“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.
2018 is coming to a close and many of you are building your to do/ to improve lists for 2019. Studies show these long lists of resolutions have an 80% failure rate by mid-February. Never mind who makes it to March or June. So why keep banging your head against the same resolution road bump? Skip all the mess and heartbreak with one important undertaking.
Commit to building your resilience in 2019.
Work on nothing else.
When you develop this Master quality, you won’t need to work on your big self-improvement list. This will cover it all.
What does it mean to be resilient?
Being resilient means being able to bounce back from any set back quickly and effectively. It’s the number one characteristic you need to kick those “bad habits” long term.
How do I become more resilient?
- Honor your process. Resist the urge to compare your knowledge or progress with anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you keep moving forward with persistence. Assess what’s working and refining what’s not. Know that not everyone takes the same road to learn a new skill and work on being at peace with your own unique way of processing.
- Face your fears. Instead of hiding from and avoiding fears this year, make the commitment to facing them dead on. The more you can show up to uncomfortable situations with an open heart and mind, honesty and courage, the more resilient you will become. You will experience first hand that you can bounce back from mistakes stronger than ever.
- Dump negative self-talk. Nip out this nasty habit now by noticing the harmful things you say to yourself and replacing them with a positive mantra. There is absolutely no proof that self-criticism will make you perform any better in the future, so just don’t do it. If you feel resistance against a positive affirmation, change it to something you can believe in fully. For instance, if saying to yourself, “I am smart” leaves you thinking, “No, I’m not” replace it with “I am growing smarter every day”.
- Change the narrative. Overall we’ve become way too sensitive and protected. This is preventing us from taking feedback. Flip the notion that negative feedback means you are a bad person. Your value is not in how you perform. Once you realize that, you will be able to take the feedback and use it to learn and grow without taking it as a personal attack on you as a person.
- Practice self-compassion. Remember to treat your sweet self the way you’d treat a dear friend or relative. Resilience isn’t built by powering through, but by having more understanding and compassion toward self. The more quickly and tenderly you can forgive your errors the more powerfully you can move forward making better and better choices.
- Live to learn. Treat everything you do in life as an experiment. Keep an open mind. Look to learn and improve rather than to be perfect and right. Once you dump perfectionism you’ll be free to try new approaches. This actually leads to better results. The cautiousness of perfectionism is a dark trap that is holding you back from greater success than you currently know.
- Remember your comebacks. When you’re feeling beat down and having a hard time with resilience, this is practice to lean on. Think back to another time you were feeling low about yourself and remember that you were able to turn it around. Let the energy, memory, and lessons of that comeback fuel your next one!
Now it’s your turn! Comment here and let me know which of these resilience building strategies you’ll be using in 2019 or share your own! I’m going to go deeper into these concepts and 5 other key tactics
for keeping your resolutions in a FREE webinar February 1st. I’ll also be answering any burning questions at that event. Grab your copy of My Bliss Book
for your access CODE
The absolute terror of the first time I walked into an Ashtanga Yoga Mysore class is something I will never forget. The room was silent and steamy and the teacher did little more than grunt and nod to acknowledge my existence. The students looked like professional athletes carrying themselves like some hybrid contortionists-ballerinas through each graceful move. I felt short and stout in comparison and without the right clothes or yoga gear to join this sacred club.
But I was already in the room.
I had two choices and they both seemed equally horrifying. I could turn around and leave which would definitely not go unnoticed, or I could stay and fumble my way through my poses in the room to which I certainly didn’t belong. As I made the decision to stay an incredible courage came over me. I would do this thing, for myself and nobody else, the best I could, despite my inner assurance that the whole room would be laughing at me.
I put down my mat and I took my first Ujjayi breath.
Fifteen years later I am now the proud owner of my own yoga studio, Land Yoga, Executive Director of Three and a Half Acres Yoga nonprofit, co-producer of SOULFest NYC, and author of My Bliss Book as well as several published articles. I speak all over the world about yoga, yoga service, and goal achievement, including presenting for companies such as Halstead, Estée Lauder, the JCC and more.
How did I make the leap from sheer terror and utter embarrassment to becoming a respected leader in my field?
Here are the five simple techniques I used to turn my embarrassment into a success story:
- Remember that EVERYONE is in their own heads about how they are being perceived. They are way too involved in sorting out their own insecurities to be judging YOU! We think we are much more important to others than we are and that is because we are each the lead character in our own story. Once you remember that each person is the lead in her own personal story, you will realize how little others are thinking about your performance and how much they are focused on their own.
- Focus intensely on your task. When you are truly, 100% focused on what you are doing, you have no time to be worrying about what anyone else is thinking. That is wasted energy that could be channeled into your project. How can you land a handstand, master a closing argument or complete any challenging act if a part of you is thinking of something else? You can’t. Focus on your job and your job only and you won’t only block the others out, you’ll be better at what you do!
- Play out the worst case scenario. When all else fails to allow yourself to go there. See yourself making the most embarrassing mistake possible and consider the worst possible outcome. If it’s a yoga class, perhaps your worst fear is you slip on your mat falling over on someone. What would happen then? Do you really think they would kick you out of class? Stop speaking to you? Do you confidently believe that no one has ever made this mistake before? Think it through and ask yourself if it is really worth not taking a shot at something you want to learn if the worst thing happens.
- Consider the people whose judgments are holding you in your tracks. Are they really worth going into your shell for? If those around you fault you and treat you harshly when you try something new and make a mistake, are they, in fact, the people whose opinions you really should be trusting? If those you trust are that harsh with their response to failure, they are not the right people to be looking to. Leaders know that failing is a critical part of discovery and advancement and they encourage calculated risk-taking around them. How do you respond to people around you taking a chance and trying something outside their comfort zone? I hope with encouragement and praise. Surround yourself with people who will do the same for you.
- Finally, the best way to get good at risk-taking is to make it a habit. Get in the pattern of taking chances and embarrassing yourself with abandon. Learn to laugh at yourself, dust off the dirt, evaluate and get right back up each time you make a mistake. The more you get used to taking chances, the easier it is to put yourself out there the next time and time after that. One of those times the chance you take is going to pay off into an embarrassingly big WIN.
Here’s your BONUS tweetable final motivator inspired by the excellent book Grit:
Success comes from stick-to-itiveness, not from innate talent.
Use that one any time you’re tempted to give up!
So now it’s time for you to comment and commit. Which one of these methods will you be using to get yourself out of holding back? Do you have other tricks? Share with me in the comments and share the blog with someone you know it could help!
Have you ever thought to yourself that you’ve invested too much to pull out of the life you’ve created, even though something is telling you it’s not your truest calling? Maybe you dare not ask, dare not consider changing direction at this point in the game. Most of us feel this way, especially because so many supporters become invested in our story and have a stake in the life we have lived up until now. I want you to know it is NEVER too late to change direction especially if it means following your highest calling. That is why I decided to share my story with you today.
I went to Boston University for acting. My parents struggled to pay costly tuition and grudgingly supported my college years getting a major in a subject they did not think worthy of such time, fees, and support. Everyone knew me as the actress since I was six years old. I went to a weekend theater school and did all the school plays straight through high school. I enjoyed being on stage but I had secret reservations I was somehow a sham. At 17 I had too much ego to look into those reservations. My focus was much more on proving naysayers wrong. So I went to University and pursued acting.
Two things happened along the way that would change my course forever. One was my deepening discovery of yoga and encounter with Ashtanga Yoga. The other was the asking of one of my teachers this simple question: Do you believe you can change the world through theater? To be clear, I do think the impact of performing arts is world-changing, but as I sat with that question, I couldn’t say that I thought I could change the world through acting. I did want to change the world for the better and I had found a practice that I had faith I could do it through. That practice was and remains yoga.
I didn’t just drop acting in one day. It took me a while to investigate the yoga thing and prepare myself to make the transition to yet another unconventional life path. I knew I’d be disappointing a lot of people, both by destroying their image of what they thought was me and by asking them to get behind another atypical career choice. I had to be certain before I could share and change the way others skepticism might rock me.
When I found I was certain and I started letting them know. In the transition time, I spoke less about acting, slipped in some doubts and shared bits about my new found love of yoga, preparing the way for both myself and my community for my eventual coming out as a full-time yoga teacher. I started changing my story.
I was in my late 20’s when this all went down, which some will say is plenty early in life to make a change, but I will argue ANY age is early enough to throw it all away: 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond, if the all is not your true calling. I was as known and wrapped up in the identity of “actress” as anyone in any long-time career and made the same steps anyone will have to, to remove myself from the web of that identity. And it could happen again.
Even now, my role as yoga teacher though still very much present is being tested by my work as a coach, writer, and company director. Which identity will win out is yet to be seen. Maybe I’ll be able to thrive with some blend of them all. Maybe not. What I do know for sure is that I won’t be afraid to walk away from a role which isn’t mine to fill anymore. I have the memory of my first experience leaving acting as a guide and I hope my sharing that memory helps you to identify when it’s time for you to change and gives you the courage to go for it.
Not sure if it’s time to throw it all away to step into the next and better? Below are some questions to ask yourself which will help you find your clarity.
- Are you in a field you’ve outgrown or never truly fit?
- Are you fulfilling someone else’s dream?
- Is there another path calling?
- Has there always been a whisper you’ve been too scared to follow?
- What you would do if you could do the thing which is truly you?
It is never too late to reinvent yourself and do so successfully. Do take the time to ask yourself this self-probing follow up questions as well.
- Am I thinking of throwing my current life away because of fear I can’t succeed?
- Do I often quit when things are tough and jump around from identity to identity?
- Is my reinvention something I’ve wanted consistently for a long time?
- What would success look like and what are the resources I have to get there?
Comment below if you’ve been through or are thinking of going through a major transformation and you use your story to help others. Then take a look at my recent Train Your Brain for Success talk at Women Who Wow where I share my story and offer some other tricks for stepping into a new and better you.