Beginning With Commitment

Beginning With Commitment

There’s something about the month of January and the New Year that has us all setting goals and new intentions for our health, our careers, and our relationships. Some call it resolutions, others say it’s a lifestyle change. Call it what you will, you will need two elements to make it happen: Commitment and a beginner’s mind.

Here I am, on my yoga mat unable to even touch my toes. Again. Huffing and puffing halfway through my second sun salutation makes it hard to believe that fifteen years ago, I would do 4 hours a day of yoga at an ashram. My inner dialogue is quickly taken over by my inner itty-bitty-shitty-committee. “You’re getting too old for this. Look around you everyone here is gracefully sliding through to the next pose. It’s been ten minutes and you can barely breathe, obviously it’s time to quit. Maybe, if you weren’t two-ton Sally and a size zero like the rest of them you’d be able to actually stay in down dog and not have to collapse into child’s pose instead. This is embarrassing, you are embarrassing. Just give up already.”

Have you ever heard that critical voice in your own head?

It happens to all of us and in a variety of different situations. Cutting out sugar from your diet will make a donut literally talk to you. Choosing to get up earlier to run before work makes 5 am darker and colder than it ever was before. The self-doubt as you sit in front of your keyboard ready to write that book you’ve been meaning to write for years can immobilize your fingers and freeze your thoughts into a block of jumbled words. These are the things that stop us dead in our tracks when it comes to resolutions and lifestyle changes. So how do we mere mortals overcome that inner critic that lives inside every human being on the planet?

The beginner’s mind

It can be very humbling as a grown adult who has the rest of their “stuff” together to find themselves in the start position. You can be very successful in other areas of your life like leading a team at work, running a business, or managing a household with children and a spouse’s schedule to maintain. And suddenly there you are fumbling around without a clue.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to say to my children, “If you would just do what I suggested the first time you never would’ve gotten into this mess.” Preventing a mistake is easy when you know all the steps and have practiced them a thousand times before, but the whole point of learning (for our children and ourselves) is to actually make the mistake. Adults don’t like to make mistakes.

Part of the reason we quit on resolutions and change is that we want to get it perfect right away. We don’t want to take the time to learn and we don’t want to look stupid or clumsy while we’re learning. But if we could just embrace that innocent curiosity of a toddler exploring the world and allow ourselves the time and mistakes we can see the beautiful dance unfolding in our inability to march in step with the experts.


It’s been said by many a great motivational speaker, “Are you just interested in (fill in the blank) or are you committed?” I have to admit, I’m interested in learning to mountain climb. Me, who is afraid of heights and can’t breathe through two sun salutations. I would love to scale those majestical beasts here in the Canadian Rockies and take pictures of the vistas from the top of the world…  But am I committed to purchasing all of the climbing gear, including harnesses, climbing shoes, helmets, ropes, and carabiners? Am I committed to climbing in the bitter cold? Am I ready to let go of my other hobbies and focus my time and attention on learning this new skill? Not really, not at this point in time. I’m not saying never, just not now.

What are you committed to? What do you want so bad that you can taste it? That you can see yourself in it that you can feel the emotions it will create? The best way I have found to stay committed to something is to know WHY I want it in the first place.

Here’s a great commitment exercise

(which, by the way, you can do on any day of the year multiple times of the year not only on January 1st)

  1. Take a journal and write out the goal you want to achieve
  2. Write out why you want that goal. What purpose does it serve? Who will you be when you reach that goal? What will be different in your life and/or in the world?
  3. What do you have to do or say Yes to in order to reach that goal? What do you have to stop doing or say No to in order to reach that goal?
  4. Take a piece of masking tape and laying down in a door’s threshold or lay a broom handle on the ground. Read what you wrote in your journal out loud to yourself or a trusted friend or partner and then cross the line. Just like jumping the broomstick in the African and Celtic cultures you will be married and committed to your goal.

Here I am again, on my yoga mat pushing through my shortness of breath inching closer to touching my toes allowing myself to be a beginner and embracing my commitment to my health and wellbeing. Who knows, maybe a year of practicing mountain pose will lead to a commitment to climb a mountain one day.

Are you looking for a little extra support to reach your goals this year? Drop me an email and I would be happy to offer you a complimentary discovery call to see if coaching with me will get you there. 

Coming Home

Coming Home

Yoga on the beach

Do you know that feeling when you do something so effortlessly that it is second nature? Like if you grew up playing piano but were away at college for a few years and then once you get to sit in front of a keyboard you are suddenly right where you left off?

There once was a time (while I was a single mom, 12 years ago) when I was a serious yoga follower. Vegetarian, Ashram attending, Kirtan chanting, serious yoga follower. I will even admit to being a bit of a yoga snob, looking down my nose at those who thought yoga was meant for physical training. But my devotion to yoga was also a saving grace during an intense period in my life, it facilitated a lot of healing for me.

Then I met a guy, and we got married, and had a couple more kids together. I attended a few yoga classes off and on over the years, but they were more of that athletic kind of yoga I had always dismissed and never really stuck with it. That being said, deep within my heart I still considered myself a devout yogini even if I wasn’t on the mat all that much, and I pinned pictures on my Pinterest Board longing for the day I would get back on that mat.

Do you ever forget what it is that you love to do? Do you ever get so caught up in your day to day life that you forget some of your sweet spots? Like the sight of a leaf through your camera lens, or the feel of your paintbrush caressing the canvas?

Nothing was holding me back from getting back into my yoga practice. I just forgot that I wanted to do it. I knew I loved it, but I didn’t bother making the effort of finding a class that resonated with my yoga values and actually showing up.

So, on Ganesha’s birthday no less, I resumed my yoga practice. My body was a bit less bendy, but my ego also had a lot fewer expectations for perfection than it did 10 years ago. The rhythm of my breath and the routine of the sun salutation became second nature within minutes of getting on the mat. It really did feel like coming home.

The lesson I am trying to convey here is that it’s not too late to get back to what you put aside for the sake of building a career or a family (or both). Your sweet spot is still waiting for you. First, give yourself permission to do something for yourself—without the need that it be productive, or goal oriented, or for someone else’s sake. Then, take the time to creatively fit it into your life, your schedule and your budget. Lastly, show up and take action.

As always these self-care tips can always be found in my weekly newsletter. Feel free to sign-up at the top right of this page.

What is something you have accidentally or purposefully put on ice that you would love to get back to?