We all have our own definition of what success really is. It depends on our age, our experiences, and what we want out of life. Success, for me, is being able to work hard every day doing something productive, making enough money to support my family, having some time for fun and some time for rest, and setting a good example for my daughter. There are a few things that are helping me along my journey to healthy, successful living, some of which I had to learn the hard way. Avoid the pain and pitfalls that I experienced and follow these quick tips of mine to start on the (easier) path to success.
1. Make a schedule and stick to it
I learned how to write (and keep) a schedule completely out of necessity. I was a busy college kid with a full-time job, homework, bills, and family obligations. If I didn’t schedule every hour of my day, I would not have been able to accomplish my goals in the time that I wanted. There are too many time-sucking distractions out there! Now, I am done with college and I’m doing the business/motherhood thing, so my schedule looks a little different than it used to. The goal to stay focused, however, remains of the same. Figure out what your goals are and what needs to be accomplished each day, each week, and each month to achieve what you want this year. You will have to be honest with yourself about the time that you waste on low-priority things, like social media, video games, or relaxing. And you’ll have to make some adjustments.
My daily schedule is just written on good old-fashioned paper. It lists all of my tasks that need to be done from 7 AM to 7 PM. Aside from my day job working 7 AM to 2 PM, I have several tasks that I have to complete each hour, and I mark them off as I complete them. It’s my own personal accountability system. It works for me, and you’ll have to find what works for you. During that 12 hours of my day, I make time for exercise, healthy meals, shopping, homework, bill-pay, house cleaning, secular work, my family, and more. You would be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a day if you stay focused. You will notice that the daily schedule ends at 7 PM, so after that, you’re free to do anything that you want (within legal means, of course). 😋
Try making a schedule for just a few days of the week at first. Knock out all of your important tasks, don’t waste time on social media or other entertainment, and just test yourself to see how much you can actually get done. I promise you will be amazed and you will be one step closer to the success that you want. Let me pause to say that I am not selling anything here, I am just sharing the tips that have saved my life and helped me to become a successful adult. I’m still learning and growing, but these are the things I wish someone had shared with me when I was A LOT younger!
2. Wake up early
This might be painful to hear, but you need to wake up relatively early and you need to wake up at the same time every day. This will train your brain and body to wake up and get moving every day of the week, you’ll get more done, and Monday morning won’t be so miserable. Every now and then, you’ll need to sleep in or take a nap, and that is fine. The point is to stay scheduled and use your waking hours productively.
3. Save your money
This is hard to do, but a friend of mine once said, “the more money you spend, the more money you have to make, which ends up being a lot more work for you.”
Set a weekly or monthly budget for yourself and make sure that saving money is a part of that budget. Here is a basic example, as if any of us could be this lucky… It is just an example.
-Monthly income: $2,000
-Monthly bills: $1,700
Car payment: $200
Make sure you have designated money for all of your bills, designated money for your savings account, and a little money left over for an emergency.
Eventually, you will get to a place where you have disposable money for luxuries and vacations, but until that time, it is super important to make a strict budget and save as much money as possible. I am still in the “saving, penny-pinching” place in my life, but I’m okay with that, as long as I am moving in a positive direction!
Again, just keep in mind that the money you’re saving will eventually help you on your road to success.
4. Make real-life networking contacts
It is too easy to sit in front of a computer on LinkedIn, Craigslist, or another website, browsing jobs and filling out loooong applications all day long. Sometimes great things come from those sites, so I’m not knocking them at all! But, they have their place in our journey, and most of the time, that place is small and somewhat unproductive. Okay, maybe I am knocking them just a little. Truth is, when I searched for my first “real job”, I turned in 5 to 10 online applications every day. The job that I found ended up coming from a friend of a friend. All of that hard online work helped me become a pro at turning in applications, yes, but it never really helped me get a job.
Get out in the real world to meet real business people and look for real opportunities in the field that you want to find success in: join a local support group, volunteer in the community, start an internship, make contacts at church, at school, or at the local library. There are usually free business seminars in large cities around the country; register to attend one, take notes and let others know that you are looking for a job, or a hobby, or some training. Success is whatever you want it to be, but it needs to support your family and make you happy. Getting out in the real world and connecting with real people will help you get on the road that you want to be on.
5. Don’t make excuses
If we want to, we will find every excuse in the book not to work hard, or move forward, or be successful in what we do in our life. You do not want to be like that.
When I was in my early 20’s, I was full of excuses. Excuses for not working 40 hours a week, excuses for not going back to school, excuses for not waking up early, and for everything else. I felt like I was working hard and I wasn’t going to listen to anyone who told me otherwise. But the fact is, I had a lot more potential than I was willing to see in myself at the time. It just took a little bit of hard work and refinement to let it shine through.
So my advice is to rise above any excuse (or obstacle) that you have, and MAKE things happen. Whatever it is that you want, start taking some baby steps to get it. Set your goals, work toward them every day, don’t be afraid to ask for some help, and don’t make excuses.
With these 5 tips in mind, you will be well on your way to successful living! Be sure to take advantage of any of the local free resources that are available to you, like free classes at your local library.
If you’re looking for a job, be sure to polish up that resume and get it into the hands of some real-life company owners.
Stay tuned for my next “success” article on building a beautiful resume!
Peace & Love,