Tuesday, September 24, 2013

on feeling successful

Last week, after we'd gotten up early and gone running a few times, Matt commented that the best part about running in the morning is that he gets to feel successful the rest of the day. He expained, "I feel like really successful people probably get up and work out in the morning." So then we would kind of joke about it, like at the end of the day instead of saying "how was your day?" or "thank God THAT'S over...", we'd be like "what OTHER successes did you have today?" or "how did you dominate the rest of your day?" And really I know that sounds cheesy and self-help-y, but it was all tongue-in-cheek...but with a little bit of truth.

When you start your day out with something that makes you feel successful, maybe it encourages you to find other ways to feel successful throughout the day? At least for us, the mornings that we've gotten up and gone for a run...the whole rest of the morning goes more smoothly. Even though it means BOTH of us have to shower (I normally shower at night) and theoretically adds more to our morning to-do list, I guess we've been timing it really well and we actually end up having MORE time to get ready, eat, and take care of stuff before we leave the house on time. When we don't run, we tend to snooze til the absolute last minute and then swirl around like a double tornado in our frantic rush to accomplish the bare minimum before we leave. So running has led to more peaceful and productive mornings. So no wonder we get to work feeling better, more ready for the day, and like...dude, I just ran. I'm not going to ruin it by chowing down on doughnuts in the break room (although exceptions will certainly be made for snack mix and/or pumpkin spice doughnuts). It's like I'm setting myself up for an altogether more successful day just by doing one thing different in the morning. It blows the mind, right?

This morning, as we leisurely sipped our coffee out of ACTUAL mugs and not the travel mugs we usually have to rely on, Matt again declared that running in the morning is probably one of the 'seven habits' of Successful People. Neither of us has actually read that book, but he Googled to find out what those habits are (because if you don't snooze til 6:50, you have time to do stuff like Google). Turns out that 'exercising in the morning' isn't technically one of the habits they propose, but it sort of combines two of them (prioritizing your day and exercising). So obviously we are geniuses because we figured that out without even reading the book. BOOM.

That got me to thinking about what other things I do (or could be doing) that make me feel successful. Because the thing is-- feeling successful feels good. A lot of things in life are out of my control. But the things that I can control...well, if some of them can make me feel like my day/life has been more successful, then I should make a point of doing them, right? So I did some brainstorming, and here are some of the Habits of a Highly Successful Erika. I know. Catchy.

(Not to imply that I regularly (or ever) do all of these things...I'm just saying that if I did, they would make me feel successful)

1. Exercise. Obviously I just went on and on about how doing it in the morning is the MOST successful, but truly-- doing it at all makes me feel pretty happy.

2. Spending time with Jesus. Like exercising...if I do it in the morning, it helps fuel the rest of my day. But doing it anytime is better than nothing. 

3. Fixing my hair. That is, having it look any other way than a ponytail, bun, or braid. I go through phases with this. Currently I am experiencing zero success in this department, ha.

4. Drinking water. I drink so little water (or anything. I basically drink a cup of coffee in the morning and then very little the rest of the day except maybe a cup of water at dinner) it's a miracle I am alive. I hate drinking stuff and I never feel thirsty, and I REALLY hate drinking when I'm not thirsty, so carrying a water bottle around all day doesn't do anything except add to the amount of things I'm juggling in my hands. But if I do make a point to drink water and then I actually do it, I feel so PROUD of myself...it almost makes up for the extra thousand trips to the ladies room. Bah. (In this vein, today I put lemon and mint in a waterbottle in hopes that the prettiness/flavor will entice me to drink the whole thing. Fingers crossed.)

5. Being thoughtful. I don't think I'm naturally inclined to being thoughtful. Does that sound awful? I'm just not- but that's no good excuse for not doing it. I just mean-- I never think to initiate a coffee date with a friend, call my grandparents, bring in treats for my co-workers, or send birthday cards to loved ones. I rarely buy gifts for people 'just because' and half the time I forget to buy them even when there's a valid reason. And then I feel really guilty, but it doesn't translate into remembering to be more thoughtful the next time. Ugh. BUT- if I DO remember to do some thoughtful thing, even if it's small, I feel like a better friend/daughter/person. So I need to do this more often. Today I feel successful because I texted my mom to initiate us coming down for a visit next month. It made her day. Why don't I do this more often??

Alright. I'm gonna quit at five today. I mean, if I went for seven, I'd feel obligated to just write my own book, and don't nobody have time for that. So I have five things that are completely in my control that can contribute to me having a successful day. Now someone please explain to me why on any given day I accomplish zero to one of those things? Exactly. I defy logic. Today, though-- today I could get FOUR! All I have to do is actually DRINK the water in the bottle and we're golden. Unfortunately, the ship has already sailed for fixing my hair. Hope you like seeing my bun. Again.


  1. I feel successful...made it home from work this morning without falling asleep while driving. Some mornings that's a success!
    If you're in the gift giving mood, my address is...I'm always happy to set someone up for success!

  2. You don't drink because your beverage choices are lacking... sprinkle in some of my pomtini love I was telling you about and voila, instant beverage fan.

    These are great items. It's implmenting them that trips me up... running in the morning makes you the MOST successful person in my mind! Kudos!

  3. I'm mostly a fail at these. However, I have figured out how I can drink more water. I have a large container of water and then a small cup. Like, 8 oz small. I drink out of the cup and refill it with the bottle. Seriously, if I have a big cup, it doesn't work. But the small one does the trick and the large bottle keeps me from having to get up and refill my tiny cup all day.

  4. I totally agree with this philosophy. While we both know I am not a runner and I am hit or miss with my morning walks, I DO find that getting up early to do several things (for me it's Bible study/prayer time, planning out my day and days most important to dos, starting laundry, and then any remaining time is spent returning emails or reading blogs) sets my day on the right note!

  5. LOVE all of this! Wish I would actually do it all :( Speaking of pumpkin spice I made muffins that only had 2 ingredients, spice cake mix and a can of pure pumpkin! Fabulous I say! Don't know if this will help with the water but I buy a 50oz bottle of water and convince myself to finish the entire thing by the end of the day and consider that good HA! I do hate the bathroom trips though ugh!

  6. I'm going to have to agree with all 5 of yours, although lately I feel like I have been very hit or miss with all of them... EXCEPT drinking water, because I religiously drink at least three 32 oz. Nalgene bottles full of water every day, and I feel like I am dying of thirst if I drink anything less, so I am wondering how you survive on your usual liquid intake?! Also, can you believe with the amount I just told you I drink that I STILL got dehydrated enough to go to the hospital a few weeks ago? Avery = parasite.

  7. I wish I was a morning person who drank water. My life would be better :) I do find that having a Soda Stream has changed my water drinking habits because 1) it's fizzy and I like fizzy things and 2) I add a tiny squirt of lemon juice so it's not just plain water. And it still feels healthy.

    PS. I think your water is too pretty to drink and you should just keep it on your desk until the lemons are brown and the mint is all green and slimy :) I'm so encouraging...

  8. Drinking water would totally be on my list too! My acupuncturist told me to drink at least 4 Poland spring sized bottles a day and I just can't do it!

  9. You know what, I'm not very inclined to be thoughtful all the time either...I keep thinking I'm thoughtful, but if I'm honest, it's only when it suits me. And you're right, it makes you feel good to be thoughtful AND makes the other party feel so special!

    Way to go on running in the mornings! I too assume that successful people surely run in the mornings. And I keep telling myself that one day, I will start waking up early enough to have a coffee at home before getting changed, when I can read the news and catch up on life....

    one day!



  10. Great list! I'm so not a morning person though. I do agree with you on the hair! Doing my hair makes me feel better and since I work from home, getting dressed in "real" clothes would be on that list too!

  11. I'm convinced that the best way to start is by reading Jesus Calling, a delicious homemade breakfast, and then the gym!!! Waters good too, except we add wheat grass and all those fun supplements so then it's more like dirt! Yours looks much more appetizing!

  12. I completely agree with you about starting your mornings out right with a run, a devotional, and a little bit of downtime. I wish I could do that, except I get up at 5:15 already to be at work on time. So, that won't happen until the summer unless I decide to be insane and wake up at 4 am each day.


  13. goodness . . . I thought pony tail/side bun/ side braid was doing my hair . . . .uh oh. ;)


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