You Want Change? Then Cozy Up to Discipline

DSC_0819-125-2Though the question may now be, “can women have it all?”, in my mind, it’s just another reiteration of the question of balance. We talked a lot about the idea of balance in my holistic health program, this notion of having a pie figure and slicing it into six pieces and giving your health, relationships/family, work, spirit, body, and mind equal footing in your life.

Though we drank the kool-aid in the beginning, we summarily debunked it in the end. Life will never be balanced.

So it might come as a surprise that this post is going to focus completely on the idea of balance, and why to strive for it in your life. The caveat here is that you step in with the knowledge that you will never attain true balance. But that shouldn’t stop you from working towards it, because the discipline you put in to what you want will inextricably provide you with the freedom to achieve it.

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In January of this year, after what is most easily referred to as my ‘liver attack’ – for 72 hours, I had extreme pain in my upper right side with any sudden movement and a constant dull pain even if I was sitting still – I decided to commit to a year hiatus from alcohol. As you may imagine, for someone that has enjoyed wine and cocktails on weekends and special nights out pretty much since the end of high school, this was a big leap. There has been both more ease, and more moments of frightening desire, since I made this decision than I ever would have expected.

I’ve also heard a lot of, “well, you can have a drink at any point if you want to. You just made that commitment to yourself.” Well, sure. But to see any real change in life, you have to follow through on commitments. You can’t bemoan where your life is if you aren’t doing something to change it. And commitment isn’t about the easy times, where I don’t feel like drinking; it’s there for the tough times, when all I want to do is enjoy a cocktail with my friends after a day of multiple curve balls.

How does this weave in with the idea of balance? Well, there were more than a few things that I wanted to change in my life before I made this commitment – I wanted to feel more energy and less lethargy (I was getting extremely hungover off of one drink), I wanted my business to thrive more (which takes more of my energy), I wanted a deeper spiritual connection (and alcohol gets in the way of that), and I wanted to face some things that had hung out on the side for a while: my social anxiety, more mood swings than I enjoyed having, spending too much money I didn’t have on alcohol at restaurants. Plus, having your liver in pain for three days straight is pretty damn scary.

So sometimes balance looks like this: you cut back, or remove something from your life, in order to let other areas of it thrive. It is not always easy to cut back or remove those things; in fact, it’s often things you love to death or have a long-standing relationship with that need to be removed (even as I wrote ‘love to death’, I realized how it is those things that we love the most that can lead us down the darkest path).

If you start to truthfully look at your life, you realize that there is no having it all; there is always give and take. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a lovely romance while working on your career, but it does mean that you have to reign yourself in on the amount of time you spend with your partner if you are trying to build your business. Here’s some other examples of what this kind of balance looks like:

If you want to lose weight, you have to change the way you eat and drink.

      I’m all about loving the body you’re in. But plenty of my students still tell me they want to lose weight. I teach how important it is to hold yourself in the most positive light along the way, but the hard truth of the matter is, if you want to lose weight, you have to change the way you eat and drink. No, that doesn’t mean starving yourself, or cutting out ‘all the foods’. But that does mean you have to have some discipline around sugar, boxed foods, eating out, and alcohol.

What you consume is much more important to weight loss

      than the amount you exercise. This is far from simplistic and is not about calories in calories out; your body might actually need more calories than you are currently consuming. You might just need smaller portions, or you might be eating the completely wrong foods for your body. Each person is truly individual, and needs to try a couple of dietary approaches on for size before they determine what makes them FEEL best (satisfied, better digestion, more energy).

I love the Health At Every Size approach, and at the same time, we live in a world where nutritionally-deficient food is at our fingertips 24/7. And current imbalances in your body can cause cravings for the foods that treat your body the worst. Sometimes, you have to put in a little discipline to make food changes, but if it’s the right approach for you, cravings will lessen and sometimes fully diminish over time.

If you want something bigger and more fulfilling, you have to have some discipline around releasing people and getting comfortable with being alone.

    If you want true love to show up in your life, you have to cut the “not quite rights” out of your life. I deeply understand that we all want someone to lean on, to be comforted by, to cuddle with. But keeping guys or gals in our life that aren’t the one for us, that we are hanging out with until something better comes along, gets in the way of the right one showing up. If you are fine with settling for what is, that’s great; if you want something bigger and more fulfilling, you have to have some discipline around releasing people and getting comfortable with being alone.

If you want profound real life relationships, you have to reel in technological relationships.

    You feel like you are staying connected and balancing your friends, partner, and work all at the same time, but when you are on the phone in any capacity while you are at lunch, dinner, coffee, or drinks with another person, you are robbing true connection from happening. Even lulls in conversation and moments of boredom are part of the real human experience that creates grooves of honesty and understanding. Filling them up – or worse yet, looking at your phone when someone is bearing their heart to you and you saying, “hold on, I just gotta reply to this text really quick” – only reinforces the shallowness that is more and more prevalent in the world today. I have done this unconsciously, too, only realizing later how frustrating it is to all involved. If you want profound real life relationships, you have to reel in technology time.

Balance is about pulling back on some things, so you can move forward on other things. It comes down to what you want to see in your life, so it’s important to get a clear vision of what you want your life to look like. Then, you gotta stay disciplined with the steps you’ve recognized you need to take, which provides the freedom to achieve what you set out to do.

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