10 HABITS THAT MAKE YOU MORE SUCCESSFUL
I feel like I need to start this post off by saying that the word "success" means a little something different to everyone. To me, I determine my success based on how much time I have, but back when I was 18, I determined success based on how much money I made. The change in my mindset happened as I have grown over the years and made more money only to realize that making money doesn't mean anything if I don't even have time to enjoy it.
I was working insane hours every week. Like I'm talking 12-14 hour days of work (or at least what I thought to be work at that time) but I never really got anywhere and I was totally burnt out. I just kept telling myself that the grind was normal and all I was doing was hustling - which is probably one of the scariest lies I have ever told myself.
As an entrepreneur, I thought hustling was normal. I thought I just had to work harder than anyone else and that's just what comes with owning a business. But that's so far from the truth. I did not decide to become my own boss so that I could work more, I did this so I could work less and make more.
It's an awful lie to believe that success only comes in the form of cash. It's toxic to think like that and if you put your whole mentality on the idea of chasing money you will wind up in a downward spiral of depression. And even though maybe that's just my opinion, I have also seen it and experienced it.
For so long when I first began I thought that I would feel as though I "made it" if I was able to charge X amount for a wedding or a photoshoot or if I made X amount that year. But then I met those goals and I didn't feel any different. In fact, I almost felt worse because bigger money equals bigger problems. I was so overwhelmed and so stressed out and had no time for my relationships, my friends, my family. I didn't have time to ride my horses anymore - something that I literally became a business owner to be able to do more. And I actually found myself doing it less. Crazy right?? So let me ask you, where do you see yourself in this situation? Or where are you in your own journey? Are you chasing dollar signs or are you chasing freedom?
Once I came to the realization that I was in this really toxic, never ending cycle I knew something had to change and that "something" began with my mindset. I started reading articles, listening to podcasts and absorbing up any kind of tips and tricks I could from people I looked up to. I started to change my habits, and create new ones and do things for myself that I have not done in a long time. And do you know what it did? It made me happier, but also, it made my profits go up. Now that I was actually taking the time to take care of myself and get back to doing the things I loved, it actually benefitted my bank account and grew my business.
I want to share some of the things I consider key elements to my "success" but again remember, just because these worked for me doesn't mean they will all work for you. You only get out of it what you put into it. So if you are just going through the motions you may not see the results you are hoping for. These things didn't come easy at first, I had to remind myself every single day why I was doing it and how I believed it would help and pretty soon it did.
WAKE UP EARLY
Let's be real, we all love to sleep and we all wish we could have more sleep, amen? But it's funny to me how things change over time. When I was in high school and college, I was a major night owl. I loved to stay up until 3am for no real reason - I think I just enjoyed the quiet time in the middle of the night knowing that the world around me was asleep. I felt my most productive at night. But what came with staying up late was also sleeping in really late. I would sleep in until 10am or sometimes even later. And to me, that felt like a total waste of my time because now there were all these people who already had accomplished so many things during the day and I was barely stumbling out of bed.
I really wanted to change this habit, and I had listened to so many podcasts that talk about the science behind waking up early. Did you know your brain is actually more productive in the morning when you first wake up vs. before you go to bed? You are able to obtain more information and remember more things first thing in the morning. I'm also a total nerd when it comes to studying habits of others and I noticed that all of the millionaires and successful entrepreneurs I look up to all wake up before sunrise. So I gave it a shot.
I started in 30 minute increments. I knew what time I usually woke up so I would set an alarm for 30 minutes earlier every single day until I got to my ideal wake up time, which is 4:30am. Yes you read that right. 4:30 in the morning. And it has been a total game changer in the way I run my business and my life. By waking up so early I am able to have a consistent morning routine of getting my coffee, reading my bible for an hour, showering and starting my work day by 7am. Which in turn means I am able to finish my work day usually by 3pm. This is super important to me because it gives me time to then go to the gym to end my night, and come home to hang out with family and relax with a glass of wine and my favorite Netflix show or a good book.
Now because I know this question is coming next, you may be wondering - what time do I go to bed? Typically I try to be in bed by 9:30pm at the latest but I am kind of bad at this since my natural instincts as a night owl tells me otherwise. And I am the type of person that doesn't need a lot of sleep to function. But I do try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Where are my water haters at? I should probably raise my hand with you because for the longest time I was seriously the absolute worst at drinking water. I would even goes as far as saying that I hated water. I much preferred iced tea, or soda or anything else that was terrible for me. I still struggle with drinking water consistently throughout the day but I am so much better than I was before. My long term goal is to be able to drink up to a gallon of water per day. Here are a few tips that have been helping me drink more water:
Drink out of a cup with a straw. I don't know what it is but straws just make it easier to drink more or anything - so my cabinet is full of plastic tumblr cups I can take on the go.
Adding favoring to my water is also helpful. I like to add lemon or fruit to my water to give it a little extra something when I am craving a flavor. I try to avoid those sparkling waters because even thought they aren't bad for you I personally think the carbonation fills me up more which makes me want to drink less.
Setting a daily water goal is also encouraging me to drink more. I'm not really competitive but it does help me know how much I am drinking and my slight type A personality loves to check off boxes. I will tell myself that my daily goal is 3 tumblr cups of water. And that way I can track throughout the day where I am at and how much more I have to go.
Ah yes, my favorite daily task and something that has created the biggest impact in my day. Daily Exercise. In high school I hated PE, it was by far my least favorite class and I celebrated the day I no longer was forced to run in front of my classmates or totally fail at a push up in front of the snobby mean girls. Bleh the flashbacks are horrible. Let's be honest, I am not an athletic person. I was a cheerleader until I was about 9 and then riding horses took over my life. I had never worked out in an actual gym before and the intimidation was so real. I convinced myself that I wanted to get in shape because when you aren't 17 anymore you realize that all that weight likes to stick around. But I was going to workout from home so I didn't have to make a fool of myself. But newsflash: when you really aren't motivated to do something, you don't do it. I was lucky if I chose to workout once a month at home, and that workout was usually 30 minutes of a light sweat and calling it good.
Workout by yourself blows. So I was fortunate enough to have Tyler with me who encouraged me to sign up for a gym membership with him. The first gym I ever worked out in was Planet Fitness. I really enjoyed it because it was specifically created for newbies like me. I definitely felt like a lost little puppy at first and it felt like everyone in the world was staring at me, but after a few times of going that feeling disappeared. Something that helped me a lot was looking for workouts on Pinterest and Youtube. I was able to learn how to use equipment ahead of time which helped a lot with my fears. Quickly however, I outgrew Planet Fitness. I realized that while I felt sore a few times, I probably was not getting as good of a workout as I could be. That's when Tyler and I turned to Cross Fit. And I was scared out of my mind to join a cross fit gym. I thought for sure I was walking into the most intense workout of my life, but while that's true, it's not as bad as I thought. The workouts are really just a competition against yourself and there is much more of a community feel to a cross fit gym. I am not nearly as strong as some of the other girls there but it's been humbling to tell myself to not care and just push myself to be the best I can be. And I am loving it!
Daily exercise helps wake me up, get my brain and blood flowing and I have noticed a major change in my work ethic. I can stay way more focused throughout the day and I am so much happier with myself since I began working out.
Every morning I make sure to take at least 5 minutes to write in a journal. Like actual pen to paper kind of journaling. I use Rachel Hollis's "Start Today" method for my journaling prompts. I write down my top 3 goals for the day, and once I accomplish those 3 things I can move on to the more fun stuff if I want. Then I write down 3 dreams I have but I write them down in a way, as if I already accomplished them. So instead of writing "one day I want to make 6 figures" I will instead write "My business made 6 figures". There are studies that show when you write down your goals every day as if you already did them, you are more likely to make them come true because you are putting yourself in that kind of mindset to chase them down. Finally I write down something I am grateful for that day. Journaling helps put my brain in the right place every morning so that I can start my day feeling motivated and grateful for the things in my life. It helps me be more productive and have a plan for how my day is going to go.
No more mid day snacking on potato chips for me. Because I work from home, it was starting to become a problem for me that I always felt hungry. I found myself walking to the refrigerator multiple times a day to grab a different kind of snack. I would always grab something that was not very dense or filling like chips which would satisfy me for a few minutes and then I would crave something else.
I started buying snacks that were not only healthier and better for me, but that would also hold me over for longer. I like to take a break in the middle of the day to get up from my desk and go outside or watch a quick show to just get my brain a little rest. During that time I will usually eat my snack or my lunch. I like to each cheese and crackers, or sometimes leftover dinner, or make a sandwich. Since making better choices about food my brain is more fueled, I am less tired, and I am able to get more work done in the day because I am not stopping as much to go eat.
PUTTING MYSELF ON A WORK SCHEDULE
Speaking of time, another thing I really owe to my success is being able to manage my time a lot better. I am not perfect at this either but I am so much better than I was a few years ago. Time management is so important in all aspects of life but especially if you are working from home. It can be so easy to get distracted, and then not ever accomplish anything. My biggest faults was social media on my phone. I would always have my phone sitting next to my laptop and anytime it lit up with a notification I couldn't help myself, I had to check it. Then before you know it, 20 minutes goes by and then 40 minutes, and then an hour and I wasted my time going down the rabbit hole that is Instagram.
I started thinking about how I could fix that and what I could do to make my time more efficient during the day. And just like any other job or in school, I put myself on a schedule. I designated certain days for certain tasks, and every day I have a plan. First thing in the morning I check and respond to my emails and then I try to get all of my needle moving tasks done first. These are the boring tasks that I have been putting off but need to get done. Once those are completed I feel extremely productive and good about what I have done and I will allow myself to work on the more fun side of my business.
When it comes to social media I set a timer for that too. I only allow myself to go on Instagram in the morning when I need to make my post of the day and I allot myself 20 minutes to post, reply to comments & messages, and engage with others. After that I try my best to stay off it for the rest of the day. I had even turned my notifications off for a while so it was completely out of sight and out of mind. I also turn my phone upside down next to my computer so the glowing light never can pull me away from what I am working on.
With a strict workday schedule I actually have more free time, and I am able to be done with work in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to enjoy for myself, be present with family, and recharge for the next day.
Making a plan and sticking to it. This can go along with the previous point of time management because I think that every single day should have a plan and/or and order. I used to blindly go throughout my day doing random tasks that needed to be done as they came to my mind. Which means I would have 500 tabs open at a time and bounce back and forth from one thing to another and never actually get much done in the process. One of my favorite ways to plan out my day is the night before. A good morning routine always starts the night before. I write down what I need to do the next day, what are the most important tasks and what would be okay if I never made it around to it. I have chunks of my day dedicated to doing certain tasks such as social media, and emails, and then heavy content creation. Knowing exactly what needs to get done during the day when I first wake up has helped me stay on track with my business and get more done each day.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
Have you ever been afraid to check your numbers in your business? I can't tell you how many times I have swiped my credit card praying it doesn't say decline because I had no idea how much money was in my bank account. This is a pretty common fear that people have and as business owners it's easy to be afraid of looking at the reality of your business. But I want to encourage you that there is power in knowing your numbers and I have tried to make this a daily task as well. When you know how much money is going in and out of your business, what your profits and losses are, you will either feel way ore confident that it's not as bad as you thought, or you will realize that something needs to change and you need to step up your game. Use this as a motivator. When you own the business you are the CEO and to behave like a CEO is to know how your business is doing in all aspects especially if you ever want to grow, scale, or hire your first employee.
I bet you didn't see this one coming. A really important habit to enforce regularly is rest. When you love what you do, sometimes it doesn't even feel like work which is awesome! BUT do not be fooled, sooner than later you will get burned out, your brain will feel like mush and you will never want to open your laptop ever again. Rest is a key component to being successful because we are all only human and we can only take on so much at one time. I try to give myself a few hours of rest every single day usually at night with at least one break during the day for 30 minutes. But along with that, I also want to give myself a full day of rest at least once a week. For me that is typically Sunday but sometimes I take a full weekend off and do Saturday too. These rest days mean no work at all. No emails, no editing, no blogging, not even going on Instagram. The more you are able to give yourself time to fully separate yourself from your business, the more you are going to be able to be fully present in your business on your work days.
Last, but certainly not least is prayer. As a Christian I do not believe in separating my business from my beliefs. Jesus is the center of everything I do in life so it only makes sense to bring him into my business as well. Every morning I do a bible study when I first wake up. I listen to a message and dive into my Bible for daily guidance and wisdom. And then I pray that the Lord guides me through whatever it is I am walking through in that moment. I love to start my day off with the Lord because he puts me at peace, but I will also pray about any decision I may need to make, and any hardships I am facing both in business and my personal life. I owe all of my successes to the Lord and through Prayer my eyes have been opened to so many opportunities and so many realizations that I never would have been able to come to on my own.