Does your life need a pattern interrupt?

Jenna and I have been in Ojai for a few days now and it’s been awesome. It’s been so great to get out of L.A. and focus on creating.

In the last three days I’ve written about 15,000 words of my new book – which is about three chapters. I’ve never been so focused on one task at a time in my life. It’s been amazing. I’m feeling SO productive and feel like I will be able to wrap up the first pass of my new book by the time we leave Ojai.

I’m present that to get new results, you gotta change your rituals. I’ve written about rituals already this year, but I wanted to dive deeper.

There have been two major ritual changes that have helped me super focus on my book – and they are game changers.

The first one is getting rid of sugar. I was looking back at the first stuff I wrote when I had sugar in my life, and it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the stuff I’m writing now. It would take me forever to focus, I couldn’t hold a thought in my mind for very long – and as good as I am at writing blogs, writing chapters in a book is a much different thing. It requires focus and a different type of discipline.

Eliminating sugar from my diet has been a game changer.

The second game changer is being out of L.A. – out of routine and away from my email. In L.A. there is so much going on, so many distractions and with my iPhone and Blackberry going off every few seconds, the distractions are amazing.

I feel really bad not writing people back, but I just have to have tunnel vision right now because I’m on a serious deadline.

Last night Jenna and I wrote all day and all night. We were up at 8am and didn’t stop writing til midnight!

The change in environment has been a major contribution to the creative explosion, not having the distractions of the city and not being able to leave and attend so many other events has been awesome.

The combination of removing sugar from my diet and being in an environment that allows me to unplug and actually focus are both game changers. I think from now on, when I want to focus on a project, getting away and immersing myself in that project in a different environment is going to be part of my new strategy.

I already have an outline for my second book and am setting aside time to write it later in the year outside of L.A.

Stopping the sugar and being in an environment that supports focus have been two amazing gifts that have allowed me to finally finish this book. I had no idea how much I was holding myself back by being in an environment that didn’t support focus. I had no idea how much I was stifling my creativity by consuming sugar, thus limiting my focusing ability.

These two new rituals have been major pattern interrupts in my life, and I’m doing it so that I can fully express all that I know that I am supposed to express.

What pattern interrupts can you design into your life so that you can fully express yourself?

I’m curious.

Or – are you able to express yourself – even with all the distractions?

As always, the action happens in the comments below. Leave a comment and join the conversation! The TDL Community thrives in the comments and it’s a GREAT place to get support!



  • Medredith Henry

    I’m paraphrasing here, but the other day when you said the little choices we make a habit of every day (rituals) determine what kind of life we live really opened my eyes. I am starting to be more conscious about all the decisions I make during my days now. I can totally see how many little decisions daily can really steer where your life goes over time. For now I start my day with meditation, affirmations, and basic yoga. I make it a ritual to affirm all my kids during the day. I end the day by writing my blessings down. 

  • TDL reader

    Two words. Social Media. DISTRACTION!! big time…It’s like sugar

  • Bonnie

    Good Morning Mastin
    Congratulations on your writing progress. I can be creative and productive in different environments depending on my state of mind. Sometimes sitting in my kitchen with the beautiful mountain views, sometimes outside by the lake watching planes taking off the water. Sometimes the hustle, bustle, background music and muffled conversations at Starbucks is what I need. Like you discovered, just being open to changing things up once in awhile may be benificial. My e-mail subscriptions were getting out of hand so yesterday, I unsubscribed to a few of them that were not valuable enough for my time to read. The Daily Love will stay, it is my favorite.
    Happy writing Mastin, Hi Jenna
    Lots of Love

  • Wow, what a great post because I fight the same battle.  For 2013 I vowed to write a blog post for my health coaching biz every day of the week (I take off on the weekends) and to get that done I put an 8am alarm on my phone.  So whatever I am doing I will stop and write at 8am every day.  I’m not able to change locations since I have two teens, but since they are out of the house every day by 7, I do have my quiet ritual time.  I finished my book 6 months ago by blocking out time on my calendar, but that habit got broken (some how?) over time, so now it’s time to get back to it!  Thanks:)

  • Mastin – part of my daily routine is to read your blog and Brian’s entheos e-mail every morning. But before I do that I do my own listening – and my new 2013 commitment is to create a short video Moment of YES after the listening. I always do this first so that I am not inspired by other ideas before moving on. It was cool to see your message this morning after I had already down my listening. Here is the video:

    I was in Ojai a few months ago and ran into Brian at the farmers market. He has been a real inspiration for me – so it was an honor to finally meet him.

    Good luck with the book – and enjoy Ojai!!!


  • CaliShelley

    Thank you for this great question. My pattern interrupt will be related to how I socialize. Instead of walking to local restaurants and hangout spots to meet people and be engaged in my community, I need to identify some sporting clubs/events. I need to spend time outdoors, exercise my body, and interact with people doing the same. Then I will sleep better and be less distracted when working.

  • Tiffany

    This was a great article.I struggle with the same issues.I I am also trying to write a book and get some type of business off the ground. I also get distracted very easily and I believe that a change of environment may be great for me. sugar is also not my friend. I I have been eating more due to the fact that I am nervous about my great possibility. I will breath deeply next time I feel anxious. Tiffany

  • Tammy Harris

    Thank you for this great suggestion. As of January 1, I dropped television and Facebook. I wanted to ensure I was able to reach my new morning goals, distraction free. Between TV and FB, I hadn’t realized how much daily time I was investing. In a couple of weeks, I’ll go back to FB with new self imposed rules, and tv I’ll gradually introduce in February. Although, when those times come, I may change my mind completely and not engage at all.

    For now, I know that I’m more productive and I accomplish way more with my time. Thank you for reaffirming my decision and giving me the determination to keep new habits.

    • Asmaltz1120

      I tried dropping Facebook once and it only lasted 2 days. Maybe I need strict time limits, as I find it very useful for work and personal life, but don’t want it to consume so much time…let me know how it goes – [email protected] 🙂

  • I have a sugar problem too. You sharing your issues with it is definitely helping me open to eyes to how it can affect me negatively. I’m reducing my daily intake as part of my new daily rituals. Thank you

  •  I have a sugar problem too. You sharing your issues with it is
    definitely helping me open to eyes to how it can affect me negatively.
    I’m reducing my daily intake as part of my new daily rituals. Thank you

  • Cmggriffin

    Yes. I spend lots of time on facebook and it is a serious distraction. But I struggle because at the same time I like to know what’s going on in my friend’s lives. I can’t talk to them while at work so fb is my way to “see” them. I also am addicted to sugar and am working to eliminate it.

  • HFoatie

    I’m becoming very curious to what you are doing to handle your sugar intake…:)

  • Kim

    One might think that homework and paper writing needs quiet, uninterrrupted time.    When I was going to school online I could study and complete assignments in the middle of all kinds of distractions, TV, kids, music, vacation, what have you, on a very tight schedule. I graduated with honors.

    However, I have found writing fiction is a far cry from writing papers that basically regurgitate data. Being creative requires serious focus and dedication. I need time to myself to write and have been known to sequester myself in our room when we go to Vegas or Cripple Creek (a local casino spot) while my husband plays poker and we are both fine with that (we’ve had a lot of time to work this stuff out). I’ve also been known to hide out in our bedroom (It’s cozy, warm, and has soft lighting). I’m amazed at what comes through me when I have the right conditions to write in.

    Good luck with your book. Can’t wait to see it! 🙂

  • TDL Reader

    negative thinking is the worst pattern i have. it robs me of my self esteem and confidence. here’s to changing patterns!

  • KCBEntertainment

    I believe this is so true. I believe the journey/move that I am about to make will be beneficial to my writing process for many different reason. The first is that I will be in a place filled with love and my creative process will be respected and encouraged. The second is the fact that Im a city boy at heart and everything will be new so my level of excitement will be through the roof and the fact that I believe that only supports my theory. I look forward to it and I will allow myself to take it all in and remain on Gods time….

  • PB

    Thank you for being so honest about Sugar! That is a problem for me also. Keep up the good work. 

  • I live in a much quieter area (Central Coast) than LA and yet distractions are EVERYWHERE. Just last night I was on the phone complaining to my mentor how all I want to do is…WRITE…and friends keep calling and wanting to visit (or just talk on the phone). This has been a difficult one for me because I love chatting it up too, and I just don’t have time to do it ALL (Especially since my 5 year old wants to play Hide-N-Go-Seek…Daily). This is when I need to serve my heart’s direction and learn to “Not Mind” if people do not understand. So, this means I need to say, “NO Thanks,” from time to time. When I am stressing myself out with saying, “NO,” I am wasting precious energetic TIME. I WANT to do it all. And, that is not possible. I know that the people who really love me, will encourage me. Hopefully, I will energetically encourage them to follow their heart and dreams as well by setting an example. Learning to “NOT MIND” people’s opinions has been a HUGE lesson for me, and the more I do it…the easier it gets!!!!
    The Daily Commenter, Kathleen 

  • Kat

    Social Media kills my focus and creative attention. It’s a definite drug. Sugar is another and I’m working to eliminate it from my diet right now. Starting a daily meditation and journal practice has helped immensely with how I’m starting to schedule and focus my days but social media is STILL a big bother. It’s awful! I feel like I need to limit my time on it to only 30 minutes a day or 2 different times of the day and the rest needs to be dedicated to working on my craft and cultivating my creativity.

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  • YES! Go Mastin! Congrat’s…I think we can feel your beeming energy through today’s writing.  🙂

  • LAS

    This is so spot on. I tried something new this year. I decided to take just a 30 day break from something I don’t even like “that” much (meat) because I’m not ready to take on my bigger vices. This simple pattern interrupt (that doesn’t even feel like much of a sacrifice) is surprisingly huge! Meat is so habitual that I have to be mindful of my food which in turn is making me more mindful of all decisions surrounding food. I am shocked by the positive impact while feeling no deprivation. So, if giving up what you love sounds too hard, give up something you don’t love all that much. You might be thrilled with the spillover effect.

  • Robynshay

    Great article Mastin!  I too have practically eliminated sugar.  Ive found that to “get off it, you have to get off it”!    I never thought I could do it, but the longer you go without it the easier it gets…the cravings are gone!!   

     You just inspired me to head out to Palm Springs and get away from it all and focus. 
    Thank you

  • I can totally relate. The cleaner my diet is the better I feel. I’m also going to an Abbey next week for a silent retreat. Looking forward to not having to talk and just being able to listen. 

  • Queen

    Some patterns in my life that need an interrupt is drinking beer and wine especially late at night. Over the holidays I created a habit of drinking alcohol and now I’m drinking a beer everyday, which is soo not good. Also, a pattern that needs interrupt is how I go to bed at night. I crash into bed with out meditating, planning my day or doing my gratitude book. Doing those things would definitely spring board the next day and give me the energy to get started.