May 27, 2022

Haar Din: The Impact of Consistency

Runner's feet in a grassy park

All of the parts of our lives – and the lessons we learn from them – are so interwoven.

My name is Pornima Jaju, and I’m a project manager, or Scrum Master, at Intouch. I have a MSc degree in Computer Science. Also, I am a certified yoga teacher – which you may not expect to have much direct impact on my work. But recently, I had an experience that reminded me how much the principles of yoga truly do matter in every part of our lives.

Practicing yoga has immense emotional and physical benefits in addition to increased strength and flexibility; yoga has been found to help to treat symptoms of mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and stress.

Recently, I realized that working from home full time — and, therefore, being more sedentary — was affecting me, and affecting how well I felt I was performing, both at work, and in my life outside work. So I decided to dedicate one hour daily to exercise, no matter what. I began to visit a nearby jogging park. Post-workout, I started meditating at the same park for 15 minutes.

I felt refreshed throughout the day and was excited that I’d found a solution to my problem! I was a little worried, though, that it might be only a temporary fix. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with this routine. But then, I had an experience that changed me.

Over the course of my runs, I would overhear other people at the park greeting each other, saying what sounded like, “Hardin.” Out of curiosity, I asked an older man, “Why do you greet each other by saying ‘Hardin’? What does that mean?” He told me that “Haar din,” in Hindi, means to do something every day. It implies consistency. I also learned that he had been jogging and exercising in that park, nearly every single day, since 1992. That’s thirty years of consistency!

“Bachha, Haar din aao” (Child, come consistently), he said as we went our separate ways.

Less is more. Small steps, every day, are all it takes.

Or, as the medical editor of Yoga Journal, Dr. Timothy McCall, said in his book, Yoga as Medicine, “One of the fundamental principles of yoga: A small action done repeatedly can make an enormous difference.”

Or, if one thinks mathematically,

Doing nothing at all        VS          taking small consistent steps:

(1.00)365 = 1.00                VS           (1.01)365 = 37.78

Little consistent actions create a big difference.

I posted about this story on LinkedIn, and I shared that with the man at the park. He was delighted to know that his words were resonating with him – and indeed with people all over the world! My new exercise routine makes me better as a project manager, as a mother, and as a person, and his words inspired me to continue my commitment. In sharing this story, I’ve been told that my words have motivated others too. I’m a single mother of a five-year-old daughter, and that’s what I hope for her – I think that’s what we all hope – that we can do little things that can better ourselves and can ripple out to help to better the world.

Today, appreciate the small actions that you take with consistency, and the impact they have on your life and the lives of those around you – and know that you may be making a difference to someone that you may never even realize!

(In the United States, May is Mental Health Awareness Month: There’s no better time to remember the importance of valuing yourself and treating yourself with care!)