AMY PORTERFIELD: “I wake up around 5:30 every morning, and for the first thirty minutes, I get a coffee, I sit on the couch with Scout because nobody is up at my house at that time, and I journal. So I'll journal. And I'm in a group with some girls that we Marco Polo, and we check in with each other about our health. And so I'll likely watch the Marco Polos and then check in myself. So it's just kind of a centering moment for me in the first thirty minutes. From there, I then will either walk Scout, or I will do weights and walk Scout. So I kind of alternate that. So there's always journaling, checking in with my group, and working out. Those are in my morning routines.”
“So the night before, I've already planned my day, so I don't need to do that in the morning. And I also plan my food for the day in the morning. So I'll make sure that I know exactly what I'm eating throughout the day. Some of you might think that's very restrictive. This is how I do it. It works for me, so I don't emotionally eat my feelings during the day when I get stressed. So essentially, my morning routine is very easy.”
“Now, once or twice a week, I've been adding ten minutes of meditation. Sunday I'll plan when I'm going to work out and when I'm going to meditate. I don't like to meditate. I actually don't even like to journal. However, I like the results. And that's being an adult, doing things that in the moment might not be your favorite thing but you know the results are incredible.”
“So that's essentially what my morning routine looks like. Other options would include doing some breath work or stretching. I don't know. There's so many different things you can do in your morning routine. Whatever works for you. Just be realistic.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Okay, before we get going, a quick word from our sponsor.
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All right. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Well, hey, there, friend. Now, before you think this is just another habits episode, I want you to hold your horses, because this is not just another habits episode. This episode is a real–life, no–fluff, habits–in–a–time–of–pandemic, necessary podcast episode if you're serious about becoming the best version of yourself while building a six– or seven–figure business and finding not just work–life balance but finding consistent and long–term full–life balance. Boom. Do I have your attention?
Now, maybe you're thinking, “Great, Amy. Habits are habits. Why don't you just give me a step by step for growing my business?” Well, I'm so excited that you have this on your mind. And trust me, I've got tons of past episodes and upcoming episodes to help you with that step by step to grow your business. What I want to make sure you're not missing is that success in your business and success in your personal life are highly intertwined. You know that, right? If you're struggling or neglecting one area, the other area will suffer as well. That's why habits are so important for all areas of your life and why I wanted to commit an entire episode to create habits, because habits right now in a pandemic are so incredibly important. On top of that, I just welcomed a ton of new Digital Course Academy students—shout out to all of you. I love you—and I want to make sure that, whether you're a DCA student or not, you're setting yourself up for success in the morning and as you lay your head down to sleep and even in between.
Oh, and don’t you worry. I’ve got a step-by-step process in here for you, so just hold on. So, my friend, buckle up and get ready to make your habits stronger than they've ever been and ones that really will just stick for life with just the right amount of flexibility.
Okay, I’m going to jump off my soapbox, and in today’s episode I’m sharing the three Ps for creating life-long habits to set you up for some serious success as an entrepreneur and beyond. In fact, this could be my Porterfield Process for Locking in Habits. If you know, you know.
All right, let's get to it. Step one is pitch. Step two is practice. Step three is perfect. These three simple steps will have you dominating your habits within a few weeks. And be sure to stick around for my hot tip at the very end about committing to your habits.
All right. Let's go ahead and dive in.
Let's take a little trip back to January 1, 2020. Do you remember that day? I sure do. I remember lying in bed the morning of January one. My eyes popped open. I looked at Hobie. He was still sleeping. I fully woke him up, and I literally said the words, “This is our year. This is going to be the year.” I remember my feet hitting the floor. I had so much energy. I was excited. It was a beautiful, crisp day here in Carlsbad, California. I was ready to take on the world. Oh, man. I'm embarrassed to even say that now. I had so much fire in my heart for the New Year—2020 was going to be my year. Can you relate? Please tell me I'm not alone in my delusion. So, little did we know what was boiling under the surface.
So as 2020 began to unfold with COVID and then racial injustice, riots, and so much uncertainty, a lot of my habits started to fall apart. And I know this was also true for my audience because I saw this in your posts on social media. And it got me thinking back to something James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, said. He said your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. Now, I say this knowing that white privilege is very alive and well, so when I talk about this, I genuinely mean focusing on what we can control, which I realize looks vastly different for everyone. But this made me realize that when everything else feels out of control, there are a few things that I can control. And those are my habits.
However, I'm approaching my habits in a different way. And if you're ready to build the business of your dreams, whether that's a multimillion–dollar business or a business that allows you to work from anywhere, whenever you want, whatever it is, or if you're just wanting to find some balance between being an entrepreneur and other areas of your life, it's essential that you set long–term—and I repeat, long–term—habits that support your mental, physical, emotional, and entrepreneurial well–being. So let's get you set up for life–long habits, using my proven step–by–step process. You didn't think I wouldn't have a step–by–step process, right? Let's get to it.
Step number one, pitch. Pitch your possible morning routine and your possible evening routine. And yes, both are extremely important. So when I say pitch, I want you to throw it out there. What might it look like? Your morning routine should energize you, clear your mind, and set you up for whatever the day might throw at you. Your evening routine should help you to tie up any loose ends, declutter your mind, and set you up for a restful night's sleep, and even, just as importantly, set you up to shut it down, and then, for like most of us, be with your family. I know that I've had really terrible shut–down routines, meaning nonexistent, and so when I end work and I go downstairs, and Hobie’s been waiting for me all day to come snuggle up and be present with him, and my mind is racing about all the things I didn't get done or need to get done or whatever, and he's like, “Babe, come back to me”—that’s what Hobie always says to me when my mind is somewhere else. “Babe, come back to me”—and that happened more often than I'd like to admit. So let me tell you that evening routine where you're tying up loose ends is so important.
So as we go through this first step of pitching your routines, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. For starters, the more complicated you make your habits and the more layers your habits have, the less likely you are to do them. I am speaking from experience here. I am the girl who likes to have twenty habits that I really think I'm going to get to, and in reality, I might get to three. So you know my motto for business and in life, keep it simple.
Also, keep these realistic for you. Make it work for you. So I'm thinking of, let's say, my listeners who have kids—my mommas and my dads out there. I know that your habits will look vastly different from someone who doesn't have kids. So don’t try to make your routines based off someone you admire on Instagram who doesn’t have kids. It’s just not going to work.
This reminds me of when I asked my entrepreneurial friends to do an episode about their morning habits. I’ll link to that episode in the show notes because it was really cool to hear how other people set up their mornings. But Kate Northrup, my sweet, sweet friend who has two children, she said, “Amy,”—she recorded this for everyone to hear it. She said, “You're likely not going to be impressed with my morning habits. They really don't look the same to anybody else. I've got two toddlers right now. Sometimes my morning is a joke.” And I love that she was so realistic with it. So be realistic.
Also, I want you to see your a.m. and p.m. routines as non-negotiable. Yes, everything in life has to be flexible, but I want you to at least approach them as they’re non–negotiable. So in your mind, that's your first line of defense. Nothing gets in the way of them. So just like an important doctor's appointment. Put them in your schedule. Make that date with yourself, and don't cancel it. And this is exactly why you must be realistic with your habits.
And lastly, when you're creating or setting habits, don't do something that is drastically different from what you're already doing. For example, if you wake up at 8:00 a.m. every morning, don’t say you’re going to wake up at 5:30 a.m., because we know you’re not going to do it, right? Now, you can lead up to that, but we're not going to start there, right? So you can adjust your habits as you get better and better.
Okay. So start out by grabbing a pen and paper. And I recommend this because we're actually going to track our habits in the coming steps. First, write down about how much time you want or can commit to your routines. So maybe you have thirty minutes in the morning that you can commit to a routine, or just fifteen or twenty or sixty, whatever. And then, of course, for the end of the day as well. Now, remember to make it work for you. So if you do this, maybe it means that you're going to let go of a habit that isn't serving you. So maybe you got into the habit, like me, of checking your email and your social media right when you wake up. I had to break that habit and completely stop it. It's funny that we have to remember we all have habits. It's just that are the habits serving us or not? You do the same thing probably every morning, but we want to change what you're doing so it makes you have a better day, be a better person, and get to those goals that you are striving for.
Okay. So physically write out a list of habits that you'd like to include in your morning routine. Here's what mine look like, and feel free to do something similar. So for me, I wake up around 5:30 every morning, and for the first thirty minutes, I get a coffee, I sit on the couch with Scout because nobody is up at my house at that time, and I journal. So I'll journal. And I'm in a group with some girls that we Marco Polo, and we check in with each other about our health. And so I'll likely watch the Marco Polos and then check in myself. So it's just kind of a centering moment for me in the first thirty minutes. From there, I then will either walk Scout, or I will do weights and walk Scout. So I kind of alternate that. So there's always journaling, checking in with my group, and working out. Those are in my morning routines.
So the night before, I've already planned my day, so I don't need to do that in the morning. And I also plan my food for the day in the morning. So I'll make sure that I know exactly what I'm eating throughout the day. Some of you might think that's very restrictive. This is how I do it. It works for me, so I don't emotionally eat my feelings during the day when I get stressed. So essentially, my morning routine is very easy.
Now, once or twice a week, I've been adding ten minutes of meditation. Sunday I'll plan when I'm going to work out and when I'm going to meditate. I don't like to meditate. I actually don't even like to journal. However, I like the results. And that's being an adult, doing things that in the moment might not be your favorite thing but you know the results are incredible.
So that's essentially what my morning routine looks like. Other options would include doing some breath work or stretching. I don't know. There's so many different things you can do in your morning routine. Whatever works for you. Just be realistic.
All right. So for more inspiration, check out episode 289, “The Entrepreneurs’ Morning Routine.” That's the one where Kate Northrup's like, let me get real with you. That episode is really incredible. So amyporterfield.com/289, you can hear how my entrepreneurial friends set up their morning routine as well. And you'll hear mine then is a little different than it is now. I'm always tweaking and making it better and serving the life that I have right now. Like, what's going on in my life, I might need to tweak my habits, and I'll do so.
And now a quick word from our sponsor.
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Now, I know what you're likely thinking. “Okay, Amy. How do I get in on this?” Well, right now, LinkedIn is offering my listeners a free $100 LinkedIn Ad credit to launch your very first campaign. So to grab your $100 credit, visit linkedin.com/amy. Terms and conditions do apply.
And now let's get back to the episode.
Now next, write down the things that you'd like to include in your evening routine. So for me, an evening routine is really just a shut down. And I learned this from Hyatt & Company in terms of how to kind of shut down your day. So for an evening routine for me, it takes about twenty minutes. And this is all it is. Basically, I'll decide when I'm going to stop work that day. So let's say it's at 6:00 p.m. So if I stop work at 6:00 p.m., I then will then go through my email, clean up anything I can to try to get to Inbox zero. I will look at all the things that I got done that day and what I didn't get done and decide, well, where am I going to move the stuff I didn't get done today? Where am I going to move it to? And I also have started to reflect on why I didn't get it done. Am I trying to cram too many things in one day? Is this unrealistic? So I kind of evaluate how my day went. It takes, like, two minutes.
And then from there—I use a Full Focus Planner. Highly recommend it. And if you haven't yet looked at the Coil Full Focus Planner, they have one that's like a notebook, a coil notebook. I am obsessed with it. So if you go to amyporterfield.com/fullfocusplanner, you can check out all of the planners that I love. But the coil one, get ready to be amazed.
So, anyway, I use the Full Focus Planner. And they help you with morning routines and evening routines. But one of the things I do is I plan out my entire day before I shut down today. So if I were going to do this today at six o'clock, I would plan out tomorrow—all the meetings, all the tasks. And I always make sure that whatever’s in my Full Focus Planner is in Asana, which is the digital tool we use for all tasks. So I kind of do a double–duty: Full Focus Planner and Asana. I make sure they're matched up. So to me, that just works.
So that's all I'm really doing. I'm checking email. I’m checking Slack. I'm checking Asana. I'm planning for my day. It takes twenty to thirty minutes. Boom. I'm done.
But that means I go downstairs, and I'm all focused on Hobie. Now, remember, Cade went to college, so he's not here anymore. So Hobie gets all of me. And that's important when I've been working since, essentially, when I woke up, right? Like, I'm go, go, go, go, go. And I love that. That works for Hobie and I. But when I shut it down, I want to be present. I can't be present without an evening routine.
Now, your evening routine could look so different than mine. You could actually plan to read in the evening, or some people I know like to color. So you could plan to color every evening just to kind of calm your nerves and de-stress. So yours is likely going to look very different than mine. Mine's not super exciting, but it works for me. So what do you need to do in the evening to shut it down and to be present with yourself or your loved ones at home? Something to think about.
Now, again, when you're selecting the things you want to include, ask yourself, am I actually going to do this? Again, just because you saw someone else do it on Instagram doesn't mean it‘s a good fit for you. I wish that were true, but it's not. So there’s step one, pitch your morning and evening routine.
Okay. Next step is step two, which is practice. So using the morning and evening routine that you just pitched for yourself in step one, now I want you to practice them for seven days. So each day, I want you to write down each habit so that you can track it, and then examine which ones are working for you and which ones are not, so that you can really focus on the ones that you need to get better at. So for me, tracking these habits helps me to better commit to them. I need to see them every single day. And you know that I like to write stuff down. So do what works best for you. But I do want you to make it a point that they are in front of you every single day. So wake up in the morning, read your morning routine, and then do it. And then actually read your evening routine so it's top of mind so when you get there, you're remembering what you want to do.
Maybe it's just me, but there's something really satisfying as well about crossing out each of the habits that I do. I know. I'm neurotic. So I do like taking notes and then crossing them out.
So when you do this for seven days, notice if you're not committing to certain habits that you've included in your routines. And ask yourself, why? I don't want you just to give up on them. You know, they often say that it takes thirty days to actually make it a habit. But in these seven days, I'm just saying that I want you to examine what are you doing and why aren't you doing the things you committed to? And maybe, maybe, maybe, you have too many. So what if you're getting to three of them, but there's four that you're not? What if you had seven habits? Maybe you just need to cut them down and just focus on those three until you've dialed them in, and then come back and add some more.
I've said it once, and I'll say it again, but the more you complicate these things, the less likely you'll succeed. So I need you to keep it simple. And honestly, even if you're doing two things in the morning and two things in the evening, that's probably way better—like, very intentional things that are making you a better person—it's probably better than what you're doing now, right? So let's just start out simple and make it easy for ourselves.
Also, keep reminding yourself of why you're doing your routines. Not only does this significantly improve your entrepreneurial performance, it helps you to minimize your stress. So if you get really clear on why you're doing it, you're not constantly beating yourself up for not doing it. You're just saying, “No, I'm going to give it another shot. My why is important here.” So please be kind to yourself.
So step number two is easy. You are just going to practice this for the next seven days and just be aware of what's coming up for you. If you need to tweak, by all means, do so.
And then step number three is that we're going to perfect this. So now that we've played around with some different habits and you've tracked them for seven days, it's time to dial in and commit to your morning and evening routine for thirty days. You knew we'd get there, right? I'm going to let you play with them for seven days, just to make sure you dial them in. Now, it's go time, my friend. And you and I love go time, right? It's like, bring it on. Here we go. I love a challenge. So we're all adults here. So if you can't agree with me that thirty days fly by in the blink of an eye, well, then, I don’t even know who you are. This is going to go by so fast. What I'm trying to say is that thirty days isn't very long to commit to creating habits that will improve your mental, emotional, physical, and entrepreneurial well-being. If you can commit thirty days, you can commit long term. And let's both make a promise that that's our goal, right?
So I want you to DM me on Instagram. I'm @amyporterfield on Instagram. That's where I'm the most active in my DMs. But I want you to DM me and let me know if you're in. Are you going to commit to these three steps? Are you going to pitch, then practice, and then perfect? Like, just say, “I'm in.” Go into the DM and say, “I’m in.” The reason I want you to do this is I actually want you to make a commitment beyond yourself, even, just to say, “Listen, keep me accountable. I'm in. I'm going to do this.” And then, if you're so bold, let me know in thirty days how it goes for you. I genuinely want to know how you're doing.
So, if you're a perfectionist like me, I want to remind you that if you don't accomplish your morning or evening routine one of the days, I challenge you just to let it go. Pick right up and just get going again. You're not going to be perfect at this. But just because you miss a day doesn't mean that you should give up entirely. We know this, right? Allow for some flexibility. Remember, you don't have to have it all perfect in order for this to work. Let's just remember that 2020 was the most unpredictable year of our lives. So let's just give yourself a little grace and just say, “Look, you've gotten this far. You're solid. You're golden.” It's okay if you miss a few days on these routines or these habits. All I care about is you wake up the next morning and you get back to work. Deal? Okay.
And I said, at the end I'd give you a hot tip, and here it is. I want you to give yourself a little reward at the end of step two, which is practice. So at the end of those seven days, I want you to do something fun for yourself once you get through those. And then I want you to give yourself another fun reward at the end of thirty days.
So a little glimpse into my life. What would be a super–fun reward for me? Definitely a massage or a facial. Now, I do those anyway, so I must be just rewarding myself all the time. I must think very highly of myself. But I like looking forward to something like, “Okay, Amy. You get through these seven days, you've scheduled a facial at the end, something to look forward to.” So just have a little fun with it. Who doesn't want to reward themselves, right? So I like to.
James Clear emphasizes the importance of giving yourself a reward because he says it closes the feedback loop and completes the habit cycle. Now, I don't need to say this. I think you already know this. Go read James Clear's book, Atomic Habits. Literally life changing. He was on the show. One of my most popular podcast episodes. So if you're like, “Okay, I need some new habits. You're speaking to me, Amy,” James Clear is way better at teaching this stuff than I am. I'm just sharing with you what's worked for me lately. And so I want you to do these three steps. But if you're like, “Oh, I need to go deeper,” go check out the episode I did with James Clear. It's number 295. So amyporterfield.com/295, get ready to have your mind blown. All right. So there you go. And just again, a reminder, James Clear believes that you should reward yourself, and I do, too.
Let's wrap this up. All right, my friend, there you have it. The simple three Ps for making your habits stick. I know I speak for many entrepreneurs when I say that committing to a routine in the morning and before closing your eyes at night plays a big role in succeeding as an entrepreneur and succeeding in your personal life. I can't stress this enough. In a time of uncertainty, these small habits and routines can significantly improve your well-being on all levels. DM me on Instagram. I'm just @amyporterfield. And let me know how your three Ps are going. I want to hear from you. So jump on Instagram; send me a DM.
Also, I'll see you again next week for another excellent episode. So I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.