Are you feeling the back-to-school vibes? September is a great time to implement everything you’ve learned from the courses you’ve purchased and the books you’ve read – let’s get all those wonderful things into your brain and into your life!
How to make progress and implement your learnings
People who consider themselves course collectors and have that stack of books on their nightstand run into this problem where life happens. They have the best of intentions to learn and grow, and then everything else just takes over. I will give you the four steps you need to get this party started so you can use all this beautiful knowledge you have access to and progress toward your goals.
Step 1: Remove morning obstacles
I’m talking about those mental obstacles. In the morning, our brain is flush with decision-making hormones that get used up during the day. We want to protect that beautiful juice that’s in your brain and the natural cleanup that happens at night.
Don’t waste that morning time on anything that isn’t what you feel is the most important.
The first habit you can implement, and this can be truly life-changing, is to take care of your mornings the night before.
Here are some examples:
- Close every tab on your computer except the one you want to tackle in the morning and have that website or project open • Clean off your desktop
- Clean up your living room or any other place where you would spend time tidying up in the morning when you could be using that time for journalling, meditation, projects, etc.
- Set up your morning routine – get your water and your coffee ready to go; get your shoes ready for a morning walk if that’s what you do, etc.
The idea here is that every single night before you go to bed, your morning is set for you without having to think.
Step 2: Pick your top 3 items to progress and implement
This could be an exercise routine. It could be a course you bought 18 weeks or 18 months ago. It could be something that you know you've wanted to try but you haven't tried yet. It could be books.
This list is going to be a comprehensive collection of everything you know you could be progressing and implementing now. This isn't to overwhelm you, it's to get it out of your head so you can start dealing with it, and how you capture this is completely up to you. You might use a spreadsheet, Google doc, a journal, a vision board…whatever works for you.
What I love about this list is you will now feel secure that these are captured – they’re not in your brain. You don’t have to try to keep track of them anywhere else. You can now pick the top 3 items you want to work on, and the rest, whether it’s 5 or 50, won’t go anywhere. You’re not going to forget about them.
When you’ve got your three things, you’re going to start to get a little bit uncomfortable, and I think this is what keeps most people from progressing.
“Sarah, I love them all, I can’t pick just one,” you might say.
I hear you, but loving all of them and not picking any of them is why you haven’t done any. This is about actual progress and, like I said, these are on a list you're not going to not do them, you're just going to do them NEXT. That tiny little mindset shift can really help when it comes to implementing things into your life. Pick the top three. You're not saying no to the rest. You're saying next to the rest.
Make sure there is some variety – don’t just pick three courses; it’s very challenging to do three courses at once.
Step 3: Find time to move forward
Step three is where we actually find the 30 to 60 minutes per day to start to move these items forward. If you want to just do one thing at a time, I'm cool with that.
If you want to work on the others all at once, what you can do is do 30 and 60 minutes of the course three times a week the book two times a week, and the project. You kind of sprinkle it in different ways. (You can see how this can get complicated if these are too similar.)
And if you're going to say to me, “Sarah, I don't have 30 to 60 minutes a day,” I'm going to lovingly say: You lie. I know we’re all busy. We're busy because we're allowing ourselves to get distracted by other people's needs -- and I don't mean your kid calls from school and they're sick, and you have to go take care of them. Of course, that's completely appropriate
I'm talking about the emails that you let distract you. I'm talking about all the messages you let distract you, you guys. We have to focus on our phones and our computers. We now have the control. You do not have to answer everything the second it comes in.
You know, deep down, there are some magic moments where you're the most creative. There are some magic moments in your day when you are clear-headed, excited, and inspired, and we've been giving those moments away to other people and their priorities.
And it’s OK if that time isn’t the morning. Maybe you’re someone who works best at 4 p.m. That’s OK! Figure out what works best for you.
Watch: How to Finish What You Start
Step 4: Deal with your high-functioning codependence
A little bit tongue and cheek, I'm going to say to you: If you are a woman running a business in today's world right now, you are probably a high-functioning codependent. That's not your fault and it doesn't mean it's even bad.
We are so good at what we do and the world has told us, because it works for them, that it's really great that we keep putting everybody else first. And that's the codependent piece. You're so great. You're so amazing. Look at all the things you do.
It's a very challenging thing for us to undo. Step four in implementing the things you want to progress is working on your high-functioning codependence and really checking in when you get interrupted in your schedule.
You've paid money to learn a course, you've purchased a book that's important to you, that's near and dear to your heart and somebody else interrupts it with their priorities. You have a hot second there to decide what you're going to do.
Check in and ask, is this high-functioning codependence where you're so scared that if you say you'll get back to them in 20 minutes, they're going to leave you? My client will leave me. My family will leave me, and no one will love me. People are going to think I'm a bad person.
This is the stuff we're talking about. I want you to just check-in and see if that's what's at work. There is a space between the stimulus and the response where you have all the power. There is a moment where you get to decide.
“I have something started right now. I'll get back to you this afternoon.” The end. Notice I didn’t ask for permission. Watch your world shift, and it's a shift internally.
You have invested to grow, and you've made decisions to make yourself a better person or to create projects and put your creativity out there into the world. And we don't ever want to let something come in the way of your full self-expression. The game is on! Have fun and enjoy.