become a control freak of your mind and your reactions

Back in my early teen years, I was a total control freak. I felt that the only way I could get ahead, and get the results I wanted, was to control every aspect of my life.

It was the dire opposite of what I was learning in my yoga and meditation practice and definitely not aligned with all the spiritual books my father was strongly encouraging me to read.

Yet somehow, I had gotten it in my head that to be successful at anything, including yoga and meditation, I needed to control everything.

It made for a very stressful life and left very little wiggle room for the Universe to work its magic.

Luckily (I say luckily now, although I didn’t think I was so lucky at the time!), through hardship and challenges, the Universe showed me that the control I thought I had was a complete illusion.

That in fact, I controlled very little.

Except one thing.

I could always control one thing.

And that thing, that one thing, was how I perceived what was happening to me and how I responded to it.

That’s it.

That’s all.

But actually, that’s all that really matters.

In his book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (one of my top 5 books. Read why HERE) Robin Sharma explains to us that reality actually doesn’t exist.

That there are no absolutes. That “an event that appears to be a tragedy to one might reveal the seeds of unlimited opportunity to another.”

The only thing that is real is how we react and process what is happening to us in the present moment.

Granted, that is not an easy lesson to learn. And an even harder one to implement.

But if you do, it will change your life. I promise.

Knowing you have very little control over anything in your life allows you to let go of what is actually preventing you from moving forward, reaching your goals and embracing your true potential.

On the positive side, it allows you to develop greater control over what truly has an impact on your life: your reaction and processing of the events that are happening to you.

And that’s the type of control freak you want to be: the good kind of control freak.

So how do you become a good control freak?

The key is to start small.

Start paying attention at your reactions, as they are happening. Don’t allow your mind to wander off, unguarded, and tangle you in negative thoughts.

Here’s an example:

It’s a rainy Saturday morning and you need to run some errands.

You get to the shopping mall and start driving around in circles, looking for that perfect parking spot, close to the entrance.

From the corner of your eye, you see a car slowly backing out of that coveted spot. You race over, put your flasher on and wait. As the car finally backs out of your spot, another car from the other side, slips right in.

At that very moment, you have two options:

1.Start fuming with anger. Yell profanities at the other driver for “stealing” your spot while explaining you were there “first” (so you thought), and allow that incident to get you in a horrible mood for the remainder of the morning (if not the remainder of the day as you share the incident with your partner, friends and maybe even on your Facebook and Instagram followers, giving even more momentum and power to the incident).


2. You laugh at the irony of you waiting there for absolutely no reason. Realize it’s simply a parking spot. That maybe the other car couldn’t see you signalling as the third car was backing out of the parking spot. That you actually could use a little more exercise by parking further and that in fact you have a beautiful umbrella in the trunk of your car that you rarely ever use. So you smile at to the driver that got the spot and go on your merry way, laughing at the ridicule of the situation and setting yourself up for a beautiful and cheerful day. And maybe you share how you handled the situation with your Facebook and Instagram followers, giving momentum and power to your positive attitude.

See the difference?

The first option will have you all rattled up and angry, which will lead to absolutely nothing good. And the second option has you smiling at life and setting you up for positive experiences.

Same event, two completely different ways to approach it.

That being said, don’t interpret this example as me telling you to be a door mat and allow people to walk all over you.

If you feel you’ve been wronged in a situation, it is your right and obligation to speak up. But do so in a way that is polite, courteous, diplomatic and compassionate. Control your emotions within the conflict. Don’t allow a negative emotion to dictate how you will handle the situation.

In other words, train your mind to look for the positive first, before allowing yourself any negative thought.

Be a control freak of the thoughts you think.

As you begin to train your mind to see the positive in the small events of your life, the control you exert over your mind will grow to allow you to handle the more challenging events.

Remember, absolute reality does not exist, only your reaction and your processing of the events are real.

So think about how you want your reality to unfold: positive and happy or negative and angry.

The choice is entirely yours.

And it is one of the very few choices you entirely own, SO OWN IT FULLY!

As always, I love hearing from you. After reading this post, leave me a comment below or send me an email and let me know, with concrete examples, how you think you can become a good control freak.

If you want to fast track your way to becoming a good control freak, check out The Ignition Toolbox HERE.




morning routines that adapt to your lifestyle

Back in the days when I was single and free, I followed an army-like morning routine.

I woke up at 4:45am, drank a tall glass of lemon water, meditated, prayed and journaled. Took my dog for a walk then grabbed my gym bag (that was prepared the night before) and my lunch bag (that was also prepared the night before) and headed out the door for my morning gym workout and my long day at the office.

And that’s how my day started. Every. Single. Day.

The only variant was on the weekends, when I would allow myself to “sleep in” until 7am.

But why the rigidity…


I followed such a rigid routine because I had read somewhere, in some productivity and success book(s), that the most successful people on earth all followed a very structured morning routine. And I wanted to be very successful. So I implemented the same principles.

I loved my morning routine. I was deeply attached to it.

It gave me a sense of purpose and drive. It set my mood on “go” for the rest of the day and energized my long working hours.

It was never my intention to change my routine. But then, like for many of us, life happened.

When my husband and I were finally able to have a viable pregnancy, I suffered complications and was put on bedrest. My morning routine was out the window.

I felt lost.

The dangers of attaching yourself to a routine


How many times has this happened to you?

You put all your efforts into creating a new routine for yourself. Maybe you want your day to start off with some meditation or go for a silent walk to clear your head for the day.

Everyday, you diligently put all your efforts towards reinforcing your new routine.

And as your routine slowly becomes a part of your life, you begin to attach yourself to this new routine. You look forward to your morning ritual and begin to depend on it to set the mood for the rest of your day.

But then one morning, something happens and you can’t meditate or go for your silent walk. And you feel awkward for the rest of the day.

Then the next morning, something else comes up that again, prevents you from going through with your morning ritual…

You start to blame yourself, you become bitter about your life and your circumstances and soon enough you are simply discouraged and have given up on the whole thing altogether.

Setting a not-so-good tone for the rest of your day.

But what if it was all about the “what” and not the “when”


As I navigated the ups and downs of a difficult first pregnancy, I became animate about finding another way to get that feeling of accomplishment again.

My new “morning routine” would not only need to fit my current situation, but also be adaptable to the upcoming changes in our lives.

What I soon figured out is that it wasn’t as much about the “when”, then it was about the “what”, in my morning routine that gave me that feeling of accomplishment and a positive outlook.

So I looked at the components of my former morning ritual: water, meditating, praying, journaling, walking the dog and working out.

In summary, my morning routine was about taking care of my mind, first and foremost, and then taking care of my body.

My new “not so morning” routine


By the time our first son was born, I had implemented my new not-so-morning routine.

It wasn’t so much about the rigidity and the “get it all done” mentality. It was about including all the former components of my routine that made me feel good, at some point during my morning.

My new routine looked something like this: I would meditate and pray while feeding my son in the early morning hours. Then I would journal for a few minutes after I put him back to sleep (and going back to sleep myself!)

Walking our dog became a family walk with baby in the stroller and our dog happily strutting along sometime close to the first morning nap.

My workouts were done as a high intensity circuit format during our son’s second morning nap.

By the time noon rolled around, my entire morning ritual had been completed, spread across the morning hours, sometime between 4 am and noon.

I didn’t feel stressed about getting it all done at the same time. I allowed myself the freedom to modify the routine as my day went along, making sure to keep the essence of it.

This new way of doing gave me the sense of accomplishment I needed.

How to set up your own “not so morning” routine


You may not be dealing with similar issues of forced bed rest and a newborn, but you may be dealing with circumstances that momentarily, or permanently, are preventing you from keeping up your beloved morning ritual.

If that is the case, follow these steps to establish another routine that will bring you the same sense of accomplishment, without any of the guilt of getting off track.

1.Deconstruct your previous routine: breakdown each element that composed your morning routine. From having coffee, to heading out to the gym, to spending time cuddling your pet. Whatever time was spent doing an activity in your former routine, is an element in its own.

2. Group items together: Once your routine is decomposed, only put back together in blocks, the items you feel need to be done in a consecutive sequence. For me, meditation and prayer go together, so I needed to combine those. For you, maybe it’s drinking your first cup of coffee and heading out for a run.

3. Make time, at some point in your morning, for each block of your routine: say your former routine included prayer, journaling, drinking a hot cup of coffee, heading out for a run and getting ready for work. But now, for whatever reason, that routine is not sustainable. Break it down, starting by what can only be done within the first few hours of the morning. If you know that you can only go for a run in the early morning, then start off your day with that. Get that hot cup of coffee and that morning run in, first thing in the morning, before getting ready for work. Then plan your prayer and journaling at another time in your morning. Schedule it in your agenda as you would any other important meeting. Maybe it can take the place of your morning break or it can be something you practice during your morning commute.(If you need more ideas on how to break down those practices, check out The Ignition Toolbox HERE)

By spreading your morning routine across your entire morning, you won’t feel the unnecessary pressure of getting everything done within a very limited timespan, yet you will get the same feeling of accomplishment.

If you come to the realization that not everything you want to do will get done during your morning, know that is it ok to let go of certain things, momentarily. Be adaptive and be kind to yourself.

Remember, the goal of morning rituals is to set a positive and uplifting tone for the rest of your day. If the pressure of your routine is creating negative energy and undue stress, it’s time to revisit your routine.

I hope you enjoyed my take on morning routines.

As always, I love hearing from you. After reading this post, leave me a comment below or send me an email and let me know how you’ve adapted your morning routine to fit your changing reality.