The last three weeks I’ve shared how practices like my morning routine are critical to me feeling confident and successful in my life. Between my routines and daily and weekly tracking, I feel accountable because I see my progress; the tally marks make me feel proud that I’m focused on the right things.
The tools are available to YOU too, so think about where you want to start with routines in your life. It’s simpler than you think and very powerful. Usually, we don’t think about why we do what we do, but being intentional about how you live makes it’s easier to avoid habits that hurt your life unnecessarily.
Today’s post is a summary of my most useful systems and tools. As you watch the video and read, think about what feels right to you. At the end of the day, what works for me may not work for you, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Watch today’s video to hear How to be serious about real progress. This is partly how I live my life to the fullest and what allows me to feel most free.
1) Routines and rituals
Worth mentioning 100x. The very first thing is to put my routines or rituals in place. The last two videos I shared my morning and evening routines, which help all parts of myself: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual. Routines aren’t rigid, but I crave some discipline and order. Doing what supports me regularly and consistently – moving my body, eating properly, sleeping early, writing, reading – are my joy. I track my progress with my weekly life and business tracker. Feel free to download and customize for your life.
I’ve worked on my routines for years, tweaking as I learn more about myself. But one thing’s for sure: If I stop tracking, my life screws right up. It’s subtle, but soon I FALL flat on my face into a life I hate. It’s happened more than once and now I know it’s no coincidence.
Living intentionally now isn’t a “nice choice,” it’s survival.
When I was burned out, sick, not sleeping enough, not writing enough, not meditating, life sucked. I learned the hard way that unless ME, MYSELF, AND I supported myself every single day, life wasn’t going to improve.
[Note: don’t freak out if you have a guest or go on vacation. Just try to maintain some consistency. It’s not about control, it’s about your intention.]
Scheduling is my second favorite tool. Here’s how I do it: I divide my day into three chunks: morning, afternoon, evening, and chunk up those times further. Morning: 9am-12pm, afternoon 2-4pm, evening 5-8pm. I divide my morning even more into 2 ninety minute blocks with a break in the middle. I add more structure to my morning because that’s my “zone” when I’m in the flow. It’s when all the creative work – writing, videos, creating content – gets done. Mornings are SACRED. Meetings, phone calls, clients happen in the afternoon not because I’m less focused, but because it uses a different part of my brain.
People may disagree, but personally, I don’t work more than 5-6 hours/day unless I’m in the thick of writing, a program launch, or event. I don’t think anyone needs to work more than 3 hrs in the a.m. and 3 hrs in the p.m. and six hours is more than enough. Some days, 3-4 hours is enough, especially when I’ve been doing real work, not messing around on things that don’t matter.
3) Tracking and Measuring
I mentioned this earlier. Unless you have a way to track your progress, daily and weekly, it’s hard to stick to anything. Tracking helps your body gain muscle memory – your hash marks and tallies sink into your molecules and neurons and set you up for repeated success. Thinking about tracking is not the same thing as taking pen to paper and doing it. I fooled myself for a long time!
I use a visual tracker, not a digital one. Check mine out here and here and customize for you. My friend, Steven Pressfield puts his list on a wall in his office and literally carves tally marks onto the sheet on the wall. I do the same thing on my paper tracker.
Just look at how serious my client Ian is about his ideal life and business. Ian has seen huge success in his photography biz this year in no small part to living very intentionally and tracking. Here’s his customized tracker and I was so proud of him for being so serious about it, I wanted to share it with you. Use his example to see how you can customize your own.
4) My Toolbox
I have a Toolbox that is my Holy Grail for anytime stuff hits the fan. Life gets hard sometimes so how will you survive without tools? In order to “deal” I have a toolbox of go-to items for the spectrum of intense life experiences, from devastation zone to minor negative thoughts.
In the Toolbox is everything from books to CD’s to audio programs to videos to DVD’s. It has the top five people in my circle I can go to with anything. The surrounding circle of people I can go to for specifics. People I pay to support me – therapists, life coaches, business coaches, energy workers, yoga people.
The list goes on. I count my friends and mentors as a part of my toolbox, but sometimes when there genuinely isn’t anyone around to help you, you need to rely on yourself to get you through. Your toolbox helps you do that.
My daily rituals. Journaling is my #1 tool; I learn so much about myself. Writing, meditating, dancing, moving my body, eating properly, staying healthy. These are all in my toolbox of how I nourish myself, because if I’m not supported by my own life and the people around me, I FEEL it. Usually it’s because I’m missing self-care or my daily practice.
The first source of support is myself. ALWAYS.
Pleasure is a part of my toolbox. Whatever brings me joy, makes me laugh, makes me connect to beauty, awe, my body. Humor is #1 for me. For example:
All the Internet memes above made me laugh out loud. And:
Q: What’s the difference between God and lawyers?
A: God doesn’t think he’s a lawyer.
Hahahaha! I read jokes all the time, everyday. I LOVE Yo Mamma jokes. Humor is so helpful to get you into a lighter state of mind and heart.
Last, but never least: God and the universe. Ever since I was little I believed in a force greater than me that supported me on a very personal level. This isn’t just a belief anymore, it’s straight up fact.
And that’s my toolbox. That’s how I set myself up for a successful life AND when life serves up challenging times, i.e. shit-storms.
Remember, your toolbox and intentions don’t have to start with ALL these or even 1/10 of this. It just has to start with YOU wanting to live intentionally.
All you have to do is want to make progress, and you’ll find the right tools for YOU.
So tell me: What works for you? How do you track success in your life? What’s in your toolbox? I ALWAYS learn from you so tell me what’s working. If you have tally and hash marks galore ;), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I’d love to know I’m not the only one as OCD about my progress out there. ;)
If you found this useful and know someone who needs to hear this to help them feel more successful, please pass this along to them. Family, friends, we all need help sometimes. Be the person who helps yourself and then helps others find it.
Images courtesy of thefatjewish