Determination. Motivation. Commitment. Hard work. Inspiration. Joy. All vital elements in the pursuit of success. But these elements have to have a focus towards something actionable. Otherwise, they remain ideas we post memes about, but never take root in our lives to drive us toward success.
No, these elements have to become behaviors that happen consistently enough to become practice.
And it starts with changing your habits. Changing your daily routine. Now this may sound simple, and even simplistic. But the truth is, if you can shift the ways in which you start and end your day, you’ll see significant transformations in how you work and how you live.
For actors, for any artist really, you (we all) are independent contractors, entrepreneurs. You have to organize your lives on a daily basis and muster up the energy to create a career for yourself. No easy task. But you can (and you really must) make changes that will allow you to approach your life with new awareness and energy. Your success depends on it.
Take a look at how you begin and end each day. You’ll see that you’re doing the same things most every morning, and most every evening. We humans are often creatures of habit. And no matter what we hope to do differently, we tend to slip back into our daily habitual behavior. The good news is, once we change habits that don’t serve us, we can create new rituals that become genuinely productive, often life-changing patterns in our lives.
So ask yourself: What do you do every morning? Do you reach for your phone and start checking emails, the news, social media, and get lost in the spin of it? Then before you look up, an hour’s gone by? Do you wake up anxious with to-do lists, or want-to-dos, and get stuck in a spiral of anxiety? Do you call or text someone first thing before you’ve actually had a chance to connect with yourself? Be honest. What are your current morning habits? Write them down. Now, can you let go of whatever is a distraction, whatever puts your focus outward instead of inward?
What if you didn’t look at emails, texts, FB, Twitter, Snapchat, anything on your calendar or the internet until 1 hour after you woke up? What if you spent the first 60 minutes of your day taking care of your body, mind, and spirit? What would that look like and how can you make that happen? Perhaps you simply put your phone and computer in another room. You create a morning ritual that you actually love, one that includes mindfulness, physical movement, healthy eating. We’ve created The 10 Day Actor’s Challenge to support a practice that changes your habits; 5 elements that connect you to yourself and a more aware and richer experience in the world. Meditation, Writing, Connected Movement, Artistic Expression, and Giving. What if you could spend the very first hour of your day engaged in the first 3 elements, along with awakening your body through more mindful eating?
Can you commit to making this kind of change? It might mean getting up earlier, or rescheduling your day just a little. We know that this would shift your life considerably. It’s done so for us; it’s created major adjustments in how we get to experience the rest of our day. We’re more awake, more productive, calmer, more creative, and happier people. (And when we slip back into old habits, we see a dramatic shift back to a funkier, struggle-filled day.)
This adjustment goes for your nighttime ritual as well. So many of us have gotten into the habit of watching (especially binge-watching) television before we drift off into some alternative Walking Dead or Game of Thrones nightmare, only to wake up spent. What if you shut off your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed, stretch, drink some sweet dreams tea, meditate, write for 5 minutes, and close your eyes to quiet or relaxing music? That could take less than 30 minutes, and it would change your sleep and change your life.
By taking this time to focus inward, you get to listen to your heart and your instincts, to hear your inner wisdom. You get to know yourself, and from there everything you do is heightened with more awareness, more compassion, and over time, with inspiration. By tending to your spirit and your body, you become more awake, more present, and more conscious. This is what creates real success, the kind of success that allows you to live the life you truly desire.
We’re not saying any of this is easy. It will take discipline and resolve. And time. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, and then 6 weeks of a consistent practice to solidify it. And we all know that it often takes months to actually change our behavior. This kind of change takes time to work. It means breaking old habits, and committing to new ones. It means leaving your phone in the kitchen, allowing emails and texts to just sit there unattended. It means making time in your morning and evening ritual for rigorous change, challenging yourself to re-program your daily routines.
But if it could (and it will) shift your life into being healthy, productive, and happy, isn’t it worth it?
Oh, and you don’t have to wait for a new year, a birthday or some other arbitrary starting point. Start right now. If you do, by next January you’ll be living a better life! You’ll be in the habit of being awake, focused, and energized enough to create success on your own terms.
Let us help you get there with our classes here at BGB!