Not many people know this about me, frankly, because it’s not my favorite quality about myself; but historically, I’ve quit when things have gotten hard. There’s been a few exceptions where I was especially determined (losing 120lbs is a good example), but classically, as soon as something got too challenging or too uncomfortable, I stopped.
Psychology degree online (with 2 kids at the time).
Literally every 30 day challenge I’ve ever done except maybe one. Challenge not accepted.
Working out (sticking with it forever, not blurbs. But I’m working on that.)
I think mainly there were three things that held me back:
- Fear of the unknown (What will happen if I can’t do it?)
- Fear of being challenged and not succeeding within a “set” time component (What will happen if it takes me longer? What if I’m not smart enough?)
- Fear of what people say or think (Haven’t you been trying to do that for 5 years now? Wasn’t that a 3 year program?)
So in a nutshell, fear, fear, fear.
Challenge intimidates me, so most of the time I don’t quit because I can’t do something; I quit because I’m intimidated by possibility of failing. I don’t like that about myself. I also don’t like that I care entirely too much what people think, because to be honest, nobody else is living my life but me.
I’m a huge planner, sometimes to the point I get SO wrapped up with the planning… I flounder in the execution part. I have been one to start things that I don’t see through, but there’s a pattern: I don’t see through promises to myself, but if I tell someone else I’ll do something, I show the heck up. That’s not okay. In what world is it okay to continually, habitually break promises to myself of all people?
When I was writing my goals at the end of 2018 for the following year, as I do every year, I had put on my goals at the beginning of the year: become a finisher. I had no idea what that would come to mean to me at the time.
In the beginning of 2018, I had started batting around the idea of blogging. And, being Hannah, I planned it EXTENSIVELY. Like up to 5 years from then. I made a Pinterest board and a huge Google doc with alllll the things. Then I looked at it, got overwhelmed with all the stuff… then, that’s all I did.
I have shared before how Tiny Joyful Treasures started at my dining room table, 3 weeks postpartum. I was breastfeeding Lexi and I remember looking at Joey and saying something like, “If I don’t do it, I’m never going to do it. If I don’t get past the overwhelming planning and overthinking and don’t just start somewhere, I never will.” Without missing a beat, my biggest supporter in the world responded, “Then do it.”
I never needed his permission (and he wouldn’t have said I did, either), but something about his validation made it okay to take the leap of faith, and if that’s what you need today friend, this is your friend Hannah telling you that it’s okay. Do it. I read somewhere where someone said waiting for the right time is dangerous. The time is now.
That’s what sank in that night. Maybe I was fueled on by the crazy hormone roller coaster a mama is still riding 3 weeks postpartum, but I like to think it was just the amount of crazy I needed at the time. I had seen others that had been successful with blogging that were making wonderful incomes and living lifestyles I dreamed of, and I thought “Why couldn’t I do the same thing?” but my confidence wasn’t there.
But this particular time, I thought… “What if this time, I don’t quit?”
I honestly attribute a lot of that mindset to the amazing Rachel Hollis. If you don’t know who she is, Google her ASAP. Her books have truly changed my mindset and changed my life. Her goal-getting confidence in YOU inspires a spark in a way that’s just the right amount of kick in the pants without being cheesy. I don’t do cheesy.
She has no idea I exist, but she’s my mentor and BFF. And she’ll probably never know I exist, but she has challenged the way I’ve thought about myself my whole life, and made me consider that everything that’s been ingrained in me, passively or intentionally, may not necessarily be good, or even be true.
As 2019 wraps up and a fresh slate of a year of possibility and opportunity lies before us, I want to challenge you a little bit. What’s your thing? What’s your dream? What sets your soul on fire? The “what if” that you go to bed thinking about, that you daydream about, that you think as you’re zoning out when you’re driving, “If I had just ___________”?
Think of that thing. Now ask yourself, what if you went for it? Like gas pedal to the floor, and just didn’t give up.
No reservations. No doubts in yourself. No “if I can’s”. You just do it.
What if you DETERMINE within yourself, that if you fail, you will use it to grow? Because after all, if you aren’t failing, you aren’t growing. And If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.
What if you just don’t quit?
What if you persevere no matter how hard it gets?
What’s on the other side?
Will you finally be who you’ve always wanted to be?
What if you miss your calling because you were too intimidated?
What if you don’t live up to your potential?
Whose lives will be impacted because you missed an opportunity and didn’t live the life you always wanted?
What’s holding you back?
Who is going to miss out from what you have to offer because you’re letting fear paralyze you into quitting?
These thoughts were just a few of the ones I had when I sat down with a baby, quite literally, latched on to me, Googled “Siteground”, and typed “tinyjoyfultreasures.com” for the very first time.
I had no earthly idea what I was doing. I was as intimidated as I have ever been.
What if nobody takes me seriously?
Who am I to talk about being a mom or a wife?
What qualifies me?
What if people think it’s stupid?
What if nobody cares about what I have to say?
But I knew I had to do it anyway, because someone, somewhere would miss out on what I had to offer. Even if it was only one person, I was doing it for her. And if I didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this post today, which is hopefully enriching to the beautiful person you already are.
Among starting finally Tiny Joyful Treasures, some of the other healthy habits I have stuck with in 2019 are:
Drinking enough water!
Doing yoga almost daily (5-6x/week).
Journaling my goals every single day.
Q U I T T I N G RED BULL and energy drinks in general after drinking them for 13 years! This was huge for me. I literally had a can in my hand for the better part of 13 years.
These were massive achievements for me! These keys I’m laying out today can be applied to endless life situations, but for the purpose of this post, I’ll be referencing what helped me in starting Tiny Joyful Treasures and sticking with it, and how you can apply these same concepts to nearly any goal in your own life.
Is she still a baby? By most people’s definitions, yeah.
But she’s growing. And she isn’t going anywhere.
So when you break down sticking to goals and making them into a lifestyle, there’s a few tricks here, and I’ve learned them from my BFF Rach. She has quite literally changed my life, and if you don’t know who she is, you need to (did I already say that?).
This is not an ad in any way, shape, or form; this is just for free because I believe it will enrich your life as much as it has mine: my Start Today Journal is one of my favorite things that I own.
This thing has revolutionized my life. I talk about it more in this snazzy post.
The trick behind this amazing practice that sets it apart from other journals, that has given Rachel, myself, and thousands (maybe millions) of other people REAL results, REAL change, and tangible success and accomplishing their goals and dreams is the language you use.
You can talk about resolutions and sticking with it until the cows come home, but there’s something about taking,
“I want to get in shape” or “I will get in shape,” and changing it to, “I am in the best shape of my life”.
“I will start a blog” became, “I have a successful, profitable blog.
I don’t have science to back this up, but I heard this from Rachel and have found it to be very true for me on a personal level (and I’m paraphrasing her idea here): “I will” or “I want to” is telling your brain I have to do this. Not motivating. Not to me anyway; if I’m being honest, if anything, that can be intimidating.
If you change your language relating to your dreams, you will change your life.
I started writing, “I have a successful, profitable blog” long before I believed it, among other things; and this crazy thing happened… The more I wrote it, the more I believed it. Writing and re-writing the pillars of the person you want to become over days, weeks, and months, shifts your mindset in a way that I haven’t found any other way to do.
My Goals Road Map follows this idea by writing as past and present tense.
Without further ado, here are the things that I’m doing that are acting as a road map to guiding me to success from shifting away from resolutions and into the lifestyle I’ve dreamed of; and how you can do it, too. Let’s go!
Think sincerely about what is/was holding you back.
Fear, basically (that was the biggie for me, anyway).
Turn your weaknesses into strengths.
What if I’m not smart enough? What will people think? What if it takes too long?
“What if I’m not smart enough?” became, “I have a desire and a willingness to learn.”
Not knowing doesn’t make you less than, it makes you teachable. Even the smartest people can’t compete with a person with a determination to learn, evolve, and do better.
“What will people think?” became, “Other people’s opinions of me is none of my business.” That’s from my bff Rach.
“What if it takes too long?” became, “The time will pass anyway, so who cares?” That’s not an original, but man, is it true.
Take the leap.
Hormones might have had something to do with this, but at some point, you have to just do it. If you don’t take a step and start SOMEWHERE, anywhere, you’ll never do it.
Start thinking more of others (and less of yourself).
I started thinking less about myself and more about who I wanted to reach. I started thinking of you, reading this right now! I started thinking about the people I wanted to help, encourage, enrich, and make smile, and less about the fact that I had no earthly idea what I was doing. WHO will this impact?
When you get stuck, get help.
This was absolutely integral and one of the reasons why I loved the blogging course I took. They offered real time help. I needed a lot of wisdom from people who’d gone before me; mainly on the ins and outs and geeky tech stuff because that’s just not my strong suit; and I say with confidence that whatever your dream is, there are resources and help available to you in the pursuit of your goals, too.
In the past, I have always wanted to do everything myself, which obviously wasn’t working out too well for me.
This time I acknowledged that there was a LOT about blogging that I didn’t know, and gave myself permission to accept the help that was available to me by people who have been where I was in that moment.
When you get frustrated, step away.
Instead of burning myself out like I had in the past and just trying to “power through”, I switched gears, refreshed myself, and came back to it later with a fresh mindset.
You can apply this to almost anything: dealing with kids, avoiding arguments with your husband (or anyone else), work, hobbies; whatever. You learn it and train yourself into doing it, and with practice, it gets easier.
Get okay with the fact that you will fail (along the way).
I have heard this time and time again and never wanted to accept it; until I did something way out of the comfort zone that I had no earthly idea how to do. And I have found it to be so true that you will fail when you’re outside of your comfort zone; and if you’re not challenging yourself to step outside of that, you are doing yourself a disservice by living as a limited version of yourself.
Of course you’ll fail when you’re trying to do something you’ve never done! And that isn’t only normal, it’s HEALTHY.
Do you know why?
Because failure means you’re growing.
Failure means you’re learning!
And you will learn. And you will get better. And it will feel easier.
Listen to music that pumps you up.
Slow music inspires slow movement. Pumped music inspires pumped movement. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve written and times I’ve worked to Skillet or Disciple.
Stop downplaying it.
Why do we do this? I didn’t call my blog a “hobby” or a “little thing I do on the side”, I call it “a business” (because that’s what it is) and told my kids “Mommy is working, just like Daddy goes to work”. Call it what it is!
I won’t lie and say this wasn’t awkward at first when when you’re making zero dollars, but the more I said these things out loud, the more I believed myself.
Say what and who you want to be – even if you’re not there yet.
Our language that we use is so important. Be intentional about the words you choose. I heard once that whatever your words say out loud, your brain starts to form neural pathways to support whatever you say. Your words matter. If I could bold that bigger, I would.
Start taking yourself seriously if you want others to.
I’m a firm believer that how seriously you take yourself translates to how seriously others take you. And I wanted my blog to be taken seriously, so I started with myself and my language. And the more serious language I used, the more ingrained it became in my mind.
I am an entrepreneur.
I am a nurse.
I am a college student.
I am a mom.
I am ____________________. Who are you?
Carve out intentional time to pursue it.
This will look different for everybody, but when I started my blog, I worked on it whenever I had time, and I quickly figured out, this wasn’t going to work long term if I was serious about this thing.
When it’s looked at as a “hobby” instead of as a business, or instead of a lifestyle, it will feel less important than other things, and it will always get pushed back. The same applies to working out, studying, working your business or anything in between. Thinking of your dreams and goals as hobbies or back burner things will not serve you if you’re serious about it.
Joey and I looked at our schedules and decided what days and times would work for me to leave to work; because everybody with a location-based job has a schedule that everybody respects. For the most part, we respect it; but it’s nice to have flexibility if a doctor’s appointment or something else comes up. When that happens, I still go another night instead.
I needed a schedule we honored where even if I don’t work any other time all week, I would have those hours. As soon as I made intentional time for my blog, I saw a big difference in what I was able to get done.
Get out of the house to work towards it as much as you can.
Have you ever tried to focus with 3 kids under 5? If you haven’t, your concentration gets broken approximately every 23 seconds. On a good day.
I learned that I couldn’t work at home. Even when Joey was there, they still would be talking to me at the table or pounding on the bedroom door. And if I waited until they went to bed, I’m normally so fried that I was never doing my best work.
Know yourself and choose a place and a time that works best for you to pursue your goal. Of course, this doesn’t work every day, but as much as it’s a choice, I take it.
Giving yourself a trigger that it’s go time is crucial. I work best alone, at a coffee shop, with iced coffee; and that triggers my brain to put its dancing shoes on.
Ask for and accept help.
Rachel Hollis reminded us that you CAN do everything! Just not all at once, and not all by yourself. If you don’t accept help with the kids, or help with the house, or help from others who have been there before you, you will burn yourself out. Plain and simple.
Acknowledge that you can’t do everything by yourself – and that is OKAY.
I don’t know why I have had a hard time accepting help, and I know a lot of other moms who feel the same way. SO MANY.
Here’s the thing, sister. There is nobody who has successfully created a business without help (I’m sticking with my blogging example here).
There is no mom who has put herself through school without accepting child care. There is no mom who has the time to run marathons without accepting help while she’s training. Not accepting help is not doing anybody any favors. Not accepting help doesn’t make you super mom (super tired, maybe). Not accepting help will make everything you’re striving towards exponentially harder – and it doesn’t have to be that way.
It will serve you to get comfortable asking for help, accepting said help, and delegating tasks, no matter how small. I don’t care if it’s having your kids help you put laundry away or asking your husband to put the dishes away while you’re gone. Even small help adds up!
Asking for and accepting help is a game-changer. It will make your life so much easier!
Start small and build on it.
Maybe I’m a “go big or go home” kind of person, but sometimes this translates into jumping in the deep end and drowning. Going into nursing school with 18 credit hours the first term is a good example. I started fast and furious, rarely asked for help, “powered through”, burned out, and, you guessed it… Wasn’t successful. Imagine that.
Biting off more than you can chew will set you up for failure. Starting small and building on it will set you up for success.
Change what you allow your mind to focus on.
From myself to others.
From fear to potential.
From wondering if I’m smart enough to seeing that I’m teachable.
From fear of the unknown to excitement of what could come of new opportunities.
From thinking it will take too long to see that the time will pass anyway.
From being afraid of what people will think to thinking of the tribe that I wanted to reach, who I get, and who gets me. They are who I am here for.
From not taking myself seriously to changing my language so that I did.
“I am a blogger.” “I am an entrepreneur.” “I’m working.” “I’m getting there.”
From, “What if I fail again?” to, “I’m doing this thing.”
Instead of the fear and the what ifs, I started seeing unlimited potential, and that fired me up instead of intimidated me until I backed down.
Tap into some motivation – then be persistent when it fades.
Looking at others’ success is motivational and inspiring to me, because if they can do it, why can’t I? I like to read other bloggers’ income reports for this reason.
Read motivational books, listen to a good podcast, and look at the success of others that have gone before you, because there is no reason you can’t do the exact same thing.
Here’s the problem with motivation: it’s fickle. It changes like the wind and can be changed by any number of internal or external factors. So when motivation is in short supply, that’s where your persistence comes in. Whether you want to. Whether your not you feel like it today. No matter how you feel today, your goals have no changed. In a year, you’ll wish you’d stuck with it – so stick the heck with it, whether you’re feeling it today or not.
Envision yourself going where God has equipped you.
I truly believe God made me an encourager. A lot of people close to me have told me that for a long time. So I started thinking if I can encourage people close to me, why couldn’t I encourage and help people I don’t even know? Why can’t I take it bigger?
Writing, too, has always been something that came easy to me; which obviously is an integral part of blogging. He gave me these strengths, so what am I doing with them?
What strengths do you have that would serve your passion well? What about you suits your thing?
Do you have a heart to help others? Do you have business knowledge? Are you quick on your feet?
Are you encouraging? Good with kids? Diplomatic? A people person?
Be honest with yourself as you envision yourself in this new role.
Start seeing yourself as a snowflake.
I can remember thinking, “There are thousands of mom blogs on the internet. What makes me any different? What makes me qualified to talk about marriage or life or being a mom? Why will anyone care what I have to say? What makes me special?”
Well, what makes me special is the fact that I’m me. I’m unique, and while, yes, there are thousands of mom blogs (probably millions, who knows), there is no one else in the world who would do it like I would.
No one would write the same.
No site would look the same.
No one would offer what I would.
No one’s contribution to this industry would be quite like mine because bloggers are like snowflakes; they’re all unique.
You, my friend, are a snowflake.
And no one else’s contribution to ANY dream, or industry, or company, or family, or anything in between will be quite like yours.
Look past how hard it is today.
Blogging was the only doable avenue I could see that lead to the lifestyle Joey and I have always dreamed of for our family, and every mom knows, when you have kids, it’s not all about you anymore.
How hard it is today or tomorrow matters a lot less when I think about what kind of life I want to have in 10 years. If I don’t work at it now, I’m going to be sacrificing something I’m dreaming of because it’s hard now. If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want will be the sacrifice.
Everybody thinks of the end of the year as the time to “start fresh”, but honestly, every day is a day to day fresh.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What what are you waiting for?