If you’ve been following The Feisty House since the end of last year, then you know that I’ve been on a journey to live my best life. I set 15 resolutions for 2015, I wrote my Thirty in My Thirties List a few weeks before my 30th birthday, and I’ve read some amazing books that have literally changed my life and continue to inspire me in so many ways. But the greatest change to my life has been learning how to create and keep a consistent morning routine. I was inspired by some really special women when I decided to commit to a morning routine, and one of them was Courtney of Think and Grow Chick. Well Courtney has inspired me yet again with a post that I’ve already shared over and over again with friends: How to Hustle Hard Without Giving Up Your Life. If you have the time to read her post before you finish this one, DO IT. Courtney talks about how she was able to use systems to organize her life and prioritize the things that were important for her own personal success, rather than being solely focused on “the hustle.”
But the part of Courtney’s post that resonated with me most involved setting standards for ourselves in an effort to “[identify] the kind of person you need to be in order to get the results you seek.” When I read that, I was just like…whoa. Could there really be things about me and how I’ve chosen to live that are getting in my own way and preventing me from getting the success I want? So I spent weeks thinking about what success looks like for me and identifying the things that I needed to start doing (or keep doing…or STOP doing) in order to realize that success. That process was truly eye-opening, and it led me to set new standards for myself.
10 Standards You Can Set For Yourself
to Increase Your Success
I came up with these standards after being really honest about what success looks like for me. I was honest about what my day would need to look in order for me to consider it successful. And then what would having a successful week look like. And then a successful month. I looked ahead at what it would mean to get to the end of next year and feel like it had truly been a success.
I wrote whatever came to my mind, even if it seemed like a long shot. Then I took a good, honest look at myself, and I thought about the person I would need to be in order to make those successes a reality. The results were amazing: I came up with fifteen new standards for myself that are perfectly in line with not only my 2015 resolutions and my 30 In My Thirties List…without even trying! You can use this process to set new standards for yourself, too. And feel free to borrow some of these if they fit with what success looks like for you (I borrowed a few good ones from Courtney because they were standards I wanted for my life, too!) I’ve consolidated my fifteen standards into this list of 10 so that it’s easier to read!
1 // I do things NOW or schedule them for later. I do not procrastinate.
This is a standard I borrowed from Courtney’s list because I have always had issues with procrastination. When I envision the successful version of myself though, I’m not playing “catch up” because of procrastination. Instead, I just get things done when they need to get done. One area where I procrastinate a lot is with email; I just spent hours on Saturday cleaning 300+ emails from the past month out of my inbox, and I found out that I’d missed an opportunity to work with a really great brand because I wasn’t checking my email. That’s clearly not a successful way to operate.
And there are other instances where I procrastinate too: at my job, with housework. Oh, and blogging. My goal is to never get caught writing tomorrow’s blog post, but I find myself doing that more often than I’d like to admit. Procrastination is something that’s ingrained in my behavior, but in order to feel like I’m being successful, it’s something I need to get under control.
2 // I am punctual and respectful of other people’s time. I am also respectful of my own time, which means I say “no” to things I cannot (or don’t want to) do.
I am often late. Not on purpose, or anything. I mean, I don’t start getting ready to go somewhere with the intention of being late, but I end up being late anyway. It’s not even like I enjoy being late. It’s actually really frustrating when I don’t get somewhere on time, so I’ve decided that success for me means that I’m respectful enough of people’s time to be somewhere when I said I’d show up. Through my process of setting standards, I’ve accepted that I need no less than 60 minutes to get ready for work, and at least 90 minutes to get ready to go out for something fun (because makeup…) I also need to add buffer time for traveling to places. If it’s going to take 30 minutes to get somewhere, then I should probably leave 45 minutes before I need to be there, versus leaving the house 25 minutes before I need to be there and then acting surprised when I’m late…
This process has also taught me that I need to be respectful of my own time. I should feel empowered to say “no” to projects or outings that I know I don’t have the time to do. And instead of begrudgingly doing things, I should feel empowered to say “no” to things I just flat out don’t want to do, instead putting that time towards the things that really make me happy. Success means that I’m spending time on the things that really matter.
3 // I plan ahead; I’m more relaxed, confident and FUN when I’m prepared.
Even though I live for lists and plans, there are still instances where I’m not totally prepared because I just haven’t given myself enough time, and for me, success means that I make more of an effort to plan in advance. I wan to keep a comprehensive of all my events, trips, project deadlines so that I can be more prepared for (and more confident when doing) the things I love to do.
4 // I make time to take care of myself.
That means I get 7 hours of sleep each night, I work out on a regular basis, I cook healthy foods for myself and my family, and I am careful to indulge sparingly. When I think of “success” in my life, I see fitness and wellness as a major part of my lifestyle.
5 // I maintain my inner and outer beauty and make sure that I’m proud of the way I’m presenting myself to the world.
I think we can all agree that we want to look as beautiful as we can as often as we can, but what about our inner beauty? We should be sure to be as beautiful on the inside as we possibly can to as many people as we possibly can. I want to nourish my ability to empathize, maintain my ability to be compassionate, I want to make sure that as I become more successful that I don’t also become more selfish. For me, success means I spend as much time on maintaining my inner beauty as I do on my outer beauty.
6 // I address situations head-on when I’m feeling uncomfortable or offended. I do not sweep issues “under the rug.”
I don’t fear confrontation, but I don’t like feeling that I’ve made another person feel uncomfortable. There have more situations in my life than I’d like to admit when I’ve not brought it to someone’s attention that their behavior had offended or hurt me, leaving myself stewing with negative feelings and leaving them free to repeat their behavior. I’ve learned now that I resent people when I could just tell them what’s wrong and give them the opportunity to change their behavior. So my new standard is to address this situations head-on and stop letting things go. Because they don’t end up going anywhere at all!
7 // I never neglect the time I set aside for keeping in touch with friends and family.
As part of my daily routine, I set aside 30 minutes at the same time every day to chat with friends and family. However more often than not, I take that time to work instead. My new standard is to never use that time for something other than checking in on the people who matter most to me. In order for me to feel successful, I also need to feel like I’m maintaining my relationships.
As I get busier with work, and as we start our family, it’s important to me that I continue to make spending quality time with Quentin a priority. When you’re married, your life isn’t successful outside of your relationship with your spouse. You’re can’t be successful on your own, so my vision of a “successful” life must include Quentin as an integral part of it.
8 // I maintain an orderly home that is clean, fiscally responsible and peaceful.
My apartment’s not going to look pristine every single day, but success means that I’m handling household duties on a regular basis and not letting my house life spin out of control in the name of the “hustle.” In order for me to feel successful, I need to always set the time aside to maintain my house and keep it in order. This includes keeping track of my financial goals and making sure that my house is a joyful and peaceful place.
9 // I don’t waste the blessings God has given me: I don’t waste time, food or money. I treat every gift I’ve been given as precious, and I live with a spirit of gratitude.
I have a confession to make. Even though I grew up not having a lot, I didn’t develop that spirit of “waste not, want not.” I am guilty of wasting food, money (you don’t even want to know how many random things I’ve spent money on just because I had cash on me at the time), and even though I don’t have a ton of time, that doesn’t stop me from wasting it. When I took a good, hard look at myself, I realized that even though I don’t consider myself ungrateful, I’m taking my many blessings for granted when I squander them. In order for me to feel successful, I want to live with a spirit of gratitude and treat the things I have as precious gifts from God.
10 // I read the Bible each and every day. I keep a prayer journal and pray without ceasing.
My life can’t be successful if I’m not investing in my relationship with God. For me, that means I want to read the Bible each and every day, consistently write in my prayer journal, and pray for others (out loud) as often as I get the chance.
When I had the opportunity to interview Maci Peterson, the inventor of the On Second Thought app (you’ll get to meet her soon!), she told me that she has one rule for her day: she talks to no one before she talks to God. It’s a great rule to adopt, isn’t it? It guarantees that each and every day I’ll have some connection to God and His word. And how could I have a successful day without Him?
In order to keep this post from getting out of control long, I condensed my full list of fifteen standards down to 10. But ever since I came up with my list of fifteen standards, I’ve been reading them out loud to myself as part of my morning routine of repeating affirmations. I would highly recommend that if you do set new standards for yourself, you also read them to yourself on a daily basis. Your mind will start to memorize your standards, and in a short time, you’ll start to remember your standards when you’re acting outside of your vision of success. No lie, one morning I didn’t feel like waking up and working out, and I heard myself in my head say “I make time to take care of myself.” LOL I couldn’t argue with myself! I got up and did my workout, and I felt great.
Have you ever purposely set standards for yourself? If so, what was the process like for you? What did you learn, and do you find that setting standards has helped you live a life that’s closer to your vision of success? If you’ve never gone through this process…what do you think? Do you think you’ll give it a go? Let me know!