Want to pick up a cool hobby? Or try out a new fitness craze? Or maybe you’d like to change up your routine with something new…like belly dance!
Whatever it is, you may feel like you simply don’t have the time for it. And who can blame you! When it comes to finding time to do things outside of our daily routine, it’s usually easier said than done.
Of course, when we first start doing something new, we’re super excited and pumped for it. It’s only when we realize that we have to do it daily that our motivations wane: We fall into an endless cycle of beating ourselves up or feeling guilty about not accomplishing what we set out to do.
If you can relate to this, you’re not alone! It’s a common experience and fortunately, there are some simple things we can do to get back on track. While I specifically focus on adding belly dancing to your daily routine, you can use these techniques for any type of new challenge. By shifting your mindset and approach, you’ll make things much easier on yourself, and get the results you’re looking for. And if you need even more motivation, read my blog post, “7 Surprising Benefits of Belly Dance”.
Here are 5 powerful strategies for incorporating belly dance into your daily routine.
#1: Stop “All or Nothing” Thinking
When we first try out something new, it’s very common to get into “all or nothing” thinking, without realizing that we’re even doing it.
It usually sounds like this: “If I don’t do a 30-minute belly dancing session at least 3 times a week then why bother doing it at all?” or “If I cancel my belly dance class today, I might as well give up on doing it altogether!” This kind of perfectionist thinking can be self-sabotaging. Perfection is a totally unrealistic and unachievable goal, since, after all, we’re only human.
There’s an excellent book by Darren Hardy called The Compound Effect, and I highly recommend checking it out. The basic principle of this book is that small and consistent actions every day can help you achieve incredible results over a period of time. The key here is consistency, that’s the biggest contributor to your progress. And the best way to remain consistent is to A: not put too much pressure on yourself and B: realize that even small actions are going to make a huge difference after a while.
Now when it comes to belly dance, try sprinkling your practice into spare moments throughout the day, while also doing your regular belly dance sessions. I found that I became really good at shimmying by practicing while waiting for my water to boil, pumping gas, and walking my dog. Every little movement counts, and little shimmies can add up to big positive changes!
#2: Make “N.E.T” Time Work For You
There’s a Tony Robbins video where he talks about this powerful concept called N.E.T or No Extra Time. The idea is that you can be more productive doing multiple things at once, as long as doing one one of these things doesn’t require your focus. Usually when we multitask, it can be detrimental to both activities because they each require our attention.
N.E.T helps you multitask seamlessly and organically because you’re able to leverage your time more efficiently. An example of leveraging N.E.T. time is when I talked about shimmying while waiting for your water to boil. The water boiling doesn’t require your focus and attention and it’s a perfect time to take advantage of doing another important task.
Some other good examples: brushing your teeth while belly dancing or stirring your pasta while practicing your hip movements. Just be sure you don’t burn your dinner!
#3: Use Transitional Times in Your Day
When I talk about transitional times, I don’t mean major life events – like your 40th birthday! Transitional times are those moments in your routine when you’re moving from one main activity to another. Getting out of bed to start the day or logging off work at the end of the day are examples of transitional times.
Incorporating belly dance into these transitional moments can create a fun mini ritual while helping you make the best use of your time. It’s a perfect way to close out and release one chapter of your day and move into the next one with a fresh, hip-shaking start.
You’ll be surprised to learn that just a minute or two of belly dancing during these transitional times can add up. More importantly, they’ll add some joy to your routine and energize you after you’ve spent all day replying to emails.
#4: Make Belly Dance A Group Activity
It only takes 2 to start a party, so grab a friend and get swaying! Belly dance may be a solo activity but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
At its roots, belly dance is a communal dance focused on celebration. This can be especially fun if you have kids since little ones get a kick out of belly dancing. As adults, we sometimes bring a serious energy to learning something new. Matching the uninhibited energy of your toddlers and teens can be a freeing experience. Who knows, you may even be able to teach them something new!
And speaking of teaching, it’s a great way for you to solidify and practice what you’ve learned. It also gives you a good idea of your progress, showing you what you can improve on.
Belly dance is a celebration of life and teaches you to be grateful for your body and all it can do. So why not share that amazing lesson with others?
#5: Belly Dance When You’re Stressed
Before you reach for a cookie or bag of chips, try belly dancing to calm your nerves instead. Not only will it save your waistline, but it’s a healthier, more powerful way to relieve stress.
In Chinese medicine, it’s believed that stress stems from (and results in) stagnation of energy in the body. While emotional eating serves as a temporary band-aid, belly dance on the other hand can create a healthy release of that pent-up energy.
There are incredible benefits to belly dancing including the release of powerful chemicals like serotonin and endorphins, that’ll get your blood flowing and improve your circulation. I’ve always felt that shimmies literally shake the stress out of my body.
When you get moving, your energy gets moving and you’ll feel better both physically and emotionally. So, search for your happy song, hit play, and dance it up for a couple of minutes. You’ll definitely feel refreshed and recharged once the session is over!
Use these techniques to make belly dancing a fun new addition to your daily routine. Remember: small, consistent steps can help you achieve big results. All you have to do is be patient, make good use of your time, and give your body a well-practiced shake or two!
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