When the Tail Wags the Dog

Have you ever started your day determined for success, only to end up frustrated, defeated and exhausted in the evening? It happens to the best of us.  Somewhere after we start and before we finish, is the vastness of the in-between. . . full of enticing antics that derail us. How does our best plan result with the tail wagging the dog?

A wagging dog tail can be endearing. Even cute or sometimes amusing. However, it’s not so charming when it describes our experience and defeat.  This “in-between” is not about a dog or its tail. It’s about discipline, or the lack. When we surrender to distractions, our attention gets hijacked, our plan crumbles, and we refer to it as the tail wagging the dog. As if that helps.

It’s about the times we devote to distractions and abandon the discipline essential to getting from here to there. Those choices result in our submitting to disappointment over achievement. Frustration over joy. The tail becomes the experience and we miss the dog.

Distractions waste our energy. Concentration renews it. Sounds easy, but it’s not. To concentrate, meditate, or mindfully sustain our authenticity requires discipline. Discipline is the practice of building and sustaining a focused awareness and actions, even when something else may be temporarily more inviting. Discipline renews our energy and promotes trust. Distractions deplete our energy and cultivate chaos.

Are you tired of the tail wagging the dog? Are you ready for some real shift to happen?

Would you like to have a better “in-between” game and increase your sense of achievement? Perhaps it’s time to put the dog on a leash. Intermittent discipline throughout your day minimizes time spent in distraction and helps you regain focus.  You’ve got to intentionally show up for yourself and your plans more than you attend to distractions.

Today’s Tips – Practice Discipline and Show Up with Purpose in the In-Between:

  1. Set your goal: Know your plan, schedule and goals.
    • What do you most want to accomplish?
    • What is one thing you want to improve?
    • Describe what motivates you.
  2. Identify your challenges: This is the In-Between… where we often get distracted.
    • What are some common distractions?
    • What gets in the way?
    • List frequent triggers and interruptions.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice: Discipline adds value to the in-between. Pick one or two strategies that help you regain your focus, energy and composure.
    • Set an alarm for multiple times (3 to 5) a day.
    • Be grateful that you are showing-up for yourself.
    • What were you doing before the alarm? (avoid blaming or justifying)
    • Practice one minute of Mindful or Heart-Focused Breathing.
    • Realign your focus to support your plan.

You may discover that intentional interruptions/reminders are just what you need to shift your attention and get back in sync with your goals. Your ability to prepare, recover and adapt in the face of challenges come through practice and will support your best efforts, so the tail does NOT wag the dog.