Happy 4th of July! It’s a wonderful day to celebrate.

While it’s important to remember and be thankful to all the men and women who fought so bravely to win our freedom, it’s also important to make this a very personal holiday too.

“No man is free who is not master of himself.” Epictetus

When I was a child under the strict supervision of my parents and teachers, I thought freedom meant being able to do whatever I want whenever I felt like it. I could not wait to become an adult, so I could have my own way.

I was going to eat what I wanted, any time I felt like it. I was a chubby kid and the adults in my life were always admonishing me if I indulged in all the treats everyone else ate with impunity. The more they told me no, the more I wanted it.

By the time I went off to college I was ready to rebel in every way possible. My freshman “15” became my freshman “30.” I was trapped in a body I didn’t like at all. My self-esteem suffered along with my social life.

My “freedom” was feeling more like a cage.

“So far as your self-control goes, as far goes your freedom.”

When I am living my life consciously, this is easy to remember. When life gets too busy and my daily routines take a back seat, this is easy to forget.

Anticipating those backwards steps can make all the difference in the world. When you anticipate, you can create a plan for getting back on track.

It’s not the impact of messing up your schedule that’s a big deal. It’s the cumulative impact of never getting back on track.

For that reason, it’s critical to let go of all or nothing thinking and stick to your schedule, even if it’s only in a very small way.

Don’t have enough time to do a full workout?

Just squat.

Don’t have enough time to write an article?

Write a paragraph.

Don’t have enough time to do yoga?

Take ten seconds to breathe.

Don’t have enough time to go on vacation?

Give yourself a mini–break and drive to the neighboring town.

Individually, these behaviors seem pretty insignificant. But it’s not the individual impact that makes a difference.

It’s the cumulative impact of always sticking to your schedule that will carry you to long–term success.

Find a way to stick to the schedule, no matter how small it is and celebrate the freedom of being the master of your own destiny.