A little over a month ago, I decided to participate in my first 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge. Bikram is the type of hot yoga where it's 105° and you practice the same flow of 26 postures each time. Keeping myself fit is super important to me, especially since I spend the majority of my week sitting behind a computer. Nothing seems to help relieve my back and shoulder pain quite like Bikram does. Beyond that, the meditation element leaves me feeling tired yet energized—excited yet calm. Needless to say, I'm hooked.
A 30 day challenge was a huge commitment for me. It was far from easy showing up day after day. But I really wanted it and I wouldn't allow myself to think that I couldn't do it. I just showed up one day, and then the next. It wasn't about dropping everything to religiously do 30 days of yoga. It was about integrating the yoga into my life (not the other way around) and showing up in the best way I could whenever I could. 30 days later, I consider this a serious personal breakthrough.
My Year of Breakthroughs
For me, 2016 has been a year of breakthroughs and 30 days of yoga is just one of them. Blogging weekly was a big one for me, as was taking the leap to start my business. It's not because I have magic powers or unfathomable talents that these things were possible for me. It's because I got sick of living my life in the shadows. I wasn't unhappy, but I wasn't overjoyed either and I want a joy-filled life. I wanted it bad enough, and dared to ask “why not me?” Most importantly, I stepped out from where I felt comfortable and I went for it.
Just start with one step—one risk—and then another.
Sure, it's downright terrifying to journey out into the unknown. But if you're not overjoyed with your current circumstances, I say it's worth the risk. I've been thinking a lot lately on what it takes to create your own breakthroughs and after some serious self reflection, I've realized these steps have been key for me. I hope they can bring some clarity to your own path and help you take that essential next step.
1. Believe it's possible.
In this amazing talk from the brilliant Rodney Mullen, he refers to a phenomena called the “barrier of disbelief.” Essentially it goes like this—things are much easier to do once you know they can be done. We as humans tend to do a lot of self-sabotaging by setting limits on ourselves and what we believe is possible.
We constantly let the doubts and disbelief of the masses drag us down, but no more! Stop listening to what other people say you can't do. Surround yourself with positive, inspiring people and together you can do the impossible. It all starts with believing you can.
2. Challenge your boundaries and step out of your comfort zone.
I'm sure we've all heard the quote from Thomas Jefferson that goes, "If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done." Obviously, right? Of course that makes sense, but most of us glaze over when it comes to actually applying this to our own lives. This life-changing mantra becomes just one more quote we scroll past on Facebook or Pinterest, empty words set over a photo of a sunset. Enough of that.
Get specific. What do you really truly want? What do you want your life to look like? And what will it take to get you there? We can't make the leap in one day, but we can start somewhere today. Just start with one step—one risk—and then another.
3. Rise above the excuses.
Making a breakthrough isn't easy. After all, they call it your comfort zone for a reason and pushing beyond it is a scary thing. But just like my 30 day challenge helped me increase my strength and stamina, taking risks and changing your life will get easier the more you challenge those boundaries.
If you look for excuses you will always find them. You can always find a pass to quit if you look for it, but that's not going to help you change your life. Change begets change. You know how far you can go today. So go there.
4. Change your perception of failure.
I used to be terrified of failing, but yoga has helped me shift my perspective like you wouldn't believe. The philosophy there is you try your best, but if you fall out of a posture it's no big thing. You just get back into it and try again. The Rodney Mullen talk speaks to the value of failing too—the more we fall the more we can get back up.
“Failures” are never really that. They're a learning experience. They make you stronger and more resilient. Even a misstep brings you one step closer to the right path. Let go of your fear, and go farther. Let yourself fail, and then get right back up and try again.
5. Believe you are worthy.
Recently, I've been reading the book You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (thanks, Mom 💖) and it is absolutely blowing my mind. There are so many gold nuggets in it, but for now I'll just share one piece that really resonated with me.
Jen points out that as we become adults, we think it's childish to think we can follow our dreams. We tell ourselves that we need to suffer and save through our working years, and that we need to earn the right to enjoy our lives later on. She then calls this out for exactly what it is—a lie.
You don't need to sit in traffic and suffer at a job you hate until you can retire. You can follow your dreams and build a life you love today. Why? Because you are an amazing human, and you deserve it. The world is your oyster, if you only accept that you are more than worthy to reach out and grab it.
Once you begin practicing the steps above, your fears will fade and you'll begin making some serious breakthroughs. The last bit of advice I can offer is to lead by example. You will always find people that will doubt you—those that preach and question and try to pull you down into their own comfort zone. Don't waste your time arguing with them. Odds are that their objections are just fueled by their own self-doubt and insecurities.
You know you can do this, so hunker down and go for it. Show up one day, and then the next. Whether it's 30 days of yoga, starting a weekly blog of your own, eating healthier, or finally making the time for that passion project you've been talking about forever. Opt out of Netflix for the night. Take a break from social media. Leave your phone in the other room. Quit trying to escape reality and start building the life you've always dreamed of.