“I wish I had your discipline”
is something I hear so regularly it got me thinking. It’s said as if it is something I inherited from parental dna and not actually what it is, something I learned, nurtured, and refined. I want to answer, “You could” but it’s always clapped back with “I’ve tried” “I just don’t have it”. That defeatist attitude finally drove me to write this blog and lay out once and for all how you too can grow your discipline to equal or even beyond mine.
10 Simple Steps to Becoming More Disciplined Today:
- Break down each task/goal. Avoid overwhelmment by making a list of what you want to achieve and breaking down each task/goal into its smallest components. Commit to which tasks you can do in a given time period and put each one in your calendar treating them as any other important appointment. Consider that things will almost always take longer than planned and build in lots of room for set backs so when those obstacles happen they are already accounted for.
- Shut down distractions. Multi tasking is so 2010. 2019 is all about putting full focus into one thing at a time and refusing to allow any distractions in. Before you sit down to work on any item on your to do list, make sure you are ready to be fully present. Shut off ringers and close open tabs especially but not only those related to social media. Refuse to be reactionary. You do not have to respond to calls/texts/emails every minute. They will be there when you emerge from your task.
- Set a timer. One of the best ways to train discipline is to set a time frame for working on one task or project and commit to staying on task until that time is up. This may feel really uncomfortable and challenging at first but this will pass as you train yourself to stay with tasks through the urges to run. You will build a unique and powerful inner strength and discover how much you can accomplish when you refuse to dilute your focus.
- Take the questioning out of it. Decide in advance that once you create your plan of action, it can not be negotiated after. Know that there will be voices in your head suggesting otherwise and be prepared to actively ignore them. This will become easier with time as those voices tend to back down when they are not attended to. When you are very advanced at discipline you may be able to adjust your schedule/make acceptions after creating it, but in the beginning when you are building self discipline you should not allow for any alterations or rationalizations for why something can not be done.
- Do not wait for inspiration or to feel like it. It’s a dangerous myth that one has to be inspired or moved to get work done. Have a day you’re not feeling into it? Do the work anyway. That’s the pro level. Everyone thinks inspiration leads to action but few realise the greater truth that action leads to inspiration. That’s your edge.
- Re-write your why every day. In the My Bliss Book planner there is a place to do this on every page. Remembering your big picture and why you started and keeping that vision clear and present each day is going to make taking all the actions you need to take to get there so much easier.
- Think long term. Train your mind to visualize the long term payoffs of discipline. See clearly where you will be when it all comes together. Draw it. Write about it. Put it up on your wall if that helps. Make a commitment to choose this reward over and over again against immediate pleasures and gratification. Prepare for temptation by practicing seeing yourself resist temptations that have diverted you in the past. Rehearse in your mind exactly how you will respond moving forward.
- Remember that you are an adult. The train has left the station and the time to get it right is running out. Take responsibility for your actions, lack of action, mistakes, and setbacks. Refuse to blame others when you fall behind. Grab hold of your life the future you desire.
- Award good behavior. Celebrate all successes, even the small ones. Award yourself with anything you want except by giving yourself slack when it comes to discipline or by allowing bad habits. Buy yourself a treat. Congratulate yourself verbally, in a journal, to friends and family. Bask in the richly rewarding feeling of getting things done. You will call upon and remember that feeling in the future when you have doubts and it will fuel your continued growth in self discipline
- Get support. Don’t try to do it alone. Find a friend or an accountability buddy that will help you to stay on track by checking in on you each week. Choose that tough love friend who doesn’t let you get away with lying to or shorting yourself. Just telling another person your goals will provide you with that extra pressure to come through.
Do you relate to any of these tips? Tell me which ones you’ll be using in the comments below and share you have other self-discipline techniques that have helped you.
What is love?
Living in New York City the signs of love can get very confusing. In a city of driven creative workaholics whose first question is “what do you do?” evaluation of and compatibility with others tends to be transactional (even though we often don’t see it that way).
When I was looking for love I did the typical smart NYC girl thing and downloaded a stream of podcasts and blogs soaking up their find love fast advice. There were two common yet somewhat troubling recommendations across all of them:
- Find self love first.
- Make a list of what you want in a partner.
Everyone says to focus on self-love. In fact to this day when I post any advice on finding love, I inevitably get a comment about how I should be guiding people to find self love and not a partner. But why can’t you put some efforts into finding a loving partner if that’s what you want? You can!
Of course self-love is important, but we mustn’t act like it’s a switch you turn on or a thing you find (and never lose) which makes finding partner love instantaneous. Self-love is an ongoing process and contrary to popular belief, a good deal of that process can be done in the throws of a good healthy relationship.
It’s also valuable to note (in this age of social ME-dia) what self-love is not. Self-love is not selfishness, self-promotion, self-indulgence, or self-centeredness. It’s quiet and consistent and occurs side-by-side love of family, community, and cosmos.
Making a list of what we want and don’t want in a partner has some unexpected downfalls. The pros are obvious. Putting down what we want out of life is a helpful practice, but it can also be constricting and detrimental if we are even the tiniest bit confused or misled about what we should be asking for. And we always are. The problem is we feel SO clear when we write these things down. We don’t even know we are limiting ourselves unnecessarily and often asking for qualities we think we want/need, not the ones that will actually make us the most happy.
So.. how do we find love?
- Get out of your own way. Self-sabotage is perhaps the single most common reason so many of us are not in a loving partnership. We say we want love but we push away or destroy any viable opportunity. By creating unearned doubt and getting ahead of ourselves we end things before they even begin. We do this for many reasons, including fear of getting close, our addiction to our story of being alone, and our suspicion of the unknown. Combat this habit by practicing the yoga technique of staying present. Go day by day and keep showing up in gracious curiosity for yourself and for your potential partner, being with any doubts and peculiar feelings which arise. Give yourself and the person you are dating a chance before throwing it all out because of a fear of living with an attribute not on your list!
- Say no. Say no to old habits, place savers, actions and activities which are covering for or filling the space of what you desire. If you really want love you’ll need to recognize what you’ve been doing that hasn’t been working and start shifting those patterns. You’ll need to allow yourself loneliness, quietness, boredom, and sometimes uncomfortable, unfilled time. Say no to anything which numbs how you feel and those things that provide only temporary relief. Instead keep your heart open and even broken for signs of the real thing.
- Take risks. Date someone different. Go somewhere different. Expand your experiences and expectations. Question your key attribute list. Become what you desire so you don’t need someone else to be that and can allow for a partner who might be different. Stay open to new dynamics. Be less sure and more curious. Look into any idealized notions of love and partnerships and throw them all away. Get ready to be surprised.
- Stick with it. Timing is a funny thing and we are not always ready just when we think we are. That’s a good thing. The extra time with ourselves is something we can look back later on and recognize as a true gift. Just because a love match is taking longer to manifest than you expected, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just hasn’t happened yet. Recall other times when things came to you suddenly, delayed, or seemingly accidentally and take comfort in the knowledge that we are not in charge. All we can do is set the stage and be ready to accept love when it appears.
For more detailed counseling on finding and maintaining true love relationships consider private coaching where we can get into your specific blocks and patterns and help you take actionable steps in the direction of love.
I did an Instagram post on New Year urging elimination before goal setting and I wanted to share more about that. In some ways, it’s very simple. Most people, however, miss this step when trying to conjure something new in their lives. You need space before anything new can come. The first step to achieving your goals or manifesting your dreams is getting rid of something else.
Categories to consider eliminating from include:
- Thoughts / thought patterns / emotional crutches
- Physical items / Clutter
- Unnecessary activities
- Draining / Unhealthy relationships
- Old, no longer useful rituals/practices
Once you decide which category you want to start with asking yourself these questions:
- What is unnecessary in this category?
- What is bringing me down or distracting me from my deeper purpose?
- What if I chose to let go of it would make significant room in my life / open things up?
- What am I holding on to because it helped me so much in the past, not because it’s helping me now?
Pick one manageable but impactful thing to release based on your answers to these questions and write it down.
Now you are ready to do the work.
To release an unwanted element in your life:
- Identify how that element has been serving you. There is some way it has!
- Thank it for what it’s done for you.
- Recognize both the payoff you’ve been receiving for holding onto it even though it’s no longer serving and the payoff you will get for letting it go.
- Get clear on what will replace the element you are eliminating. (That vacuum will be filled by something, so choose for yourself before it’s chosen for you.)
- Make a plan for slowly replacing the element you release with the newness you are summoning.
- Expect setbacks. Greet them with compassion and understand. Make your agreements to self small and doable to reinforce your self-belief and ability to change.
Want to go more deeply into resolution and long-lasting change? Grab your copy of My Bliss Book now from my site or Amazon and enter your email for the special My Bliss Book coaching program. My Bliss Bookers will be the first to receive the link for my FREE webinar February 1st 12 pm on the 5 Simple Things You Can Do this Year to Make Your Resolutions Last.
For the first time ever, the Accessible Yoga Conference is coming to Germany. This three-day conference is designed to support yoga teachers that want to expand access to Yoga teachings for people with disabilities, chronic illness, seniors or others who may not feel comfortable in a regular yoga class. The conference takes place at the The Seehotel in Rheinsberg, a “barrier free hotel” on a lake Friday, October 19, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, October 21, 2018 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Details and registration can be found here.
Yoga teacher, and studio owner Lara Land is presenting at the conference and is here to share more about why this is such an important event.
Lara, what made you get involved in the Accessible Yoga Conference?
There are so many reasons I wanted to be involved. I’ve been on a personal mission to destroy exclusivity and elitism in yoga for over a decade, so when I discovered there was a whole organization dedicated to openness and inclusivity in yoga, I was immediately interested. I attended the Accessible Yoga Conference in 2017 New York City and was highly impressed. There were so many courses rich with information from those who have had lengthy experiences making yoga accessible to different marginalized groups. I wished I could attend each and every talk twice just to soak it all in. I later met founder Jivana when he gave a one day Accessible Yoga intensive at Omega Institute and felt even more drawn to his mission.
What will you be presenting at the Conference?
My workshop, Yoga Service; Creating Conscious Community, teaches how we as yoga teachers can open up the practice to go beyond the yoga studio and use it to form lasting bonds between humans. In the class we will discuss what it means to be in yoga service, uncover the hidden tendencies which make yoga feel unavailable to some, identify methods for shifting the dialogue and practices of yoga to include everyone, and establish a road map for creating conscious community through yoga, meditation & mindfulness. As teachers, it is necessary that we understand the objections some feel toward starting a yoga practice, and create a safe space for exploring them as we work together to create an alternative view.
Is this work you have done in your community?
Yes. In 2011, I founded Three and a Half Acres Yoga, a non-profit designed to bring yoga to marginalized populations as a tool for healing and empowerment. We partner with community organizations to add yoga to the services they provide. This means teaching in unconventional yoga spaces and using what we have, often just ourselves and some chairs, to share the benefits of yoga. Our classes are for everyone, no matter age, gender, ability, sexuality, sobriety, professional status, or living situation. We are a judgement free organization determined to share yoga with those who are open to receiving its benefits.
Sounds like a wonderful organization. Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or the conference?
I just want to say how excited I am to be presenting just outside Berlin, one of my favorite cities in the world. I hope to be teaching more and more in Germany in the coming years and I am so looking forward to meeting new friends there. I’ll be bringing some copies of my new book, My Bliss Book, a daily planner that teaches how to envision and create a life of service to self and others. I can’t wait to share this with the European community.
Too expensive. That was the main reason to keep me from going to yoga festivals for a long time. I thought, how many classes can one possibly take a day and how can it ever be worth it, spending so much money? I got the chance to answer my questions and review my doubts when I got invited to Yoga Conference Germany in Cologne. The experience reached far beyond the practice of yoga asanas. In those two days I laughed until I cried and I cried until I laughed again. I hugged strangers and became close friends with people I had known from yoga classes for a while but never really connected with. I sweat a whole ocean, I sang, I danced and slept like a baby – and overall I felt inspired, happy and in love with my life.
Yoga festivals are a special and sometimes life changing experience. I cannot wait to check out the numerous yoga festivals of North America: In summertime there is a yoga festival happening almost every weekend in the United States and Canada. These events can be pricey, yes. But they don’t have to be: Almost every festival offers selected classes and side-events for free. Most of them have spots open for volunteers that donate their time to support the festival team in exchange for attending classes for free. So, money considerations shouldn’t necessarily stand in the way.
If you are still not sure about whether a day-long yoga celebration is the right jam for you, here my top 5 reasons to at least give it a try.
Relax and Re-new: A yoga festival is an active mini-retreat
If a yoga class can be your mini-break from everyday routines of moving (or mostly not moving) and thinking (or mostly worrying), a yoga festival can be a mini-retreat and your go-to when you need quality-time for and with yourself. You might need time to unwind and relax or space to be inspired and feel alive: Yoga festivals give you both and so much more.
Whether the event is happening in a far away place or right in front of the door: As soon as your feet touch the festival grounds you are entering a completely different world. Everything here is set up to make you feel awesome! Far away from your daily routines and to-do-list(s) all you need is to exhale stress and enjoy the offerings of the program to relax and energize. Yogis are known to be a mostly positive, warm and open community wired to connection, so don’t worry to come along on your own or bring a friend if you can.
Summer 2017: Yoga Festivals in the USA
You need a time-out from daily routine and a chance to re-boot your system? You are craving new impulses for your yoga practice and inspiration for your life? You would love to meet a bunch of inspiring people and make new friends? Don’t waste a lifetime: Grab your mat and hop on an intense ride of yoga, meditation and music.
May, 12-14, 2017 in Joshua Tree, CA
May 20, 2017 in Harlem, NY
Downtown Yoga Festival
May 20-21, 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT
June 9-11, 2017 in Snowshoe, WV
June 22-25, 2017 in Bondville, VT
Nantucket Yoga Festival
July 7-9, 2017 in Nantucket, MA
Telluride Yoga Festival
July 20-23, 2017 in Telluride, CO
August 11-14, 2017 in Tidewater, OR
Floyd Yoga Jam
August 31 – September 3, 2017 in Floyd, VA
September 7-11, 2017 in Joshua Tree, CA
Learn from masters: Renowned yoga teachers share their personal practices
Yoga festivals usually invite the most renowned teachers from all over the world that have dedicated their lives to yoga. Some of them teach traditional Yoga styles like David Williams who was one of the first Western students of Ashtanga founder Pattahbi Jois in Mysore, India. Some teachers created their own yoga style like Dana Trixie Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi (Lotus Flow), Bryan Kest (Power Yoga), David Life and Sharon Gannon (Jivamukti Yoga). Some are known for their physical mastery of yoga poses like the Canadian yoga Goddess Meghan Currey. Others have specialized in the philosophy and mythology of yoga like Alanna Kaivalya.
Where else do we have the opportunity to meet and practice with so many different expert yogis on one day? It is extremely inspiring and motivating to listen to and learn from passionate teachers who live what they are teaching and teach what they are living.
Be inspired, stay inspired: Time to explore and discover new sides of YOU
Most of us in everyday life stick to our one or two favourite teachers and beloved routines without hardly ever trying something new. Yoga festivals are a great opportunity to explore new territory: Most yoga festivals offer a wide range of yoga styles and related topics. The die-hard Power Vinyasa Yogi might discover the bliss of Yin Yoga. The serious Ashtangi may fall in love with the playful Acro Yoga. One might explore mindful and fun “sister” disciplines like aerial yoga, thai yoga massage, dance, hula hoop or parcour. The other might find the time and peace to dig into meditation and breathing techniques.
As much as we need certain routines to save energy, the constant drive on auto-pilot, that many of us so easily get trapped into, can eventually make us feel chronically tired or even depressed. A week-end in the vast and colourful yoga-world is opening the door to step out of our comfort zone: Meeting new people and absorbing new ideas can inspire us to a new perspective on our practice and on our life.
Unity in Diversity: Meet your tribe and celebrate togetherness
Yoga attracts people of diverse cultural and social backgrounds. While the diversity of the community makes part of its beauty, separating concepts of our mind like age, nationality, gender, religious beliefs or political backgrounds dissolve into a sphere of acknowledgement, yet insignificance when you meet in yoga pants.
Breathing and moving together creates a sense of belonging with others around you and really brings the uniting practice of yoga to the forefront. Being present at a yoga festival allows us to celebrate that fact with other like-minded people, from all over the country or even the world, while celebrating the wonderfulness of the practice itself.
Heading to your first yoga festival? This is what you need to know.
* Best deal: Look for Early Bird Prizes OR apply to be a volunteer: This way you are supporting your favorite yoga festival and get to go to classes for free. Yay!
* First come, first serve: Reserve, if possible, or come to classes early and save your spot: Most workshops, especially those of very popular teachers, will be filled and sold out quickly
* Plan your day ahead: Prepare a schedule with favorite classes and one alternative class. That way you can quickly re-schedule if needed, and you still have enough time to go to a different location.
* Plan wisely: It is best to alternate asana classes with physically less demanding classes like meditation, massage or mantra chanting. That way you are less likely to burn out and can enjoy the practice even more.
* Food and water: Don’t forget to take breaks to eat and digest. Most yoga festivals cater with delicious vegetarian and vegan meals and desserts. Treat yourself – your body needs the nutrients and hey, this is your quality-time, remember?
* Pack list: You might need to bring your own yoga mat as not every festival offers rental mats. Also: Water bottle, towel, enough yoga wear to maybe change during the day and a cardigan or sweater for cosy savasanas, healthy snacks like fruit and nuts, flip flops for changing locations and public bathrooms, tigerbalm for sore muscles, tampons, since the next drugstore might be far, and a personal journal to note down every spontaneous insights you will probably have
* What to expect: Hundreds of happy and gleaming people in pants or shorts. It can be overwhelming at first but don’t shy away: You are one of them. Latest after the first class you will feel it.
* Don’t forget: Unless you are practicing aparigraha, Sanskrit for non-greediness or temperance, you might want to bring some extra cash and extra space in your luggage. There will be some stands with tempting yoga wear, ayurvedic oils, yoga books, malas etc…
Wild and free: Wholehearted living outside the comfort zone
It is this open and safe space of acceptance that can open doors you might not have known even existed. Suddenly you catch yourself climbing on a stranger’s body in acro yoga as if you were born to do so (most probably your are). You take the courage to try that handstand off the wall and fail in laughter. You gaze into a fellow student’s eyes in a partner meditation and don’t feel shame for tears running from your own eyes. You sing and dance your heart out at the Kirtan concert and forget that, just a minute ago, “chanting” didn’t seem to be your thing at all.
Words cannot describe sufficiently what exactly makes the seemingly impossible possible. It is a heart opening mixture of intense practice and a supporting and warm community that melts away inner limitations and, beyond fear, (self-) doubts and shame wakes a deeper truth of ourselves: We are full of potential. Our life can be ecstatic and adventurous. We are wild and free.
As teacher and student, Melanie is dedicated to the fluid and creative yoga practice of Laughing Lotus NYC. With a background in Modern and Contemporary Dance, somatic education like the Alexander Technique and Traditional Thai Massage, in her yoga classes the German native combines her love for healthy alignment with her passion to inspire a life full of expression, truth and love. Melanie wants to watch you become the most radiant and happy version of yourself.
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