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Define and Create Success on Your Terms


It's 4:30 in the morning and for the second week in a row, I am up. It's not to say that I haven't woken up early before, it just isn't consistent. I will admit, getting up this early is challenging for me, generally, I am up at 7ish, without alarm. The difference for me this week, is that while I have not made the commitment to do this daily, I have made an intention to do it, more often than not (a revolving philosophy of mine) starting with once a week.

I feel excited, not jumping out of bed toaster style, but there is a stirring. I was in bed, and my gratitude practice has begun, after a mildly conscious effort to shift my thinking from the last dream I was having, planning the day, and re-capping the previous. I move toward 3-5 things I am grateful for, simple or complex, big or small.

This is one of the components that make my life a success, in my eyes. Which is what I am learning now from many great people. That is key, your eyes. Then, what are you willing to do to get it? Napolean Hill learned from Andrew Carnegie that very important lesson. Some successes take 20 years of commitment. I have known of this lesson and consciously said, well I am not willing to do x so I know I won't get y since I was 17, but there was always some tiny hope that Y still might happen. Then there was a sequence of clouded events in my early twenties, that I didn't link to my decision making, or mindset, thus leaving me confused. (Classic young adult, right?) Today, I know differently, and therefore am acting accordingly.

I am grateful for the success my life is today, I have a desire to grow that success, my life, is so much bigger than me. I am beginning to not only realize, but embrace that. In order to embrace that, and expand, I must expand, be uncomfortable, do things differently, get out of the cozy bed.

Today, part of the reason I am up this early is that I am a morning person, and there is a sequence to my best days. My productivity is higher, my drive, commitment, level of self-control, discipline, is all higher when I am well rested and fresh in the am. I make better decisions, write better, and another big one for me is, I work out harder. Regardless of what the next few days hold (I have fallen into that trap, that I set myself up for) a number of times, learning that you really need to take it one day at a time, one choice at a time. Right now, it's 'day one' not 'one day' (see the difference there?) even if tomorrow is day one as well.

Follow me here...the logic I am trying to get at is if you think of it as "well I am off for the next 7 days, on holiday, I am bound to set aside some time to work out." Here is the thing, A. if you aren't doing it today, what will be so vastly different tomorrow? B. I actually am off on holiday and want to spend time with my family. Which means coordinating a number of peoples wants and schedules. I am prioritizing myself by taking care of what I need to thus "freeing me up" by the time the house is awake. C. The 'day one' logic, one choice, one moment, one hour at a time, ends up being a collection. An entire month, of getting up early, loving your partner, not smoking, cooking a meal, working out, playing with your kid(s), walking your pet(s). Not taking your time (the ONE thing we can never get back) for granted. It also helps you to take that bite.

It is proven time and time again with all of the things I listed, and many more, such as your new year's resolutions. If you can't do it for a day- don't commit to 365. You are literally setting yourself up for failure. Then queue negative self-talk, defeat, etc.

Back to today, there is a breakfast meeting with some friends of ours (ours being Neil, my boyfriend, and myself) later this morning. I know I don't work out after a big breakfast, I generally fast until noon (or earlier when I wake up earlier) and beyond just physical exercise. I needed to get some work done. You see, that's my philosophy on life, is the balance, and while there may, I repeat, may, be a day where I do zero work and all hang/relax/go with the flow with the family, I have to earn it. I am the only one judging myself, and while I can be a little harsh, I do strive for the balance. Today is one of those days that require a little more balance, there is also a commitment to my evening schedule. I have a few deadlines for Monday. Neil has some work that he needs to tend to, so the energy is on our entrepreneurial ventures, and this breakfast at 9 am, is one of the, but also one way that we can spend a little time with one another, and our friends, as I think it is important to be social and at times, it has to be very deliberate for me. We can get caught up in too much work, no "play". Anything I get done past say, 2 pm is a bonus. Prior to that, is necessary. It is the important stuff, the stuff I need to think on, act on, grab hold of. In my book that is.

So after waking up to check on P, (Penelope our cat) and then laying back down, under layers of sherpa fleece and velvet blankets, with warm bare skin snuggled up together. I chose (notice that, chose) to get out of bed. I have a set of intentions I am leading my day and life with. I have a purpose, and even after a number of days in which I mildly dreaded getting up and felt as though I desperately needed and wanted more rest, here I am, up and vibrating with a low level of tired excitement and drive. I have projects and self-care to tend to. These routines, are what make me a better human, to the people I serve and love.

My life is a success on account of not just these, but a handful of other practices I choose to partake in, regularly. It is very clear to me that not only that choice is involved, but how key the word and definition of practice is. You can't just eat one apple for the year 2018. You can't work out once, have sex once, play with your pets once, read to your child once, educate yourself once, and expect to see lifelong changes. Aristotle said, "excellence is a habit".

So while sure, there may be some people you know who consistently get up at 4:30 or maybe it's 7:30 or 10:30, or go to bed at those times, whatever, your circadian rhythms are, again that's another discussion, you get my point.

If you are just starting a practice, journal, gratitude (tip: I keep a tiny notebook in my car and at the end of a day out, before coming into the house, especially on challenging days I jotted down those key items, to shift my energy and mindset prior to coming into my home) walking, running, saving money, meditation, the list goes on. Whatever your practice is!

Start where you are.

-R

Renee Machel

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