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How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

Several years ago, after years of trying, my husband and I became parents to 3 kids within 19 months. I became fiercely determined to have a totally fulfilling life as a mom, and be very present for my kids, and also reach really big career goals. That was my definition of having it all – and I was on fire to figure out how to make it happen. I quickly discovered I wasn’t alone. In fact, many people are seeking a sense of balance in their lives. As Stephen Covey says,

“The challenge of work-life balance is without question, one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.”

It can be incredibly difficult to feel a sense of balance when we are juggling careers, personal responsibilities, family time, self-care, recreational activities, social time, community service, and more.

I knew in order to achieve huge career goals and also be a very hands-on, present mom, I would need to streamline my life. I would need to eliminate the non-essential activities I was doing. I would need to cut out the time-sucking, empty activities like mindlessly scrolling through social media or checking email a million times per day, and be very intentional with my time every day. Each and every day, it would be important to tell my time where to go.

It required significant focus on my priorities, and a ruthless elimination of many time-sucking activities, but I stuck with my determination to achieve career success and also a fulfilling personal life, and I made it happen. By being very focused and purposeful about where I spent my time and energy, I achieved the elusive sense of balance, and now I help other entrepreneurs and driven professionals achieve it too.

People who have achieved fulfilling, successful lives have specific habits. While most people find it very difficult to be amazing and satisfied both at work and in their personal lives, the successful, fulfilled people know it’s not impossible. Learn from the habits of successful and fulfilled people to reach higher levels of fulfilling success:

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1. Have clarity about what you want

Successful, fulfilled people know exactly what they want to achieve. They know what’s important to them and set crystal clear targets to aim for in their careers and lives. These people don’t have vague aspirations. Instead, they set very specific goals that align with their priorities, and they direct their time and efforts toward achieving these goals.

Find out more about how to identify the thing you want most in Why I Can Be the Only 8% of People Who Reach the Goal Every Single Time.

2. Define success on your terms

Successful, fulfilled people define success their own way. They understand they can only be satisfied if they achieve success that truly matters to them. While they appreciate the value of hard work, their definition of a successful life is often more holistic than just achieving financial results.

3. Stand your ground

Successful, fulfilled people understand the importance of saying “no.” They set boundaries so they can focus their lives and work on what matters most. They avoid falling prey to enticing goals that don’t align with their true purpose, priorities, and passions.

4. Be highly productive

Successful, fulfilled people know how to get things done. They know in order to have “it all” and balance their careers and personal lives, they need to avoid wasting time. When they aspire to do something, they get it done.

Take a look at how successful people stay productive in 10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity.

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5. Be strategic with time

Successful, fulfilled people are intentional with their time. They strategically fit their work into their ideal lifestyle. As a result, their hard-earned success doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Try to perceive time differently and you will start to make every second count. Read more about How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

6. Make decisions confidently

Successful, fulfilled people powerfully make decisions. They make choices that align with who they are and what they truly want. They courageously turn down opportunities that don’t line up with their values.

The best way is to start to build confidence from within, check out this article about How to Build Confidence From Scratch.

7. Know your priorities

Successful, fulfilled people have clarity about their priorities. They work hard, but avoid a “succeed at all costs” mentality. While they achieve great results in their careers, they also are high performers in the other areas of life that matter to them.

Learn to organize your life by setting the right priorities for yourself in How To Organize Your Life By Priority And Not Urgency.

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8. Don’t get jealous of others

Successful, fulfilled people congratulate and praise the achievements of others. They don’t feel threatened by the success of others. Instead, they are happy to create their own version of success and they greatly enjoy their lifestyle. Read more about the impact of endless comparison with others in The Cost of Envy.

9. Be disciplined

Successful, fulfilled people know they are in charge of creating their best lives. They realize that ultimately, they are in control of what they do with their lives, and they accept this power. They see the vision of who they want to be and they stick to their plan.

Learn more about the importance of self-discipline in Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind.

10. Know how to delegate

Successful, fulfilled people declutter their lives. They delegate tasks at work and in their personal lives. As a result, they can enjoy more time freedom and do more of what they love.

Going is alone doesn’t work. If you want to know more about the benefits of delegating tasks to others, read The Delights of Delegation.

11. Be grateful but not complacent

Successful, fulfilled people appreciate what they have. However, they also strive to achieve more of what truly matters. They do this because they know they will use their success to make a positive impact on the world.

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A fulfilling life is not an aspiration, but an everyday habit

Building habits takes time but you can start with these small things:

Get clear about your priorities.

Who do you most want to be? What do you want your life to be like? These questions can be tough and can be an evolving process, but when you are clear about what matters most to you, you can start eliminating the activities that don’t align with what matters most.

Write out a schedule for your day.

When you tell your time where to go, you can decrease the time spent on time-sucking, empty activities. Being intentional with your time can help you achieve your career and personal goals.

Decrease the noise.

We are bombarded every day by thousands of distractions that threaten to take our time away from what matters most. Very simple (yet not always easy) strategies such as shutting off our phones, or only checking email at set times, can help us be more present, productive, and fulfilled.

Achieving high levels of career success while having a satisfying personal life is definitely possible. I’ve done it, and so can you.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again 5 Signs You’re Ready for a Career Change How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them

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Last Updated on September 22, 2020

How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

You have probably heard the success stories about people who wake up early. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, and Olympic medalist Caroline Burckle all talk about the positive impact of waking up early on their lives.

Even though many assign a portion of their success to waking up early, many find it difficult to make the switch. While most people know what needs to happen to change their life, they find then difficult to implement consistently. To understand how to wake up early, you need to tap into the wisdom of those already doing it.

Here are the 6 things early risers do:

1. Stop Procrastinating

The first thing you need to do when you want to learn how to wake up early is to go to sleep earlier. Stop procrastinating. You will find it much easier to wake up when you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Set a bedtime that allows you to get 8-hours of sleep and hold yourself accountable.

The problem most of you will have at first is how tired you will feel. If you are someone who goes to sleep after midnight, waking up by 6 a.m. will not be easy. The reason you need to push through that initial difficulty is that you are going to be very tired at the end of the day. Realistically, you probably would fall asleep at your desk or doze off on your lunch break. Either way, waking up early no matter how you feel will motivate you to go sleep at the proper time that night.

Think of it as someone who procrastinated until the night before their project was due. Having done this myself, you do what you need to do to complete the project, whether that means working all night or cutting some corners because you don’t have time to triple-check your work.

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After you turn in your project, you feel both exhaustion and jubilation. After you make it through the workday and crash at home, you promise yourself you’ll never wait until the last minute again. This same feeling will happen when you force yourself to wake up early no matter what time you went to sleep. You are going to promise yourself you will go to bed at the right time.

Most people don’t go to bed when they should because they know they will ultimately make it up in the morning.

2. Pace Yourself

If you want to start waking up a couple of hours earlier each day, you may not be able to make that change all at once. It stands to reason the more drastic the shift, the more difficult it will be.

So, instead of trying to adjust your sleep pattern by several hours, start in 15-minute or 30-minute intervals.[1] If you wake up 30 minutes earlier each week, you will be a morning person by the end of the month. This may feel like you are drawing out your goal but in reality, you are accomplishing it much quicker than most. Most people who are naturally night owls find it difficult to completely change their sleep habits overnight.

Think of it as someone who is trying to quit drinking coffee. Outside of the fact you may enjoy the taste of coffee, your body is used to operating with a certain amount of caffeine and sugar. Some will be able to quit overnight and their body will adjust accordingly. And if you are one of those people, then do what works for you.

However, if you were to take an incremental approach, then you may first start drinking your coffee black. Then, you could switch to decaf before slowly lowering the amount of coffee you drink each day. As you can see, this approach will help minimize the feeling of withdrawal while getting the results you want.

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3. Watch Your Lighting

Light reduces your body’s production of the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone. In practical terms, your body naturally wants to be awake when the sun is up and go to sleep when the sun is down. This is called your circadian rhythm.

In the technology-driven world we currently live in, you likely look at a screen or two before bed. Studies show television and phone screens trick your body into thinking the sun is up. As a result, your body starts producing less melatonin. To help you fall asleep, you should stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed.

This can also mean that if you want to wake up before the sun, looking at your screen when you wake up can help you to stay awake.

Peter Balyta, the President of Education Technology for Texas Instruments says he wakes up at 5:20 a.m. and scans his emails before starting his day. This is also true for M.I.T. president L. Rafael Rief. He wakes up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. and checks his phone for anything urgent.[2]

4. Make It Worth Your Time

Have you ever woken up early but went back to sleep because you didn’t have a reason to stay up? To put it another way, have you ever fallen asleep because you didn’t have anything better to do?

If you want to be excited about going to sleep and waking up early, then you need to give yourself a reason to be excited. You can accomplish this by listing the three things you want to accomplish the next morning. Notice I said “want” and not “need” to accomplish. You don’t want to be dragging yourself into the next morning kicking and screaming.

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Your list should not only include what you want to accomplish but also why you want to accomplish it. If you want to take it a step further, list the consequences of not waking up early.

People who have figured out how to wake up early are shown to be more successful, persistent, and proactive in their life. They tend to be happier and handle stress better. It is also shown that people who wake up early procrastinate less.[3] If you find any of these benefits something you want to add in your life, then waking up early is shown to help.

5. Avoid Binging

There is a difference between sleeping and getting a good night’s sleep. Sure, you can drink alcohol and fall asleep, but you will not be getting quality rest. You will wake up feeling as though you slept for only a couple hours.

It is best to stop drinking at least 4 hours before bedtime. Binge drinking is known to impact your sleep-inducing melatonin hormone levels for up to a week. The same holds true with eating a large meal right before bed. It is not that your body can’t process food and sleep at the same time. The main concern has more to do with the possibility of indigestion or heartburn than anything else.

If you find yourself dealing with either of these symptoms, then you may want to stop eating at least two hours before bed.

6. Get the Blood Flowing

Those who have mastered the technique of how to wake up early tend to start each morning with movement.

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Your first movement is to get out of bed. To help you get out of bed, have your alarm far enough away that you need to get up and turn it off. Before you allow yourself to contemplate going back to sleep, take a moment, and do 10 push-ups or 10 jumping jacks. Think of each exercise as you taking one step further from being able to go back to sleep.

Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning. She starts each day by exercising. Her exercises include running, weight lifting, swimming, and cycling.

You decide for yourself how you want to get your blood flowing. Whether you want to go on a walk, workout at the gym, or do something at home, make sure you are scheduling time to exercise.

Final Thoughts

The key to understanding how to wake up early is to recognize that it is heavily driven by the actions you take the night before. You will wake up early if you go to bed at a good time and get the proper amount of sleep.

By taking the time to prepare yourself both mentally and physically each night, you can ensure you are positioned for success the next morning. Once you have taken the proper actions the night before, make sure you use that momentum to start your day, on time.

The goal is to make the actions you want to take as easy as possible. The key to changing your life is to discover a way to have the wind at your back, going in the direction you want.

More Tips on How to Wake up Early

Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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