Batch your work. Multi-tasking has become the norm for many people, but this is not a good habit for focus or optimal performance. Get into the habit of batching your work. This may mean you spend the mornings checking e-mails from 8–9, then you spend 3 hours working on a project, then you dedicate the entire afternoon to a different initiative and finish the day with e-mail. By doing this, you learn to focus on the task at hand, rather than waiting to be ‘interrupted’ by an e-mail popping up every 5 minutes. This is a great habit to get into when you’re looking to improve your focus.
As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chelsea Manigold.
Chelsea Manigold is a yoga and meditation educator, and the founder of Well Lived Lifestyle. For over a decade, she has been developing her own practice, and two years ago she began the journey of teaching others about the power of yoga, meditation, and mindset. Through her blog and social media platforms, Chelsea has built a community, and she connects with her audience daily leading guided meditations, providing weekly blogs to help level up your mindset, and sharing inspirational content to cultivate the one thing we all desire– a well lived lifestyle.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Absolutely! I grew up in Ontario, Canada in a small-ish town between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Most of my life, I grew up wanting to be a lawyer, so I certainly didn’t expect to be doing what I do now! I I went to school at the University of Toronto and switched my major halfway through to study Psychology — I fell in love with the mind and learning how the human experience can change form person to person. I have worked in the travel industry most of my adult life but have been continuing to study meditation and yoga — with the pandemic, it seemed like a great time to focus on this avenue and hopefully, provide more value.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I decided a few years ago that I wanted to teach yoga and meditation after the most amazing trip to Bali where I was learning from these incredibly talented teachers that made a huge impact on my life. After practicing yoga and meditation for several years, I fell in love with it all over again during this trip. I realized how much our lives are spent constantly on the go and how the concept of work-life balance is slowly eroding, which can significantly affect our mindset. During this trip I realized I had been spending little time doing what brought my joy and creating these good habits that ultimately lead to a greater sense of wellbeing. After that trip, I was motivated to pursue this and began taking courses, shifting my lifestyle, and I eventually completed a 200-hour program to obtain my yoga teacher certification.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
My sister played a huge role in my journey, and I have to attribute much of my success personally and professionally to her. She has never been one to shy away from change — so when I had to jump in and commit to completely overturning my lifestyle, then embarking on a journey with my business, she was behind me every step of the way. She was always the one I would go to and bounce ideas off her when it comes to content, and when I was completing my yoga teacher training, I practiced on her a lot. Which, didn’t always work out — sometimes I would get her into the strangest poses unintentionally,… but she was always willing to laugh it off and start over! I think having a support system is crucial to success and having someone you can trust to give you honest feedback is key.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
One of the funniest mistakes was actually teaching a yoga class. Much of my classes just flow naturally to me, and I definitely do not script them out. After a while, you don’t have to think so much about it when you teach because you get into a routine. However, somehow during a class I must have gave the wrong cue without realizing, because I looked up from the pose and every student was doing something totally different — something far different than I had expected. We looked around at each other and laughed and I was like okay… let’s try that again! It was a silly mistake, not a huge deal, but I learned a lot from it. I began to realize that failure is so important. As someone who used to be a perfectionist who was so afraid to speak in public, teaching a yoga class of 30+ people was so far out of my comfort zone at one point. But once you do it, mess up a couple times, laugh it off, you begin to realize… was I really afraid of that for so long? I learned that failure is not a bad thing. It means you tried, and you learned. From this one mistake, I learned how to be intentional during my yoga classes, to stay fully present throughout the process and hopefully, cue the class better after that one mess up. But most importantly, I learned how to keep going despite a failure, to stop throwing in the towel after one mistake, regardless of how big or small that mistake was.
The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?
Focus on your mindset, and the rest will fall into place. There’s a quote I love and it says “no matter where you go, there you are”. I find this is so true — you can travel, try a new career path, take on a new business– make endless changes in your life, but the one common denominator will remain, and that is you, and your mindset. Make sure your mindset is one that will support your success and carry you through when challenges come up. If you have limiting self-beliefs, you need to invest the time and energy in shifting these beliefs to align with your dreams! Every successful person has failed at some point, but what makes someone successful, is their mindset. That is the distinguishing factor. Once I began shifting my mindset, meditating daily, and investing in myself — that is when I saw success.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The book Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill really resonated with me, because after reading it, it became crystal clear how my mindset needed to change to achieve the level of success I was after. The simple premise is this — you can achieve anything you want, if you really desire it, commit to it, and take inspired action to achieve it. Your thoughts are powerful, and they will ultimately dictate your actions and what you can achieve. The thing is, our thought patterns are highly habitual. We worry about things, stress, think negative thoughts — often completely out of habit. After reading this book, my mindset towards my business shifted completely. I realized how badly I wanted to success and began doing things I would normally be too afraid to do. I showed up every single day and put my fears aside to achieve it, and this is the mindset shift many of us need to reach a certain level of success.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
My favorite quote is this “you can do hard things”. How simple is that? It’s not some long profound quote from a philosopher, but it’s so incredibly powerful. This quote has helped me shift my mind out of negative places — when things get tough or seem overwhelming, there is this tendency to crawl back into old habits and live with this belief that ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m not good enough’. But I always remind myself of this concept that “I can do hard things.” This short quote inspires me to get up, take challenges head-on and keep moving. I love it because it can be applied to so many things — relationships, lifestyle, business — almost anything. We shy away from hard things, but the reality is, we are capable of so much more than we realize.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Right now, I am working on an e-book to teach people how they can shift their mindset, remove bad habits and ultimately, change their life. Using the teachings of the Law of Attraction, the e-book will help readers cultivate daily practices that shift their thought patterns and align with the premise that our thoughts become things.
I realized through my community on social media, how many people want to change their lives, want to start unpacking their thought processes and bad habits, but feel like they don’t know where to start. In the current times we are in, this book will help people take the next step in their personal lives and careers to live the lifestyle they truly desire.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?
Good habits are the first step to achieving your goals. Without good habits, our goals are simply dreams, that most likely will never come to fruition. When your motivation dries up, your habits are what carry you through. For example, when I was first starting out on my yoga and meditation journey, I had this dream to do all these physical poses and I wanted to really focus on my practice, meditate every morning and this was all super important to me. However, at the beginning, I never cultivated habits that supported this. I simply “fit it in” when I had time. When I got into the habit of meditating first thing in the morning and practicing yoga every night before bed, this is when it became routine, and ultimately this is what led me to where I am today. On the days I probably wanted to hit snooze on my alarm, but got up out of habit to meditate, that’s when I really realized how important it is to cultivate good habits in order to upgrade your life. This daily habit of meditating in the morning has supported all my other goals — because my mindset is in the right place at the beginning of everyday.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
Good habits have played a role in my success by giving me the framework, or the foundation, to pursue my goals even when life gets chaotic or a curveball is thrown my way. There are two successful habits that have helped in my journey, significantly.
The first, as I mentioned above, is meditation. I recommend a daily meditation habit to every single person, regardless of age, lifestyle, goals, etc. It is a necessary habit to cultivate in this busy world that seems to change overnight! When you meditate daily, you remove the “noise” that doesn’t serve you and you become consciously aware of some of the ‘narratives’ we are playing to ourselves every day. With a daily meditation habit, your mind becomes sharp, focused, and you’re able to move through life more effectively. Meditation helped me the most when trying to balance my full-time job with my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and running my own business. It became to challenging to find the time in the day to work on my business, and often I felt like my mind was running in 5 different directions. But meditation is what kept me grounded, focused, and allowed me to show up for myself every day and keep going when life became could have been completely overwhelming.
The second good habit is a sleep routine. In my life, I have been guilty of cutting sleep in order to fit “more” into my day — whether that’s more time for friends, for work, for the gym, literally everything. But this is completely ineffective. I realized when I don’t allow myself time to sleep and rest, my work is negatively impacted. I can’t show up as the most creative, sharp, focused version of myself if I’m on 5 hours of sleep. A good sleep routine where I commit to getting at least 7 hours has improved my health and my mindset significantly. I know I will be more productive if I rest when I need to.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
I think the best way to develop good habits is to start small. I used to be a “go big or go home” kind of person, where I would literally try to change my whole world overnight. But this never works! It becomes too challenging and you just want to give up on all of it. So now I try to slowly integrate small habits, and continuously expand on them. For example, if you want to become fit and start a habit of working out 5x a week — you don’t need to commit to going to the gym for 2 hours a day. Start small — go for a walk after dinner, start with 20 minutes of yoga in the morning. Gradually build up and you will adjust along the way and be more successful in keeping these habits long-term.
The best way to stop bad habits is really narrow down your “why”. Why is it important for you to stop the habit? What does this mean to you? What will happen if you don’t? Beyond that, I also suggest replacing one bad habit with one good habit. For example, if your bad habit is smoking, can you replace that with a quick 2-minute practice of mindfulness or meditation? Or can you go for a walk instead of smoking? Finding ways to replace the behavior with something more positive is an effective way to change your lifestyle, without ignoring the trigger that usually encourages the behavior.
Lastly, find someone who can support you through the change. Whether that is a friend, a support group, or a professional — having community, connection, and support makes a difference.
Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.
Three good habits than can create optimum wellness are:
- Daily Movement
Meditation will help you feel well, live well, and become a better performer at work. Meditation ultimately changes our brain and how it operates, overtime you become sharper and can focus on tasks for longer periods of time without becoming distracted or distant. This is so incredibly important because, (thanks to the use of cellphones and social media) many of us struggle with our ability to focus without picking up our phones, checking messages, and distracting ourselves away from the task at hand.
Sleep is so important for physical and mental wellbeing. Without sleep, our bodies and brains cannot function properly. Severe sleep deprivation is almost like being drunk. Have you ever wrote an e-mail late at night, completely exhausted and then read it the next day and thought? Woah.. that made absolutely no sense! That is your body speaking to you — rest and sleep are crucial to wellness, performance, and focus.
Daily movement can provide you with more energy and improve mental health. People who exercise daily have better cognitive function, more energy, better memories and overall feel better! The thing is, exercise and movement do not have to be intense. You don’t need to run a marathon to reap the benefits. You can choose to incorporate a walk at lunchtime, lift weights for 15 minutes a day, or even do chair yoga during the workday — whatever is accessible to you. If you’re moving in the day, you can see a huge shift in your overall wellbeing, performance, and focus.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
- Download a meditation app and set a reminder on your phone. Set aside time everyday to meditate so it becomes a habitual practice. Start small — you don’t need to meditate for an hour a day. 15–20 minutes is great when you’re first starting out!
- Set a bed-time reminder every day and stick to it! Leave your phone outside of the bedroom, limit blue light (no TV, no tablets, etc.). and focus on rest and relaxation. Carve out time and develop a sleep routine. Treat bedtime the same way you would treat an appointment — you have to attend, and you can’t show up late!
- Find an activity or exercise you enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, painful, or your least favorite part of the day. Try new things and when you find something you enjoy, stick with it! Maybe it’s something simple like grabbing a cup of tea and going for a walk with your dog. Do what works for you!
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.
- Carve out time for self-care. The saying is cliché, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. Carve out time for yourself and do something you enjoy. Self-care does not have to be bubble baths and face masks. It might be reading your favorite book or spending time with family. Find something you love and schedule it in your calendar. This is crucial because it allows you to show up for work or sport in the right mindset. Mindset is everything and if you are burnt out, lacking passion and feeling unmotivated, it will be very difficult to succeed.
- Journaling. This practice is under utilized especially when it comes to performance at school, work, and sport. Journaling helps us become aware of underlying belief systems that may be holding us back. For example, when life at work becomes stressful, often we complain to family members, partners, and friends about how bad it is. This isn’t changing anything, nor is it helping in anyway. In fact, it’s creating more of those same issues and feelings of unhappiness. Journaling about your life and challenges, can help you become more conscious of underlying issues, you will also feel a sense of release and like you can finally let go and move to something more positive. After journaling about an issue at work for example, you may realize there is more going on than the issue at hand — this helps you unpack and rediscover what is truly bothering you. When you take the time ot become consciously aware of what is really going on, you can take steps to rectify it or move past it. Another way to journal for optimal performance is to write every single day 10 things you are grateful for — this simple practice helps one focus on the positive and ultimately become a more positive. With a positive mindset, you will perform better!
- Create an effective a routine. Routine helps us stick to good habits that serve us, and help us build a lifestyle that optimizes performance, whether that’s in school, work, or sport. Find out what works best for you and create a routine around it. Perhaps journaling and meditation is the best way to start your day — make it a routine to get up before work with enough time to practice both, before starting your day. Routine helped me personally create a schedule that was manageable and balanced. I found ways to incorporate the habits into my schedule that benefited me the most, and I was ultimately able to perform better as a result.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
Use the calendar on your phone. This will help you stay organized and when you have a calendar you can input time for yourself (self-care, meditation, journaling etc.). By writing it down or placing it into your calendar, you will keep the commitment to yourself and develop the habit over time.
Utilize your phone reminders! We can’t remember everything, but our phones can! If you have a habit of working late into the night, why not set up a reminder so your phone will buzz when it’s time to unwind and switch gears.
Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice that we can all use in our daily lives. Mindfulness brings conscious awareness to our everyday life. So much of our life is spent in autopilot we don’t even realize how we are spending our time!
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.
- Meditation — focus and meditation go hand in hand. When you develop a good meditation practice you will increase your ability to concentrate. I have grown up with a ‘short’ attention span my whole life, and meditation completely turned that around. I can focus clearly and remain focused for hours on end.
- Regular Social Media Detox Days. If you have never gone through a social media detox, try it! It can change your life. I love social media and I believe it has so many benefits — its an incredible way to feel connected and build a community of like-minded people. However, it can also reduce our ability to focus. Let’s look at TikTok for example — if you’re on the app you may notice that you become so used to taking in bite-sized videos of 15 seconds or less, that focusing on something like a 5-minute YouTube clip seems tedious and boring. Take regular social media detox days and disconnect for set period of time, you will feel refreshed with a renewed sense of focus.
- Batch your work. Multi-tasking has become the norm for many people, but this is not a good habit for focus or optimal performance. Get into the habit of batching your work. This may mean you spend the mornings checking e-mails from 8–9, then you spend 3 hours working on a project, then you dedicate the entire afternoon to a different initiative and finish the day with e-mail. By doing this, you learn to focus on the task at hand, rather than waiting to be ‘interrupted’ by an e-mail popping up every 5 minutes. This is a great habit to get into when you’re looking to improve your focus.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
- Downloading a meditation app and using it regularly (can even join a 21-day challenge or something like this for a set period).
- Ask a friend to join you on a social media detox for a set period of time — this will keep you accountable. Log out of all your accounts for the time period. At first, you will notice how often you pick up your phone to check your notifications.
- Effective scheduling: create a schedule for yourself that allows you to batch your work effectively. After a while, you will do it out of habit and will no longer need to schedule everything in your calendar this way,
As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?
For me, I realized I will never get in a state of flow doing something I hate. So, I think this is the most important aspect to achieving this more often– we need to follow our passion and do what we love. When we are completely aligned with our passion and pursuing something we love, finding this state of flow is so much easier.
Beyond this, we need to set aside time where we are uninterrupted and not trying to do 10 things at once. Finding your flow doesn’t come easily when you have IG notifications popping up every 5 minutes, text messages, and e-mails coming in hot. You have carve out time where you can really fall into your work, dedicating a few hours at a time to it with no distractions.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would inspire a movement where we no longer judge success by money or assets. Success would be defined on how closely aligned we are to our passion and purpose. To often we look at people who are enormously wealthy owning billion-dollar corporations, but they are deeply unhappy, stressed and not spending their days in alignment with their passions. You can have both. You can make money and do what you love.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
There are two people I have an enormous amount of respect for that I would love to learn more from. Gabrielle Bernstein and Marie Forleo. Two amazing women that are living their purpose authentically and leading the way for others.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.