Discipline Creates Freedom

In the yoga community, it’s not uncommon to gift a rock with an adjective describing the recipient written on it. In my collection, I have “lighthearted” and “alive”. I am known for my carefree, energetic disposition. Even my name, Julia, means “the youthful one”. 

Having the energy and the curiosity of a five year old has many advantages; however, it can often lead to a lack of productivity. In my experience, being everywhere, doing everything at one time is not productive. When I am overcommitted, I am disconnected from my work and my experiences and I feel guilty for not showing up 100% for myself and others. 

Learning to say “no” and focus my energy and attention on fewer projects has been my biggest asset recently. If it’s not fuck yes, it’s no. Over the weekend, I purged my apartment again and I outlined clear list of actionable tasks for October that align with the Q4 goals I set for myself at Goal Play (an incredible event my beautiful friend Sheri Matthews hosted with the wonderful women and men of Wildfire at Trilogy Sanctuary). Goal setting alongside my inspirational peers is something I hope to do again soon! Thank you, Sheri!!!

As an independent contractor, my schedule is sporadic and significantly different week to week. Approximately 24 hours of my week are accounted for, I teach 14 regular classes and volunteer on Wednesday afternoon. Weekly, my teacher training coaching dates and other private commitments change. I thrive with the dynamics of an evolving schedule, but it makes working towards larger goals challenging. 

In my opinion, clear goals and discipline are equally if not more important to highly-motivated people than they are to under-motivated individuals. I find my energy, fear, and curiosity often lead me down paths that may be interesting but not supportive of my vision and goals.

When I am clear about how I want to feel and where I want my life to go, I make better decisions that support whatever it is I’m working towards.

When I am unsure of where I am going and without a plan, I am simply spinning in space with no direction. Don’t get me wrong, spinning in space has landed me in some incredible spots. Yet, I know how good it feels to have a vision and create it (<—- I want more of that). 

At first, goal setting felt unnatural to me, I love adventure and spontaneity. Overtime, it’s grown on me and I’m hungry for it now. My goals are firm, yet flexible.

For instance, I have set a date to drive to the desert to see the stars at night time. Obviously, Julian apple pie will somehow be involved, but knowing me, no real plans will be made until moments before we leave. Goal setting is all about taking those things “you’ve always wanted to do” and actually doing them.

Listening to podcasts like, The Tim Ferriss Show, and participating on Zen Girl Mandy’s, Zen Girl Power Hour, call motivates me and provides me tools to stay on track. Last week, both the podcast episode and Mandy’s monthly call had the theme of “discipline”: discipline creates freedom. Upon reflection, I realized I had my most creative,  “best work days” when I stayed on task, when I was disciplined.

As a freelancer, it’s easy to get distracted by competing requests, so I am learning to schedule my “working” chunks of the day to ensure I am maximizing my priorities and not getting lost down the bunny hole known as gmail.com. 

Last week, per my goal, I scheduled myself to take Sarah Clark’s 12PM class on Friday. It is my goal to take at least one class a week with an inspiring, knowledgable instructor. It was my first time at Hale Holistic and I was not surprised to see “discipline creates freedom” etched within their manifesto on the wall. 

Lately, my freedom has come from shifting my morning routine to seven days a week; I've adjusted my schedule to allow enough time for the three mornings I wake up early. Everyday, I meditate, give thanks, and nourish myself before I leave the house. 

That brings me to sharing five solid disciplines that have worked well for me: 

 1) Establish a reasonable morning routine. Start simple, make your bed, hot water with lemon, sit with your eyes closed for 5 minutes, and/or move through a few rounds of Sun A. Starting small is better than doing nothing. Once it feels normal, add something new. 

 2) If I have 3-5 hours to get work done, I prioritize my time. I take a post-it note and write a list that resembles this:


-Clean Up Lunch

-Write Blog Post

-Post Blog Post

-Post on Social Media


-Sequence/ Playlist


-Clean Up

Seeing the big picture of what I need to accomplish and physically writing it down prevents me from checking my emails while I eat and posting on social media while I make my playlist. Prioritizing what needs to be done first and giving everything a clear order helps me to stay on track and inspired and it typically leaves me with extra time. Discipline creates freedom :) 

 3) Seek guidance and inspiration. Whether it’s in the form of a mentor, life coach, or self-study, keep being the beginner and seek wisdom from those who know more. When you know the most, teach others. 

 4) Journal. Even if it’s five sentences, get your thoughts outside of yourself. Make a gratitude list. Write your dream average day. Write your dream above average day. At the end of the day, describe your day: give yourself credit for something you did well and something you’d like to do better next time. 

5) Go offline more often. Leave your phone at home, turn your phone/computer on airplane mode as often as possible. Give your brain the freedom to think about what it wants to think about instead of being influenced by the thoughts of others.