Prior to a few months ago, I never would have thought that an activity like yoga could help me to make important life changes. Yet just a few months ago, I began turning to yoga for not just a workout, – but as a way to minimize one of the more stressful times during my doctorate degree (preparing for my comprehensive exams!).
While yoga was in no way new to me, I suddenly felt that I was ready for a regular yoga routine, which turned out to be about three yoga sessions per week. In fact, this new routine was not difficult to commit to because after just a few yoga sessions I began to crave my yoga practice. I began to experience several benefits right away. First, I noticed that my internal reactions to stress, while quite normal in intensity, diminished vastly. It was like a loosening of a grip, or a process of being able to let go of any worries, trepidations, or over-attachments to my thoughts. It was not that I suddenly took my work less seriously, but I just lost the hasty reaction of allowing my mind to dig deeper into any negative thoughts.
A second basic benefit was that yoga presented me with a tangible time and place to go to when I was feeling crabby about my work or when I felt that sense of numbing boredom that would sometimes arise from working too much, on too many things. Doing a yoga practice allowed me to turn inward, a process that for me, doesn’t happen in any of my other vigorous workouts. If this turning inward process does occur, it is to a much smaller extent. Rather than being focused on my external world, regular yoga enabled me to withdraw, detach, and to focus on a calming place within that brought me a sense of equanimity. Some people had suggested to me that my “benefits” were due to exercise I was already doing at the time. However, I have spent a lifetime being a gym junkie, regular jogger and swimmer. I was already reaping the benefits of good str ess management from doing regular workouts of jogging, biking, and fitness classes 4-5 times a week. My new yoga routine however, presented me with an entirely new set of psychological benefits in addition to my regular fitness routines.
A third way yoga has been helpful to me is that it enabled me to become more intentional. My lifelong intention has always been to exercise first thing in the morning. Prior to my regular yoga practices, for the past several years, I’d intend on doing morning or early morning workouts, but either felt guilty for putting them before my work, or I would simply not have the motivation or energy upon waking to get up and exercise, first thing. Thus, I would usually exercise late afternoon or evening. The strange thing about the yoga was that suddenly, I was able to rise in the mornings, and somehow have the energy, or intentionality to follow through with exercising before my workday. While this might sound like a minor or trivial issue, it was a very pleasant surprise and addition to my lifestyle.
A fourth benefit I experienced was a delightful shock. For many years I would talk about my desire to quit my addiction to coffee. I love coffee! However, I noticed over the years, tiny and subtle ways that I was becoming sensitive to my one, and sometimes two cups of daily coffee. I even read an entire book on the topic several years ago, but I think at some level I didn’t believe I could actually quit, or I believed that it would be too hard. Then, over the course of a few mornings, after my favourite cup of homemade coffee, I noticed that my head would hurt, I would become very fatigued, and feel unwell. After a few days of this new awareness, one morning I spontaneously told myself that I was done with coffee. I was miraculously detached and withdrawn from my usual love affair with coffee. I was flabbergasted at how easy it was to suddenly not need, or want, my usual cup of coffee. It felt a bit like magic, but I’m telling you, this was no joke! I attribute it to my yoga practice and the corresponding self-awareness, intentionality and energy that I gained from the practice. More than ever I became very in tune with the negative effects that coffee was having on me.
These are just a few of the ways in which yoga has helped me to achieve my goals and to make important life changes. The list of benefits is growing and soon I hope to share even more about my journey with yoga! I’m interested in hearing more about your own experiences with yoga and how it’s helped you to make changes in your life! Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How is one supposed to get ready to set their New Year’s goals? Why must one get ready? First of all, we all know from experience that achieving our New Year’s goals and resolutions can be very challenging. Read here to learn more about why New Year’s goals and resolutions are difficult to achieve.
But, before you begin setting your goals and intentions for the New Year, you might really benefit by first taking stock of what you have achieved this year. What accomplishments are you proud of? What needs recognition? Have you acknowledged all the smaller efforts and steps forward that you have taken? If you haven’t taken this step you will benefit from completing a personal improvement review.
Completing a personal improvement review is a rewarding way to gain closure on 2011 and it is an excellent way to help increase your confidence for the New Year. It is also a symbolic way of acknowledging that your accomplishments are important because you are actively investing in yourself and taking the time to grow and develop.
Before you start your New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, be sure to follow my goal setting program which includes seven steps that will drastically increase your chances of not only setting New Year’s goals but also ensuring that you actually follow through with your goals.
Complete the online goal setting program for 2012!
Step 1: Explore what goals and intentions are the most meaningful to you at this point in time. What you wanted to achieve or create last year might not be as important to you this year. Don’t skip this step of brainstroming your goals.
If you haven’t already started an evolving achievement binder and learned how to manage your evolving acheivements binder you’ll want to read further on this because it’s an excellent way to organize your goals for any time of the year.
Step 2: Once you’ve brainstormed your goals take the necessary time to prioritize which goals are the most important and aligned with your current values.
Step 3: Writing your goals down formally and placing them somewhere you can be reminded of them every is important. This will help to keep you focused.
Step 4: Get clear on the benefits that you will reap as a result of achieving these goals. How will your life be better off as a result of moving closer to this accomplishment?
Step 5: Increase your negative motivation and gain clarity on the negative consequencs that you will experience if you don’t work towards achieving your goals.
Step 6: Identify what your limiting beliefs are so that you change them into more constructive ways of thinking.
Step 7: Gain clarity on what behaviours and habits are holding you back so that you can find alternative behaviours that will help propel you into further action with your goals.
Are you looking to increase your overall health motivation? A big part of health motivation involves having a good variety of foods in your diet that you really enjoy. If you’re looking for how to be creative with your diet and the foods you eat, you’ll really enjoy Julie’s website – Peanut Butter Fingers
You’ll be inspired by her frequent blog posts that include many great pictures of everything that she eats as well. She is a walking example of how a women stays on top of all her life goals! You’ll see! Visit Peanut Butter Fingers
Cheers! I’d love to hear about your favourite health motivation websites as well!
Have you captured all your goals, dreams and ideas for your future on paper? Are they organized in a meaningful way to you? If you haven’t heard of this idea, you’ll want to read my blog post on the Evolving Achievements Binder. Hopefully your many goals have been captured on paper, and you’ve been inspired to take further action.
After you’ve put together your Evolving Achievements Binder, you’ll still need to manage it. There are a few good reasons why you should regularly review, dust off, clean, and re-organize your evolving achievements binder (aside from the fact that it’s fun to do!).
When I was reviewing my binder just the other day, I came across my health and fitness section, and noticed that it had literally exploded in size. I had inserted so many different resources, and pictures of all the new weight lifting exercises that I had been doing at the gym. I actually ended up taking out the majority of that section, and I started a whole new resource binder for my health and fitness. Now, my binder is much more organized again. I can easily go through and read what my future goals are with respect to my health and wellness, without getting distracted. I also realized, that I’ve probably accumulated more than enough information to write a small e-book on this topic! Perhaps I’ll have to start another blog just on that topic alone.
When I was reviewing all my goals, it was interesting because I noticed myself saying out aloud, “Oh I’ve already done that”, and “I just started doing that!”. Unless I reviewed my goals, I wouldn’t have realized all that I had accomplished. Also, I had never made those goals my key priority, and had never consciously set aside time to work on those goals. I think that demonstrates the power of simply writing goals down. Somehow, the act of writing down our goals must communicate with our subconscious mind, and as a result we automatically begin taking action, and attracting those people and resources into our lives to make things happen.
I also realized the importance of translating all our goals into habits. Daily, twice a week, weekly or even biweekly habits. If you can’t make something a habit, then rarely would those goals ever turn into reality. The areas where I felt I was having the most progress, e.g., career and fitness goals, were the areas where I had done significant planning around how to turn some of my action steps into habits. For instance, I set the goal of spending two times per week writing in my book, and in doing so, I almost doubled the length of it.
Each time you read about your dreams, you’ll notice that you will read with a new sense of clarity, because your ideas have had more time to crystallize. Or, you might have had more time to think about developing actual plans to take further actions steps.
I’ve also discovered a few little ‘goals’ and ideas that aren’t even important to me at all. At first, when I jotted them down, they seemed like good ideas, but in retrospect I’ve learned that they are meaningless. So you’ll also benefit as you discover your authentic self, and more of your values. Likewise, I also read over a few goal categories that made me feel really scattered and overwhelmed. Clearly, those goals need further development. So, I’ve planned a time to go back and prioritize or rank all of those goals. Over time our big ideas evolve into something more serious. What we value will come into the forefront of our mind, and that which isn’t so important to us, will fade out a bit.
Finally, regularly reviewing your Evolving Achievements Binder will constantly remind you of what is most important, and it will help you stay on track. Just think about the people that don’t write their goals down at all. If you seriously review your goals each month, you are going to speed up the entire learning process around who you are, what you want to achieve, and how you’re going to do it. More importantly, you’re going to be unstoppable because you’ll constantly find yourself in action!
“Invest in myself? Are you kidding me? I have no time!” I know I’ve said this many times over and over to myself. Everyone is busy taking care of multiple responsibilities, all at once. Sometimes it feels like we are running on a wheel or treadmill of life, constantly going, with no time to invest in ourselves.
And now, here I am telling you that you should invest in yourself. I had an interesting, little epiphany the other day, when I was feeling frustrated about the lack of time that I had, and how I had used that as an excuse to continue writing my new book, Evolving Achievements.
Then, what popped into my head, was the 10% rule on investments. The golden rule is to always pay yourself first. Pay yourself first, pay yourself first….the message never grows old. And the rule works. Almost everyone is able to save some amount of their pay cheque, even if only a few bucks. So, I thought, could we not apply this rule to our personal goals, even if we are really busy women?
I don’t think we really have a choice. I once read in one of Bob Proctor’s books, that time is never the real barrier behind achieving our goals. The real issue is our failure to prioritize our time effectively.
So, how can we all use our time more effectively? A mentor recently reminded me that the most successful people became that way because they learned to break down their large goals into small tasks that could be done on a daily or weekly basis, in such a way that those tasks never interfered with the rest of their life.
I can remember several years ago, I was in Edmonton at one of Dan Poynter’s book publishing seminars. There was a lady in her early 40’s who was so determined to complete her book that she woke up at 4am every morning before work, and wrote until 5:30am. Then, she went to the gym to exercise before heading off to work. I remember asking her why she didn’t pursue her workouts in the evening (assuming 4am was too early), and she said that early in the morning was the only ‘quiet’ time where she could fully concentrate. How’s that for self-discipline, and more importantly, finding a habit
So, how will you find time in your schedule to work on the things that are most important to you? Will it be early in the morning? Do you have time between running errands, or while waiting to meet a friend or colleague? What could you do on your lunch break? One thing that has worked wonders for me, is simply making to-do lists all the time, and thinking or planning ahead about what I will do in my next block of time, whenever that might be. A lot of time gets wasted simply thinking about what to do next.
Another realization that I continually experience over and over again, is how it is a necessity to invest in yourself first. I can remember one weekend, having a major work assignment to prepare for, having two social obligations to attend, an entire house to clean, and a few appointments that I couldn’t miss. I was feeling a bit stressed out, and then I reminded myself about the importance of taking care of myself. So, each morning, I was up an hour earlier to workout, and then, I came home and gave myself time to write – something that gives me absolute joy, and fills up my ‘buckets’. That joy, that energy and vitality carried itself all the way through to all the other tasks that I needed to finish that weekend.
The point then, is to think of investing in yourself, as just that, – an investment. Don’t look at the achievement of your personal goals and habits as a chore, because those activities are what fill you up with expansive, positive energy, and drive you to maintain an excellent attitude and vigour in everything that you do.
Here’s an excellent exercise that I’d suggest. Pull out a sheet of loose leaf paper. Make a list of all the small time blocks that could possibly be used to work on some of your important goals. Identify some times when you could truly get yourself into the habit of working on the pursuits that are most meaningful to you. This will ensure that your achievements continue to evolve as opposed to desolve.
Cheers to your success! that works.