Island Life: Cultivating Self-Discipline in Paradise

kauai life, meditation, beach life, self improvement

Kauai Life

Island life moves a little slower. It’s pretty easy to fall into the gentle sway of lazy days at the beach or a day of surf adventures, followed by a BBQ for sunset. I mean, it’s a great way to spend life, however, if you have any goals beyond a great tan and beach hair, you have to employ a little self-discipline. Ever since I had my son, I have felt a stronger urge to pursue activities that flex my self-discipline muscle. For one, I want to provide a comfortable, stable and fun home for him, but I also want him to see the value of sticking with something, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Why Workout My Will Power

Here is a short list of the benefits of improved self-discipline. Learning self-control will also help my son develop these traits in his life.

  • Improved Self-confidence. Awareness and ownership of opinions and feelings.
  • Have an easier time making friends
  • Improved self-control and more self-sufficient.
  • Improved Accountability
  • Make better choices for self, environment and world at large.
  • It creates time and space in your daily life (yes, really!) by helping maintain structure.
close up photo of person carrying surfboard
Kauai is all about that island lifestyle!

Here is what I have been doing to get a self-discipline workout:

The 30 Day Challenge

We have all seen the 30 Day Challenge. Maybe it’s a 30 day no meat challenge or a 30 day squat challenge. The what is much less important than the why. The why of course is to pick something outside of your comfort zone and practice showing up.

The great thing about 30 day challenges are that they are an easy way to add great new habits into your life! Sticking with something every day, shows your brain that you are a person who does what they say. This is very important in habit building, self-discipline and accomplishing goals. Our brains require proof that we are what we say we are and this becomes the foundation of future habit building and smashing our goals!

Be sure to set yourself up for success!

  • Be Realistic: It’s ok to go outside of your comfort zone, you SHOULD, but just go a little outside of it. Make sure that you will be able to follow through with your new habit for the full 30 days!
  • Be specific with yourself about WHEN you will do this challenge. Try stacking the challenge onto something you do every single day. I use my morning coffee as the jumping point for almost all new habits that I am creating! I rarely miss a cup of coffee!
  • Make it EASY: Have everything you are going to need ready. Doing a series on YouTube, create a playlist with the full 30 days so you aren’t distracted looking for the next video.
  • Use a habit tracker to give your brain the reward of ticking off boxes! I keep this one in the front of my day planner.

Kundalini Yoga

I have recently added in Kundalin Yoga to my daily routine (it’s my current 30 Day Challenge). Kundalini is a form of yoga that intentionally utilizes postures that are challenging and uncomfortable to help bring awareness to our reactions in difficult situations. I have really enjoyed the breathwork for improving my energy levels. I have also found that I am having any easier time noticing the way I feel, without reacting to it. This is pretty important with a 2 year old running around the house.

The kriyas in Kundalini (for ease, a kriya is a sequence of poses, breathwork and mantra) help regulate your nervous system, awaken your willpower (which lives near your navel in the Solar Plexus) and help your body digest, not only food, but feelings, past and present events, traumas and challenges.

I have started with a VERY beginner sequence with Brett Larkin on her YouTube channel. I find the exercise to be challenging enough, but also obtainable enough. Each one takes about 20 minutes and consists of 3-4 exercises. This is about the max I can manage with my little wild child climbing all over me! I have been repeating the 6 day challenge and adding one full Kriya on the 7th day, I am currently moving into my third week.

woman sitting on sand while doing yoga
Yoga at the beach is one of the amazing ways to spend quality time on Kauai.
unrecognizable child playing cards with mother at home
Kauai is a wonderful place to reconnect with your family. If it’s a rainy day, no problem you can sit on the lanai and make memories, which testing your memory!

Play Memory Games

Okay, so this seems a little weird, but memory games activate the Prefrontal Cortex of your brain, which is also where your behaviors and emotions stem from. Memory games help strengthen and stimulate this area of the brain (read: you develop more neuropathways in this area of the brain, which can improve brain function when you are tired.)

I wouldn’t use this as an excuse to plug in to a game for hours at a time, but a carve out a little time each week for a family game night is a great way for everyone to improve and it’s a great way to connect with each other!

Look For People That Can…

What does that mean? Look for people that can… do whatever it is that you are wanting to do. This teaches your brain that it’s possible. This is really big, just like following through with what you say, your brain is always looking for ways to PROVE things. That what you say is true. That something is a possibility. The more like you the person is the better. A similar upbringing, lifestyle or past can help your brain relate to this person and make results seem more realistic. You also get to see the persons action steps in real time and this can be really helpful in picking what habits to add to your own lifestyle.

young slender female athletes giving high five to each other while training together in kauai
person holding coca cola in can beside pizza on table breaking habits on kauai
Try stocking the freezer with easy to make foods, that don’t take much time. Give yourself equally easy options to substitute in.

Give Something Up

This really could fall into the 30 Day Challenge category. Choose one thing in your life that isn’t serving you. Maybe it’s alcohol, perhaps it’s that second cup of coffee every morning, maybe it’s sugary drinks or foods, it could be sex , smoking, or drugs. Hey, it could be cheese. I suggest starting small the first time you eliminate something. This is a test of willpower, intentional delay of gratification. This is really helpful for people that are trying to improve their impulse control. (That’s me!)

Here are some ways to help you succeed at Elimination Challenges:

  • Avoid it. Seems obvious, but if you are trying to avoid eating cheese all month, get it out of your house. Don’t go to a fondue restaurant. Avoid the cheese isle. This applies to anything. Just don’t have it around.
  • Before you start, know your behavior around it. When are the times you find yourself doing this activity the most? Do you always order pizza when you don’t have a plan for dinner? Does it always happen on super busy nights? Try meal planning or meal prepping. Have a freezer stash for nights like this. Changing the cues around your behavior can help your brain form new habits and eliminate old ones.
  • Track your success. I use a habit tracker in my day planner. You could try one on your phone.

Yes, even here in paradise we must make an effort to grow and work towards goals and better habits. Creating a better life is a top priority at Aloha Tammie Professional Services, not only for myself and my family, but for those visiting our beautiful islands and our wonderful island community. Be sure to check out our services page to see how we can help you stay in the moment on your Kauai Vacation!


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