we) are. Say “yes,” not just at the start of the program, but throughout it as well. Say “yes” not just to the program, but to your life.

Jessica Kenny is a Director of Teachers at Baptiste Yoga San Francisco . She is also a freelance writer, ginger, and amateur sandwich eater.