Hello Simple && Sweeties,
When I first thought about doing this post, I’d originally planned to title it, 12-Steps to a Successful Life. There are so many articles on Pinterest, other blogs, and online newspapers claiming to give an A-B-C approach to success, but any truly successful person will tell you, there is no mapped out route.
The only guarantee in life regarding success is that it can pass by if you aren’t primed for it!
Primed for it?
Exactly. There is an infinite amount of things that are beyond your control, most of which are related to outcomes. However, if you only focus on the destination, the quality of the journey will suffer. Some of the greatest success stories of all time, some say, happened by accident.
The magnitude of the success may not have been anticipated, but these people weren’t just sitting on a couch under a ratty blanket eating hot-pockets Netflix-binging. They were laying framework that enriched them with potential!
Well, that’s all well and good, Sarah, but once I leave this *awesome* website, I don’t really know how to apply your pep-talk to my life.
It’s paradoxical to think that generic steps found on the web will uniquely apply to your own personal fulfillment. However, the 12 things listed are only a few observations I’ve made of people I admire, TED talks, and fellow #GIRLBOSS’s that have some extremely valid points on how to design a life primed for success.
1. Make Your Bed
Hear me out. It seems pointless to some people, my past self included, to make a bed you’re just going to unmake in 10 hours. It isn’t efficient! However, look at it this way.
The same way your muscles need exercise so they don’t waste away, your discipline does too!
You may not want to make it first thing when you get up, and that’s okay. Don’t worry, I’m not gunning for a military style morning. It’s actually healthy to leave your bed messy for a few minutes after you get out of it to let it breathe.
Once you get out of bed, shower, brush your teeth, whatever, come back and spend two minutes to make your bed.
One, it makes your room look instantly better. Two, it keeps you from jumping back in it. Three, it sets a tone of accomplishment for the day because the first item on your todo list is checked off! Four, it keeps pet hair and ickiness from touching your sheets and keeps them cleaner longer. Five, you don’t need to be uncomfortable when people come over to visit because your room won’t look like a total national disaster area. And lastly, even if your day takes a turn for the worst, at the very least, you can come home to a beautifully made bed.
2. Take Pride in Your Appearance
Does it ever happen to y’all that when you’re dressed to the 9’s you see nary a soul, but as soon as you go to Walmart or a nearby gas station in your JamJams you see your youth pastor and his wife, Mom’s book club, 3 ex’s, 2 hot guys, and a partridge in a pear tree? Yup.
My point here is, you never know who you’ll see in the day. It may be someone who’s opinion of you determines a job offer, an invite to a social gathering, or just good ol’ fashioned word of mouth.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone say, “Oh *my name*, I know who you’re talking about. S/He always has the nicest outfits, always looks like s/he has their act together etc.” Don’t underestimate a first impression either. You could be the *insert admirable personality trait here*, but if you’re sloppy and look like you got dressed in five minutes, people will just assume you’re sloppy! So really, dress for the life you want.
And don’t just do it for other people. Do it because it’s scientifically proven that if you think you look good, you feel good! Try it, next time you feel sick or under the weather, take the time to dress up a little, and smile at yourself in the mirror, I can almost promise you won’t feel as poorly….and if you do, maybe just stay in bed.
3. Maintain a Planner.
It can be on your phone, or you can be old-school and have a hard copy. I have 2 actually. You can see one on my bed in the picture above 🙂
Click on the photos to shop Planners and ToDo Lists:
A planner and/or todo list journal helps manage time, keeps track of important dates and appointments, increases your productivity, organizes your time, and clears the mind.
The only thing you have to do is remember to check it.
4. Be Early
“If you’re not first you’re last!”
…well not really, but being on time is just as disadvantageous as being late. You have little to no time to settle in and orient yourself.
If you suffer from the same tardy gene as I do, try this: when you think about going somewhere or doing something, get dressed and packed now. Set aside the task at hand, don’t procrastinate on taking a shower, gathering your things, or changing clothes. Once you’ve done the thing that frees you from home, pick up whatever you were working on in the remaining time you have left. Get dressed before breakfast if you have an early appointment. Pack your bag the night before if you are leaving the next day. Go to bed an hour earlier so you can wake up an hour earlier. It minimizes rush and makes being early that much more pleasant than being late.
5. Break a Sweat
I could regurgitate a whole mess of scientifically backed evidence about how exercise is good for your heart, skin, hair, liver, kidneys, etc,. However, instead of thinking about just your health, think about how it effects your sanity.
What goes through your mind when you’re on a hike? What goes through your mind while Netflix-ing?
Many people are off-put by exercise because they imagine exercising in a fashion that isn’t enjoyable to them. Hate running? Fine. Walk, dance, play tennis, basketball. Seriously, going to a dance club is still exercise (just be mindful of the calories in your cocktails).
This gives me an idea for another blog post, A Lazy Girl’s Guide to Breaking a Sweat or some such nonsense. snap me next time you break a sweat! You might even motivate me to get off my lazy bum that day. snap: sarah.berlanga1
6. 5 Friends and a Mentor
Find someone who is better at something than you, and take them to lunch. Talk about the drive that you both share. There’s no reason to be intimidated by someone who has found more success. I could elaborate on this, but a TED talk comes to mind that does it way better than I could. I’ll leave it right here:
My mom always said it never benefits you to be the fastest horse in a slow race. Even if you aren’t the absolute best (and this is an Earth with 7.5 billion people, so sorry to burst your bubble, but chances are neither of us are the absolute best at anything) at least you are challenged enough to know what improvements you need to make to better yourself.
7. Think Before You Speak
Because…like…um…an uncomposed thought…..is like……something that……despite being really, like, intelligent…..can like….. um…… undermine your point.
Even if you have to wait a split second longer when replying, or take a pause in the middle of a sentence to compose your thoughts, trust me, it’s worth it.
The way you speak says just as much about you as the words you choose.
A good rule of thumb is before interjecting an idea into a conversation, imagine how it will sound or direct it at yourself. If you would laugh or potentially be offended, reassess, rephrase and relaunch! That being said, profanity has a place and it’s not punctuation.
A fun game to play with a friend is to tell each other a story and refrain from using placeholder words like : like, um, yeah-well, etc
8. Read for 20-mins a day
If you watched the TED talk I posted above (and if you didn’t pause for a second and watch it, you’ll love it) you’ll notice how he stresses that he just skims through books to get what he needs. This irked me a little because as a writer myself, I understand that most authors choose every word and every sentence with care. That should be respected. You are more than welcome to take his approach, but if you were irked too, here’s my compromise. Learn how to eat an elephant.
Break up a large book into smaller portions. Put it in the bathroom or on your bedside table and make that a technology-free zone. Read until you feel like you got something from the book whether it’s enjoyment or a lesson. Just expand your library one bite at a time.
9. Bring Dead Time to Life
Ever wanted to learn a second or third language but never found the time?
Here’s a thought: listen to how-to podcasts while on your commute to work, walk to class or any other time you fill with music or silence. There’s workable time while in the shower also! Consider listening to TED Talks over a Bluetooth speaker.
Look at your daily routine and see where you can substitute in a little extra mindfullness.
10. Know When to Say No
This is one of the hardest things to do if you’re a natural-born people pleaser.
It’s okay to allow yourself to value yourself when situations become too demanding.
Life is too short to look back and only see others’ happiness and have none for yourself. Don’t forget your goals, your limits, and your morals.
Saying yes to something means you are saying no to something else. Choose wisely.
11. Celebrate Failure
We often forget to find the silver lining in the clouds, but nearly every situation has one.
So you failed your big test, why? The next time you take a test, you’ll know how to better prepare for it and succeed. One of my favorite quotes when I feel like a failing ninny is:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”- Thomas Edison
Just accept that whatever happened is stored potential waiting to be unlocked by more persistent effort. No two journeys to the top are identical.
12. Brand Yourself
Not with a hot-iron! Being from Texas, I feel the need to clarify.
Treat yourself, your image, your social media presence, your words, your actions, like a brand. People may not know the essence of you, but they know what they see, hear, touch, and feel. Stand for something, have a message, and find a way to support it in everything you do.
If you’re all about fashion, don’t mind the trends of the classroom, express your individual style (within dress code if your school has one of course ha). If you aren’t trashy, don’t let peer-pressure convince you to take trashy pictures. Remember that in this age we live in, everything you say and do is permanently preserved in the cloud.
Wouldn’t it be easier to own up to everything you did if everything you do is an accurate representation of who you truly are?
Own your flaws so no one else can.
Know thyself. If you know you’ll regret posting something because you’re caught up in the emotion, tell yourself it’s not worth tarnishing your brand.
The things you say not only reflect on what you’re talking about, but what you are about.
So if you’re about not giving a damn, go for it! It takes a strong personality to handle that brand, but if that’s who you are, that’s who you are!
If you’re about saving animals, don’t undermine your message by losing your cool over something that will detract from what your message is.
I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did writing it. If it inspired even one small change in you life, it’s done it’s job. I wish you all the absolute best and snap me, message me, anytime you make your bed, go for a run, listen to a podcast! I love hearing when my readers think about The S&&S Co. If you want more subscribe and share this with others. I’ll be back soon, I promise!
For more, follow me on social media. I’m everywhere. If you want to follow my life in mini photo blog form, add me on snapchat where I post meals, workouts, and random pretty things I come across 🙂 Username: sarah.berlanga1
Check Out The S&&S Co. Pinterest Page
&& Don’t Forget to Follow the Life && Love Board