5 Research-backed Ways to Have More Discipline —Dr. Abby Medcalf, Founder, Abby Medcalf Thriving, LLC

Is there something you have been thinking about doing or talking about getting started for a while now, but you haven’t yet? Maybe starting a home repair, starting that book you’ve been wanting to write, or maybe starting a new business? If you’re like me there are many, both big and small, that come to mind, such as changing out a bunch of lightbulbs at our house. 

Much of this comes down to discipline. And, discipline is a subject that is not often discussed in American culture, but it seems to be the difference between people achieving or not achieving their goals.

Our guest today is Dr. Abby Medcalf, who talks about the five ways to have more discipline. Abby Medcalf is a Relationship Maven, psychologist, author, podcast host, and Tedx speaker who has helped thousands of people create happy, connected relationships. 

With over 30 years of experience and recently featured in the New York Times, Abby is a recognized authority and sought-after speaker at organizations such as Google, Apple, AT&T, Kaiser, PG&E, American Airlines and Chevron. She’s the author of the #1 Amazon best-selling book, “Be Happily Married, Even if Your Partner Won’t Do a Thing,”



  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abbymedcalf 
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abby-medcalf-phd-718969b8/ 
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abbymedcalfthriving/ 
  • TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@abbymedcalfphd 
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbbyThriving 


  1. Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (2013).
  2. Walter Mischel, The Marshmallow Test (2014).
  3. Terrie E. Moffitt et al., “A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety,” PNAS 108, no. 7 (2011): 2693-2698.
  4. Daniel F. Kripke et al., “Mortality Related to Actigraphic Long and Short Sleep,” Sleep Med 12, no. 1 (2011): 28-33.
  5. Brandon J. Schmeichel and Kathleen Vohs, “Self-affirmation and self-control: affirming core values counteracts ego depletion,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96, no. 4 (2009): 770-782.
  6. Veronika Job, Carol S. Dweck, and Gregory M. Walton, “Ego depletion – Is it all in your head? Implicit theories about willpower affect self-regulation,” Psychological Science 21, no. 11 (2010): 1686-93).
  7. MS Hagger et al., “Ego depletion and the strength model of self-control: a meta-analysis,” Psychol Bull. 136, no. 4 (2010):495-525.
  8. R. Baumeister and J. Tierney, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength (New York: Penguin Press, 2011).
  9. M. Friese, C. Messner, and Y. Schaff


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If you are interested in being a guest on our podcast, please complete this request form or email podcast@bigskyfranchise.com and a team member will be in touch.


Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:00):

Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast, where each week we help growth minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team, and as we open today, I’m wondering if there’s anything you’ve been thinking about doing or talking about getting started for a while, but you haven’t yet. Maybe starting a home repair, starting to write that book you’ve been wanting to for a while, or maybe starting a new business or franchising your business. If you’re like me, there are many things, both big and small, that come to mind. Such in my case, is changing out a bunch of light bulbs around my house.


Well, much of this idea of getting things started and going comes down to discipline. And discipline is a subject that’s often not discussed in American culture, but it seems to be the difference between people achieving or not achieving their goals. Our guest today is Dr. Abby Medcalf, who shares with us five ways to have more discipline. Abby is a relationship maven, psychologist, author, podcast host, and TEDx speaker who’s helped thousands of people create happy, connected relationships. With over 30 years of experience and recently being featured in the New York Times, Abby’s a recognized authority and sought after speaker at organizations such as Google, Apple, AT&T, Kaiser, PG&E, American Airlines and Chevron. She’s also the author of the number one Amazon best-selling book, Be Happily Married Even if Your Partner Won’t Do a Thing. So let’s go ahead and jump into my interview with Abby Medcalf.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (01:39):

Abby Medcalf, I’m a PhD, and my company is Abby Medcalf Thriving because that’s all I’m about, and I’m the owner of it. It is me and some wonderful support staff.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:52):

Oh, I love it. Well, one of the things that stands out when we were first introduced together, I love this line that you’re called a relationship maven. And so that just stands out. It just catches your attention. But what does it mean? So I was thinking maybe we could just get started there and saying, okay, well what does being a relationship maven mean?

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (02:14):

Sure. People always ask, what do you do? And it’s so hard because I’m a psychologist, and I’m a this, and I’m a that, and I’m an author and whatever, but really mavens… I’m a nice Jewish girl from New York, nice Jewish doctor from New York, there you go. Mavens in Yiddish it’s someone with a deep understanding. That’s really what it means. If you’re a maven of something, you really know this topic well and it interests you and you just find it exciting, and that’s me with relationships. I worked in corporate for many years. I loved it there. I worked with executives, I loved it there. And now I’ve sort of shifted and do the podcast and other things and do it there. I love them at home, I love them at work. I’m the person talking to the guy at the deli counter giving me my stuff. I’m chatting away about their kids or something. I really love all that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:10):

Oh, that’s so great. Well, and with that, one of the things that I was hoping we could talk about today and what really interested me in having you on the show is this concept of five ways to have more discipline. So I’d love, if you wouldn’t mind, just to talk through the five ways, and what it means, and how they all interrelate together.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (03:32):

Interrelate, oh yeah. Well, and we said it briefly before. And I’m always going to say we know from the research, and I’m happy to send you links to all the research. So you let me know and you can put them on your show notes.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:45):

Yeah, I’d love that.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (03:46):

Okay, we will do that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:47):

If you send some over, we’ll include it in the show notes.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (03:49):

So anyone listening, I’m going to have all your research for you because I’m a research junkie. I’m crazy with it. So what we know is that the key to your happiness and your success in all of your relationships is your ability to resist urges, which is willpower, self-discipline, self-control, grit, whatever you want to call it. Okay, that’s what it is. So if you think about well, I want to get more fit, well you have to resist the urge to sit on your couch and not do something. If you want to eat healthier, you have to resist the urge for the donut. If you want to have a great relationship with your partner, you have to resist the urge to snap at them. There’s everywhere you look, you want to be more productive, you have to resist the urge to be distracted and go on social media, right? No matter what topic I give you, that is at the center.


So I talk about it a lot on my podcast, Relationships Made Easy, because I’m all about making them easier. And people come in all the time saying, “Well, I just need to work on communication.” And it’s like there are some building blocks you’re missing, which is why communication isn’t working. So for anyone listening who’s having any trouble anywhere, to me this is what it’s all about.


So the first thing I always talk about, which is my little bent on the research, is this. We know from most of it that willpower’s an exhaustible resource, right? There’s a Stanford study that says something a little different, but there’s mostly the predominance is, the preponderance of it is you wake up with the most you’re going to have, and we all know what it feels like if we’ve had a crappy night sleep, right? We don’t feel like working out, we don’t feel like eating well, you wake up with the most you’re going to have.


So sleep, by the way, is your number one thing if you want to have more discipline. Again, your prefrontal cortex works better. You’re working less on emotion and more on rational thinking. So you need to get your butt to bed, you need to go to sleep. So sleep is really the first one, even though I was going to make it the second one, but sleep is your first thing if you want that. And we know for adults we need, Daniel Kripke, his research shows we need something like six and a half to seven and a half hours a night, and everyone’s a little different. Some people need more, some people need less, but it’s about that. So go to bed. Go to bed, get your butt to bed.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (06:06):

Well, and by the way, I think that’s great because so many people tuning into this, they are entrepreneurs, they’re high performing CEOs and leaders of organizations, and I would venture to guess, myself included, am not getting enough sleep or as much as I should be.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (06:25):

Yep. You really will feel completely different. So I always say your day doesn’t start when your alarm goes off. Your day starts when you set your alarm at night. That is where your next day is starting. So if you can start thinking of it that way, you will change your life right there. So now I’m getting enough sleep, I wake up my, and we’ll call them willpower units for today’s conversation, okay? How many little units you wake up with of willpower? And so it’s the highest first thing in the morning, and that’s why most people decide their diet and decide they’re going to do all these wonderful things all day, and then what are most people doing by about six o’clock at night, right?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:03):


Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (07:03):

You know.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:03):

Oh yeah, oh yeah. That’s right.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (07:04):

So we get home from work and we think… Let’s even say you got home early, or if you work from home and you stop, shut off the computer at 6:00 and you’re like, “I don’t go to bed till 11:00. I got five hours, I’m going to go to the gym, I’m going to do this, I’m going to clean the closet, I’m going to talk to my kids, I’m going to go for a walk.” Yeah, and in about an hour you’re on the couch binge watching something you shouldn’t be, and eating things you probably shouldn’t be, or drinking, or whatever you do. The reason is because, and this is really the big takeaway I think for today, is that it’s not how much time is left in your day, it’s how much mind you have left in your day, because you have time. Time isn’t your issue.


Time is not most people’s issue, it is how much mind you have, how much thinking you have, how much brain power you have left, and by six o’clock at night we often have very little left. So when you’re taking on something new, if you want to have more self-discipline and more control, you have to think about first, how do I shift this, how do I start making the shift? Little things. How do I start making the shift? And that is by thinking about what you can take off your plate or what resources you can add from outside your family. Most of us, we look to our partners, right? I’m always like, “Gary, I need the…” If I can’t do it, I look to him, right? You need to do this thing because I can’t get it done. The problem is you’re a shared battery with your partner.


So when you give something to them, you’re draining yourself. So people say take this off my plate. It’s the same plate, you’re moving around the mashed potatoes. So you have to look outside the couple. Hey, kid down the street, I’ll pay you 20 bucks a week, walk my dog, or clean up the dog poop in the backyard if you’re me, because I hated yelling at my kids to do that. So just let’s hire someone, right? Bring in any resource. If you don’t have money, mom of the kid I barely know, do you want to drive the kids to school on Monday and Wednesday and I’ll drive on Tuesday and Thursday? I just got two mornings, right?


You are looking for ways to take things truly off the plate and things that you maybe think you have to have to do that you don’t have to have to do. So either take things off completely off the shared collective family plate, don’t just look at your other members to do it, or add resources from outside. What happens when you do this is you have more bandwidth, you have now more emotional bandwidth to do the things that are most important to you. And most important to you is not picking up the dog poop in the backyard, I’ll tell you that right now, for your life goals. I don’t think so anyway, depending on what your goals are.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (09:42):

That’s right. Well, it’s interesting with what you said there about the shared between your husband, or wife, or your spouse, your partner. I wonder, do you see a similar, in the nuclear family, do you see that transition into business partnerships?

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (10:01):


Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:01):

Where there are business partners. I’d be curious your thoughts on that.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (10:04):

Yes. Oh my gosh. And I just did a podcast episode on couples who work together, because I have so many people I work with who work together these days, especially this.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:14):


Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (10:14):

We’re all entrepreneurs, we’re all doing our thing, right? And yeah, always looking, that’s what happens. I used to work with executives of multinationals and their assistants a lot and how they did that, right? Well, I can’t do it, you got to do it. And that’s a marriage in and of itself, right? I know my assistant is my right hand and I can’t always look like just keep dumping on her. It’s who else can we hire to take this on? How can we outsource this? What else can we delegate outside the business partners? And I know that, again, money is tough sometimes in the beginning of a business. But like any business, what I see mostly is that people don’t allocate enough to the business, especially as entrepreneurs who don’t have a brick-and-mortar.


If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar, if I’m opening a bakery, I’m figuring out all the money I need to raise to open this bakery, and I’m thinking of all those things. But when you have something that you’re doing at home, people don’t. I hear it all the time, I’m shocked. People really don’t put think, they’re always looking to cut corners, always looking to save money. What happens is you are not betting on yourself. I’m the best bet in town, so I’m going to take out a loan on myself that I’m going to produce and I’m going to do amazing things every time. Why would I cut a corner there? Because I know my time is best used not in … When I was first starting the podcast, it lost a lot of money in the beginning. You know, right? I was just paying out of pocket for this thing that I wanted to help people, and I was just doing. I was just paying, that it wasn’t… But I knew, because I’m not going to sit and I don’t edit my podcasts, I don’t do anything. It all goes up, we have editors, we have people, we have people. And even that, my assistant does all of that. I only talk to my assistant, that’s it. My virtual online manager, she talks to all the other 50 people, only me to her. That’s it, and I trust her to get the stuff done.


So even there, right, we’re outsourcing even beyond her. So we’re not taxing just the two of us, and I’m not taxing myself by talking to 50 people and saving money by not paying her because I’m not saving money. I’m not saving money, unless you’re assuming you’re not going to make any money, you’re certainly not saving money. And so right away, and a little off topic, but I would say go figure out what you want to charge an hour and what your time is worth, and then math that back to what you should be doing in your business and not. But I will tell you for sure, yes, outsource, invest the money in yourself. I think that’s a top priority. I know that was off topic, but…

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:03):

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Yeah, and I lost track on which number we were on here for the [inaudible 00:13:09], but I know we’re in the middle somewhere.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (13:11):

We’re in the middle. So we’ve got sleep. We have really understanding your kind of willpower units and how those work, and that you’re having your mind in the day, not your time. When you’re starting a new habit, we know from Phillippa Lally’s research and most of the others that it takes an average of 66 days. So I always say three months. The key that no one tells you is that when you’re creating a new habit, it drains your willpower for a while until it becomes a habit. Getting yourself to the gym, getting yourself to eat healthy, getting yourself to whatever is initially going to drain your willpower. Now, once you make it a habit, you add to those willpower units, we’ll call them, that you wake up with in the morning. So instead of waking up with 100 units, now I eat well, I exercise every day, I’m meditating, now I wake up with 150 to spend all day.


So now at seven o’clock at night, I’m not exhausted because I’ve got money in the tank, I’ve got gas in the tank, right? I’ve got something left, which will also help your sleep, because what do most people say? Well, this is my only me time. I need to be a vegetable, I need to hang out. I don’t personally need that anymore because I do all the things I preach. So I’m not exhausted, I’m moving, I’m doing, I’m having a great time, and then I get my butt to bed at 9:00 because I wake up at 4:00 because I want to work out and I want to do the things that I need to do to be successful for me. I’m not saying everyone needs to do that, and I did that incrementally. So I don’t have to veg out all night watching TV. I don’t need it anymore, and I used to. So your sleep, the one new habit at a time. One new habit at a time, that is really what you want to be doing, and thinking of how much mind is in your day, and then building the willpower to get more habits.


Regular exercise. I hated learning this. I want sitting on my couch eating Oreos to be how I develop more discipline, but apparently that’s not correct, and I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. So really we know that regular exercise, again, really helps build the willpower muscle, because we know that it’s kind of a muscle, and really will help you long term wake up with more of those willpower units to spend during the day. Because that’s always what you’re trying to do in some shape, manner, way or form. Improving your food. Again, it’s from the research, it’s so crazy. You think, really, food, sleep and exercise? But yes, food, sleep and exercise are absolutely needed. Again, we know that when you’re eating kind of junkier food, you make more emotional decisions. Again, that does not bode well for having discipline. That bodes well for having short term gratification and what I want now and wanting more of it. Most of us know what that’s like. If you sort of wake up and maybe you don’t work out first thing, and then you start eating kind of poorly because you haven’t worked out, so why not? Then how that kind of snowballs throughout the day. Even as you try to stop it, it gets really difficult. So you want to back that train up and really think about first things first and the day.


I talk a lot about positive momentum. So if I have a car on top of a big hill and it starts to roll, but I don’t want it to, do I want to run to the bottom of the hill to stop it or do I want to stay at the top, as close as I can, and keep it up on top of the hill? And it’s not a trick question, it’s obvious, right? We want to stay at top of the hill, but people don’t do this. They wake out of bed, here’s my favorite, you hit the snooze alarm. Worst thing you could be doing, we know it creates sleep inertia, sleep grogginess. You’re more tired later if you hit the snooze, tons of research on this. It’s the first thing I have everyone do. It’s also your first frigging commitment to yourself of the day and you didn’t keep it. So why would I bother keeping any other commitment? And then my alarm goes off and my first thoughts are not enough, didn’t get enough sleep. I’m so tired, I didn’t get enough, and you can’t start your day with not enough. You can’t start your day with not enough and think it’s going to be a great day.


So I get up at 4:20 actually because I think it’s funny, because it’s like the pot thing. So I find it amusing and I’m in recovery, so I find it amusing. So I’m giggling every morning when I first wake up, but I look at positive momentum right there. And we know there’s research out of, most of this is Trier, Germany, university in Germany. We know that we weigh adrenaline, it’s terrible, but that’s the way our bodies are built. So you want to counteract that right away and not get caught up in that. So taking that moment to have a nice, deep breath, turn on that vagus nerve, bring your attention to something positive in the room, but stay on top of your momentum because most people don’t, and they just fly out of bed, and they fly and they’re all on autopilot all day, and they get to the end of the day and not even the end, they get to six o’clock and they crash.


So you of course it’s too late then to make a healthy decision, frankly. You were making crappy ones all day. Your best bet is to have some Oreos and go to bed and start again tomorrow. You know what I mean? Just go to bed on time. That’s your best bet right there. Stop trying to kill yourself, just go to sleep. Just go to sleep, reset, wake up and do it again, and do it better today, right? And with all of these habits, all these ways with discipline, you want to think often about incremental changes, incrementally. It’s almost like nothing to see here. You don’t want your brain getting worried. It’s like nothing to see here, move along. We’re not changing any habits.


I had BJ Fogg on the podcast last year. Thought his book Tiny Habits is amazing, great research, and that’s what you want to think about. Little tiny habits you can start to build within these, right? So I didn’t start waking up at 4:00 in the morning, 4:20 in the morning. I started at a half hour before my regular wake up time, and I kept moving it back. Do you know what I mean? Over time, I slowly got there. I didn’t panic my system, but that’s what people do. If you’re going to start working out, don’t join a bootcamp if you haven’t been working out for a year. Just stop that. If you need to want to start exercising, take a walk after dinner, just start there. Have a nice walk after dinner, and once you get good at that, try one more. Maybe go from 10 minutes to 15 minutes, maybe walk faster, right? Just little increments we know are really what gets you there, because it doesn’t worry the brain, because your brain hates change, hates uncertainty. You have a whole part of your brain, your locus coeruleus, its whole job is to look for uncertainty and ambiguity, hates it. So just don’t do it. Just little tiny things, little small things that get you there.


Then the last piece is really you got to learn to manage your stress better. You have to learn to manage your stress better. I mean, if you just want to look at the research, meditation and mindfulness, I don’t know what to say. Been teaching it for years to the executives I work with. We always called it attention training before, because you couldn’t say mindfulness 20 years ago to people. They’d freak out. So you said we’re doing attention training. Oh, I want to train my attention. Well, good. But that’s the things it’ll give you. So those are your big five.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:34):

Oh, that’s fantastic. Well, I love these five. Thank you for that. This is a great time just to make a transition. I love this transition point. It’s very natural for us just to ask you the same questions that we ask every guest before they go. The first question is, have you had a miss or two in your career and something you’ve learned from it?

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (20:57):

Oh my god, I think I’ve had more misses I think than hits, I’ll tell you that. But I think my biggest one was really, and it’s really before, kind of as my career was starting, but I’m a recovering heroin addict. So you want to talk about a big miss. It is being an addict and thinking that I could create a great life from that and using too much and thinking that that was going to work, and obviously it does not. So I think I had a decade of miss there and being sort of behind things, and then having poor boundaries in the beginning of my career. Saying yes to too much, always wanting to please, always wanting to… I was only as good as my last yes. And learning to say no, which probably gets us to the next thing, but learning to say no became really huge for my self-respect, for other people respecting me. But my biggest miss was saying yes way too much for way too long.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:00):

Oh yeah, I relate to that for sure. Well, let’s talk about a make or two.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (22:07):

I’ve had a lot of good ones there. I think the make is often about going for it. Do you know what I mean? Being bold and just saying yes. I think of many years ago now, I was an intern at Hewlett-Packard and my PhD is in organizational psychology. So I was doing that, and I’m in recovery, and somebody knew. I was nobody, I was brand new, I was there maybe … I didn’t work there very long, I think I was there three months. And one guy said to me, “Hey, aren’t you Medcalf? Aren’t you in recovery? Don’t you know about drugs?” And I said, “Yeah, I know about drugs.” They had an executive with a drug problem, and he said, “Well, you’ve done that before, right? You’ve worked with executives with drug problems.” And I was like, “Yeah.” The answer of course was no, I’ve never, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m an intern, I’m starting. And I had had the work experience before, and I just went with my instincts. I was like, I’m going to be really good at that. That’s something I can really do, and it became a niche for many years for me, and a lot of money and success from that niche. So that was, I think, one of the bigger ways of just going for things and trusting my gut has been a lot of my wins.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (23:25):

Oh yeah, that’s great. Thank you for sharing that. And let’s talk about a multiplier, or two or three, that you’ve used in growing, whether it’s yourself, your career, anything you’d like to share there.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (23:40):

Yeah, I mean, for me the biggest game changer has been meditation, without a doubt, without a doubt. I was meditating before it was cool, we were doing mindfulness before it was cool. So it’s kind of good for me. I’ve been sort of ahead of this curve, which has been really nice. But I’ve been meditating for, gosh, 25 years now. It is the game changer as far as I am very energetic. I have a lot of ideas, I have a lot of creativity, I’m a lot. Meditation has helped me streamline that, without a doubt. I do want to say 15 minutes is all you need to do. It’s all I do. You do not have to do hours and hours of meditation. If you want to, you can, but we’re meant to be in this world here. We are not meant to be sitting on a rock somewhere for hours a day, I don’t think. Some people do that, that’s great, but that’s not how I want to live. 15 minutes, the research shows it’s all you need. It’s all you need. I would say that’s the biggest one I’ve had.


Then coaching, asking for help. I just hired an old coach again to do… I’m going to start a membership in January. I was like, “Oh, let me get a coach to help me through that a little bit.” So yeah, I know how to do it, I know all the things, but I love having that support. I love having the accountability. I know what works best for me and getting help and getting that kind of help I would highly, highly, highly recommend. Thinking we can just do it all on our own gets us in a lot of trouble.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (25:08):

Yeah. Finding great people to help in all areas, right? I think it’s great.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (25:15):


Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (25:16):

Well Abby, the final question we ask every guest before they go is, what does success mean to you?

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (25:22):

Yeah. I talk about this one all the time, so it’s easy, but I always say there’s two things. It’s joy and growth. So anything that brings me those two things is successful for me. Whatever it is, doesn’t matter. So joy and growth. We’re here, we’re meant to be joyful, and I’m sorry to all the entrepreneurs listening who are not feeling joyful. Yes, you are meant to have joy in your life all the time. I use that always for whatever I do in my business, because I get offered lots of stuff, right? Now the podcast is big, and the book, Amazon number one best seller, blah blah, blah, all the things. I get offered sponsors, all kinds of things all the time, and I always put them through that filter. Is it going to bring me joy to do it, and am I going to have growth? Am I going to grow as a human in some way from this, in my business, in my personal life? What’s it going to do? Because I’m always looking to do that because I know success always is a part of that every time.


I added the joy filter. It used to just be growth way back, and then I added the joy filter about 15 years ago. Going, what am I doing? Why am … Because then I would be miserable at something, I’d say yes to something I didn’t really feel, and I would then not be good at it and it wouldn’t go well. You know what I mean? Or worse, it would go well somehow and I would hate it and I’d be then stuck in something that I didn’t like that was going well.


The one thing I do that everybody can do who’s listening is once an idea gets said to me, or if I even think of one, I just sit for one second, I close my eyes and I do a very immediate check. Do I feel energized by this idea or innervated, drained by this idea? And I’m telling you, it’s correct like 99.9% of the time. That’s my answer. I can just feel how I feel when someone says something like, “Oh, you need to do more social media, do it this way.” And I’m like, ugh. It’s not my bag and I can feel my energy drain. It’s like, nope, I know everyone says you have to have success, it’s the only way to do it, it’s the only thing, and don’t listen to those people because I’ve got great success and I really don’t have a big social media following.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (27:31):

Abby, one of the things I’d love for you to share before you go here is just to talk about your book and some of the things you’re doing. So how can people find out more about you, read more from what you’re producing, listen to your podcast. Share some resources.

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (27:47):

Sure, yeah. So my website is really where everything lives, which I’m sure you’ll link to, but it’s Abby Medcalf, A-B-B-Y-M-E-D-C-A-L-F.com, abbymedcalf.com, and everything is there. So the podcast is everywhere, Relationships Made Easy. So you can find that obviously on Spotify or any of the places you get podcasts. You can buy the book there or on Amazon, it’s called Be Happily Married Even if Your Partner Won’t Do a Thing.


I have a book coming out later early in 2023, Boundaries Made Easy it’s called. So I’m sort of doing the made easy thing and a membership is starting. But on my website, on the shop page, for anyone who’s interested, you don’t have to shop, you don’t have to spend a penny, you don’t have to put in a credit card. I’m never sleazy, I hate sleazy. But what there is, there’s a free meditation starter kit and a free mindfulness starter kit. Again, you don’t have to put, it’s on the shop page, but it really is completely free. There’s no weird emails, you won’t get 50 emails after, you won’t, nothing. It’s not a funnel, it doesn’t go anywhere. It is just meant to be helpful. So I really always want people to have something they can walk away with to dip their toe in the water. Then yeah, of course, if you really like meditation, I have a thing you can buy. And if you really liked it, yeah, sure you can, but you absolutely don’t have to.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (29:08):

As we bring this to a close, is there anything you are hoping to say or share that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Abby Medcalf, Abby Medcalf Thriving LLC (29:13):

I think this idea of really understanding ourselves and knowing what we’re good at and what we’re not. And if you have tried to do things before and they haven’t worked, and you have been saying every day you promise yourself you’re going to do X, Y, or Z tomorrow, is to really stop and really think about your word. When you commit to something, when you say to yourself, and I don’t care who’s listening, just yourself is the most important person. If you say you’re going to do something, it’s really important to do it. So take things off the list that you say you’re going to do. Start again small. Start with that one thing. Don’t hit the snooze anymore. You say you’re going to get up at 5:30, get up at frigging 5:30 or set your alarm for 6:00. Do not do anything in between. That’s what I’m talking about.


If you say you’re going to eat breakfast every day, eat breakfast, make sure you have breakfast, even if it’s like a cheese stick. I don’t care. Maybe don’t get all involved in the healthy breakfast, and the steel-cut oats, and I have to cook them for 12 hours and all the rest of that. Just I’m going to start by having breakfast, and after a while of having something, this habit of eating something every day and making time for that, maybe I’ll have a little more time to do something, I’ll make an egg. You know what I mean? Just incremental changes, but know yourself and when you commit, when you say something to yourself that you’re going to do, do it because that is really how you start building your true self-confidence and your self-esteem.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (30:41):

Abby, thank you so much for a fantastic interview and let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is when Abby said, it’s not how much time you have left in the day, it’s how much mind you have left in the day. She was really speaking to this idea of willpower, and which leads us to takeaway number two, where she said think about willpower and how you can improve it. These are the five ways to improve discipline, increase willpower. She said sleep, regular exercise, what you eat, get positive momentum and manage your stress better. All of these things go into it. So think about these topics she talked about.


Takeaway number three is to think about making incremental changes or little tiny adjustments to accomplishing or achieving those goals. For example, she said if you want to wake up at 5:00 in the morning and you’re currently waking up at 7:00 in the morning, start by waking up maybe 30 minutes earlier, or if you want to start exercising more, go for a walk. She was talking about these small things you can do, and she referenced the book Atomic Habits. It also made me think of The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy as well, is a similar concept. And now it’s time for today’s win-win.


So today’s win-win is when Abby talked about the key to happiness in your relationships is your ability to resist urges, and that she said can be described as willpower, self-control, grit and so on. And she said one of the best ways is, she closed the interview with this, I loved how she said this. She said, “When you say something to yourself, to commit to getting it done.” That’s how you build confidence and being able to do that improves the relationships you have with all of the people in your lives, with your spouse, with your business partners, the people you work with, your customers and so on.


So that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone you know might be ready to franchise their business or take their franchise company to the next level, please connect with us at bigskyfranchiseteam.com. Thanks for tuning in and we look forward to having you back next week.

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