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10 Rules to Help You Take Back Control of Your Life

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10 Rules to Help You Take Back Control of Your Life

Simple Changes To Create Happiness
Tara Stiles
Tara Stiles More by this author
Nov 11, 2014 at 09:15 AM

When you are connected to yourself and using your feeling as navigation, you’ll never go off course and the results will be beyond fantastic. And thankfully there are tools to help us when we get off track. There are ways to bring us back inward when we get focused on the external. There are steps we can take to come back inside when we spiral out of control. The techniques I outline in my book Make Your Own Rules Diet — meditation, yoga, and cooking—will help you get back in touch with yourself, so you can figure out what rules will serve you well at this point in your life.

These rules will be a moldable, flexible playbook of specific guidelines carefully constructed by your very best possible caregiver and health practitioner: you! The stresses of sticking with someone else’s diet plan, fitness plan, ideas, and expectations are completely lifted and tossed out of existence. You are left with clear, wide-open space to begin cultivating a radiantly healthy and happy life from the inside out. The pressure is completely off. You are free to relax and ready to cultivate your most radiant, healthy self. That’s why making your own rules works. As long as you’re in touch with yourself—as long as you’re sensitized— you’ll only make rules that will get you to your goals. Exciting stuff!

Anyone I’ve admired who has invented anything of value, created anything of artistic merit, or changed the world socially has made their own rules. Amelia Earhart soared after men told her she could not. Martin Luther King, Jr., organized nonviolent protests that inspired global change. Joan of Arc led an army to victory to defend her truth—in her teens!

We all have heroes in our daily lives. Mothers, fathers, siblings, children, co-workers, and friends who’ve improved our lives by going against the stream. My good friend Tao Porchon-Lynch is 96 years young and blazes trails all over the globe, leading yoga classes and reminding people they have the power to accomplish anything. Our heroes are important to us because they believed in their visions for how life could be when no one else did. They took a giant leap of faith, went against the grain, broke the rules, and left the world a better place.Sometimes “following the rules” means holding ourselves back. It’s easy to fall into habits and stay in our comfort zones. I don’t buy the “fear of failure” routine.

We can all imagine our own failure. What’s more difficult to imagine is our success. It’s uncharted, unscripted, and completely unbound. Our success is an adventure waiting for us to go along for the ride. When you decide to take back control of your life, it’s like starting fresh with a clean slate. Your brand-new life starts right now. You get to decide how you want to live, how you want to feel, how you want to act, and how you want to interact with people and your surroundings. A new start is thrilling and a gift you can give to yourself right now. I want to share with you my rules. Feel free to adopt them for yourself, toss in a few of your own that work for you, or make up your own. 

My Own Set of 10 Rules That Helped Me Take Back Control of My Life

1. Feel. Feeling is everything. When I am connected to feeling my way around instead of thinking or worrying my way around, my intuition can begin to do its thing.
2. Breathe deep. Every inhale creates more space and room inside. Every exhale moves me right into that space. The deeper I breathe, the more space opens up.
3. Pay attention. Self-observation is critical for progress. Meditation and yoga provide the outline and the how of feeling; it’s up to me to decide to pay attention to how I am, what choices are in my life, and how I want to act and live.
4. Stay connected. Regular practice of yoga and meditation: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour every day. Whatever time I have, it’s important to make some time every day to get and stay connected to feeling. It’s not a one and-done type thing. It’s an everyday practice, habit, and ritual.
5. Get interested. The process of living well and exploring is interesting. It’s important to take an interest in myself and my surroundings. When I am interested, things begin to have context and meaning and value. Experience becomes enriched and spherical instead of one-dimensional. The more I stay interested, the more depth my experience takes on.
6. Take care. Taking care of myself is a process and a practice that can be really fun and enjoyable. Long walks, hot baths, nourishing foods, good books, stimulating adventures. Planning self-care time is essential to living well, and I’m worth it!
7. Hug people. This is one of my favorite practices. I hug friends, relatives, people at yoga, strangers, flight attendants, and pretty much anyone who will give me an opportunity. A hug is a superwarm, fuzzy, and wholesome way to connect with someone that makes both people feel great. The sense of touch is essential for connection to myself and relaxed, open, easygoing connections with others.
8. Ask questions. It’s important to feel connected, not only to myself but to people around me, people I care about and admire. So ask people how they are doing. Take an interest in their lives. I will often make myself available to others. It’s good for me, too; it helps me feel inspired, grounded, connected, and useful.
9. Check in. I strive to be honest with myself about my progress. Since I am recovering from a control issue—an eating issue or disorder—I will check in with myself every few months to see how things are going. I will talk with my close friends about how I feel in my skin and give myself the time and space to check in.
10. Define. Test. Refine. Repeat. My rules aren’t final. I will live by the advice of my good friend and mentor Jeremy Moon: Define. Test. Refine. Repeat. This is one of my favorite pieces of advice. I will check back in with my rules in a few months, and if they aren’t the rules for me then, I will define, test, refine, and repeat.

So there you have it. Those are my rules. And now I’ll give you the one and only rule you have to follow: make your own rules. It works. With this one rule as a starting place, I maintain a strong, radiant, healthy body from the inside out. I enjoy a clear, focused, engaged mind. I am excited and interested in life and my role in it. I am open to change and appreciate the uniqueness of connecting with the people I meet and expanding my contribution to the world. I’m not afraid to be me, and I’m not afraid to make my own rules. Below is a video of me explaining more about my book, Make Your Own Rules Diet.

About Author
Tara Stiles
Tara is the founder and owner of Strala Yoga, widely known for its unpretentious, inclusive, and straightforward approach to yoga and meditation. Named “Yoga Rebel” by the New York Times, Tara Stiles has inspired a Continue reading