I wrote this post for Sober Mommies’ Facebook page, and wanted to expand it and share it here because I thought it was worth discussing in some more detail. 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want 2018 to look like for me. In my pursuit of understanding myself better, I’ve dabbled with Danielle LaPorte‘s Desire Mapping as the idea of planning based on how I want to feel appeals to me far more than numbers and material achievements. However, one thing that I have really learned over the last few years is that the biggest obstacle I face to achieving the goals I have for my life is me! I frequently self sabotage and mess things up for myself, even, in fact, especially the things I want to do most of all.

I was listening to a podcast that talked about Gretchen Rubin’s “Four Tendencies“. As the speaker talked about the Rebel personality, I realised with both amusement and horror that she could be talking about me, and sure enough when I did the test, I was outed as a Rebel.

Least surprising news ever really. Addiction is one of the defining features of The Rebel, self sabotage their greatest skill.

Rage Against the machine’s mantra of “F### you I won’t Do What You Tell Me” was the anthem of my 20s. I enjoyed being a bit wild and uncontrollable, it felt like fun.

But I would never do what I told me either.

I do love my rebel personality in so many ways, and wouldn’t want to be anything else. But I need to learn to stop the self sabotage. It might not be causing me to pour a bottle of wine down my throat and smoke 10 asthma worsening cigarettes every night anymore, but it is hurting my life.

Learning what works for me

The problem with being a Rebel type is that no one productivity or goalsetting tactic will work until I find a way to curb that instinct that says if someone is telling me to do something, then I don’t want to do it.

Planners work as long as I use them, but inevitably I am going to rebel against the book that is telling me what to do!

The only personal growth programme I stuck at for the duration of the course was Yoga while I was training, and it has been an almost daily part of my life for most the the years that have followed, but recently even my practice has started to slide,and I have been feeling the benefits in my mind and body.

New Years resolutions never worked for me, they don’t for most, but they are anathema to a Rebel!  So I have given myself not a resolution, but key words to focus on this year. Discipline is one, but joy is another, and connection the 3rd. The discipline I need will help me find the joy and the connection I want. I can remind rebel Esther of the good things that happen when I keep my promises to myself and others. I can still be a Rebel, but use it to change the world, not hurt myself!

I have goals for what I want to achieve, but instead of giving myself at least 20 things I want to do this year, and a list of far too many books I want to read, places I want to visit, and a to do list that requires I don’t sleep 5 nights out of 7, I have 3 goals. One is my income goal to ensure financial stability for myself and Marcus, one is to write my second book to follow Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, and the other one, and the goal that will be the glue that ensures the other 2 get met and my life follows the ‘key words’ I have chosen, is concerning my daily yoga practice and walking.

I know that in making 2018 the year that a meaningful physical Yoga practice and daily study becomes utterly non negotiable in my daily life will be the glue that binds every other aspect of my life. Discipline, or Tapas, is one of the Niyamas of Yoga, the guidance Yoga offers us to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be. It is my biggest weakness, and always has been, to my great detriment. It will not be easy to discipline the Rebel tendencies in my personality, but I know that doing so is vital for my success in all areas of my life. Daily Yoga will not only make my body and mind stronger and more flexible, but it will give me better focus, clarity. connection, resilience, discipline, and will train the rebel to do things even when the idea of staying in bed, or doing less than planned, is more appealing to her.

I have had some form of Yoga practice since the start of the year, and for the last 2 days have been working on the new practice that I am sure will be varied enough to keep me motivated, but with enough regularity and repetition that I get the benefits. It is also a commitment to spend over an hour a day on my mat, and so far, doing it feels as amazing as I knew it would, and I am really enjoying feeling the benefits already.

Yoga texts tells us that any effort made to live along the Yoga path reaps its rewards, and for me I think they key is to really focus on the rewards. This very act flies in the face of the the ideal of Karma Yoga, action performed for its own sake without hope for the rewards. While I would love to live like this, I know that until I, and any other rebel, manages to master my actions, this will be an utterly unattainable state to regularly be in.

I was given an amazing tip yesterday by Bec Evans, cofounder of BeProlifiko, who advocated taking a sheet of paper per goal, and listing 50 benefits you will get from achieving that goal. She explained that it would stimulate the dopamine centre of the brain, making you think about the positives of achieving the goal rather than focusing on the work that needs to be done to get there, and makes you feel positive about a goal that may, on a practical level, feel quite scary. She also said that if you can’t think of 50 benefits you will get from your goal then maybe it isn’t the right goal for you. This is a great filter for me to put my many ideas through – I get a lot of really exciting ideas, that fire me up for a few days then fizzle out and I am left wondering what I was thinking!

I did this for all 3 of my goals yesterday afternoon when Marcus was playing in Parc play centre in Cardiff, and am happy to report that I now have 150 very compelling reasons to achieve 3 very exciting goals for 2018! And if you ever want to know how Yoga can benefit you, ask me, I have 51 reasons why you should start a daily practice! It is these benefits that I will be reminding my rebel of everytime she tries to persuade me to hit the snooze button in the morning instead of going to the mat!

In the webinar series I am running in the week commencing January 8th, I will be talking more about how Yoga can help you improve your life.

This series of free webinars will look at how Yoga can improve life in a whole host of ways, including the development of resilience to stress, self awareness, positive thinking and deep relaxation.

The series is focusing on how Yoga can help you to ‘Recovering You’, as a tool for self discovery, personal growth, freedom from stress and recovery from the many addictions that could affect your life.

The webinars are

  • Monday Jan 8 – Stop and notice – developing awareness of your body, your thoughts and emotions
  • Tuesday Jan 9 – Becoming a better you – working with the Yamas and Niyamas to improve your life
  • Wednesday Jan 10 – Grateful for gratitude – how living with gratiutude can give you more to be grateful for
  • Thursday Jan 11 – Relax and recover – some powerful and simple ways to tackle stressful moments
  • Friday Jan 12 – Getting to know you – the importance of self study and really getting to understand yourself

The webinars will all take place at 8.30pm GMT, and replays will be available so if you are unable to attend live, you can catch up. There will also be a pop up Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your experiences and learning, and where I will be sharing more information and articles.

The Recovering You week will be perfect for you if you

  • Are in recovery from addiction and are looking for ways to beat the stress of recovery, and deepen your experience of recovery
  • Are experiencing stress that you don’t know what to do with, for example, at work, or in your personal life
  • Are interested in learning more about Yoga philosophy and how it can be applied to your life
  • Want to grow as a person and are confused by all the personal growth paths out there

You can secure your place on the webinar by signing up below, or find out more here. Please look out for emails from me and make sure that they go into your inbox, and be sure to confirm or you won’t be able to hear any more from me, and you will miss out on the webinars

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Esther Nagle
Teacher, writer, speaker at Balance and Breathe
Esther is a former alcoholic, smoker and all round stressed out mess. She found the path to health, happiness, freedom and joy through Yoga. She is a passionate advocate for the power of Yoga, and time in Nature, in bringing balance to life, and giving you control over your health, happiness and wellbeing.

Esther is a powerful public speaker, writer and author. Her first book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, has gained many 5 star reviews and has helped many people along their recovery journey.

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