I’m a big believer that we should not sacrifice our personal life or time freedom to grow a business. I love systems and procedures that are lean and help create an ecosystem where success becomes inevitable. However; these systems can only thrive when they are built on a foundation of healthy habits. If you don't have healthy habits, you run the risk of burnout.
In Episode 28 of The Lean Out Your Business podcast, I walk you through an exercise that all guests of the Lean Out Level Up Retreat go through, an exercise that helps you recognize which daily habits you have that are helping you, and which daily habits you have that are hurting you.
Most importantly we dive into what a habit trigger is. If a habit is a behavior/pattern that you do frequently, almost completely involuntarily, then a habit trigger is that habit that if you do it (or don’t do it) it impacts all of your other habits, which then affect your productivity, motivation, ability to focus, and so much more.
Some examples of trigger habits that have surfaced in our retreats are exercise, meditation, getting a good night's sleep. I once thought my trigger habit was a solid night’s sleep but as I dug deeper and really thought about what set me up for success, I realized that wasn’t actually it at all.
Listen in to today’s episode to find out the trigger habit, that once recognized, changed my productivity and set me up for new levels of success.
In today's episode, you'll learn:
- How to make success inevitable in your business
- What a trigger habit is and how it's the key to your success
- What my trigger habit is
- How to start your day off for success
Welcome to the Lean Out Your Business Podcast, a show dedicated to helping entrepreneurs accelerate business growth and simplify success. I'm your host, Crista Grasso, and I've been working with businesses for more than two decades to help them lean out and optimize what's working, while eliminating anything that's not adding value. So if you are ready to get more time back in your day, more profit in your business, and to do business differently, growing and scaling on your terms. Let's dive into today's episode.
Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. Today we're going to be diving in and talking about habits as a way to really set yourself up for success and really making those big bold business moves and achieving the goals that you have in your business.
I am a really big believer in sustainable success. I know you've all heard me talk about this before, but I don't think that we want to grow and scale our business at the expense of our personal life or our time freedom, or those other things that are important to us outside of our business. So often that ends up being the way that people approach growing and scaling their business, I want to change that. I very much want to see people really looking at and building that sustainable success where not only do they have longevity with the success of their business, but they're thinking of themselves and their personal health and their personal well-being, so that they have a complete ecosystem for success around them. And a lot of what I teach with the lean strategic planning in the systems, and so much of the strategies and tactics that I share with all of you really do help you build that sustainable success. But the reality is, if you don't have the right habits in place, and if you're not making self-care and self-development in those things that really fuel you as an individual in place, you're not ultimately going to be setting yourself up for sustainable success. And you run a risk of burnout, which we do not want.
So today, I wanted to dive in and talk a little bit about habits and how you can leverage habits to set yourself up for success and really create that ecosystem where success almost becomes inevitable. A habit is simply a behavior pattern that you do frequently and has become nearly or almost completely involuntary. A lot of times there's things that you do that are serving you and really helping your success, those are your positive habits. But there's also a lot of things that you're doing that are probably getting in the way of your success and those are negative habits. And so you want to be recognizing what those things are. And you can certainly put a lot of intentionality around developing new habits, or transforming some of your existing habits that maybe aren't serving you in the way that you would like. So there's two questions that I have for you to think about and reflect on.
The first question is, which of your habits do you have today that support your success and which negatively impact your success? The second question to ask is, what habits can you put in place or change that will make success feel inevitable?
It can be really helpful to reflect on those questions. Because the reality is that how you start and end your day has a really big influence on not only your success in business, but just your overall happiness and wellness in life. And so you want to have that good baseline as to where you're starting from. And also start thinking about the changes and the things that you can make to further improve and get those results that you're really looking for.
Now, there's a concept that I want to share with you and I dive into this in my retreats that I do. I’ll actually walk you through an activity that I do with attendees of the retreat. So for those of you who come and join me in the upcoming Lean Out, Level Up Retreat, we'll do this together, and we go a little bit deeper into it. But in today's episode, I do want you to start thinking about this. And this is what I call a habit trigger. And so when you can recognize what your core habit trigger is, it will have a really big impact on your success in on your habits. And what a habit trigger is, is it's something that if you do it, or if you don't do it, it impacts all of your other habits, which ultimately impacts your productivity, your motivation and your ability to focus.
When we talked about and analyzed what habit triggers were for the attendees of my retreat last year, some of the things that people shared were exercising, meditating, getting a good night's sleep. So these are things that if people do them, they end up triggering other positive habits. For me, this took a little bit of time for me to really recognize what my core habit trigger was, I used to think that it was quality sleep, it was making sure that I got a really good night's sleep. And then I got a lot of really deep sleep so that I woke up feeling rested. And well, that is really important. And that is certainly a really important habit for my overall success and productivity and focus, what I realized is my actual habit trigger is hydration, because lack of hydration, is what actually impacts the quality of my sleep. So I have a lot of different habits that I follow throughout the day. And I'll walk you through what some of my routines are. And some of those habits are that served me pretty well. But what I found is by really putting my focus on just one thing, and that one thing for me, is staying hydrated, I drink about 100 ounces or more of water a day, as long as I put my focus there, my other habits just tend to happen, I am naturally motivated to do them. If I'm under-hydrated, the opposite happens, not only do I not always follow through with my other positive habits, but a lot of times I will then introduce negative habits.
So when I'm under hydrated for me, some of the triggers of those bad habits is I tend to eat more, which makes sense, if you're not drinking enough, then you tend to be more hungry more often. But in addition to eating more, I also make more unhealthy food choices, I end up drinking more caffeine, which that has an impact on my sleep as well as eating too much does, I end up not sleeping as well when I'm under-hydrated. And it gives me what I call cloudy brain, right? It does have you ever found where just when you're not fully hydrated, or you haven't had a good night's sleep, and all of a sudden, you just kind of can't really stay focused, you're not super productive, you're not super motivated, you've really got to push yourself to do things. And it takes you a lot longer to do things that normally you would just kind of wake up and work through really quickly and really efficiently and actually look forward to doing. So for me, it's really water, that is my core habit trigger, which is followed by a close second is sleep. Since water impacts both my quantity and quality of sleep. For me the core habit trigger is water.
So here's something else that's interesting to consider when you think about a habit trigger is I usually am a very productive person. I am very focused, I keep things really lean, I don't get overworked and overwhelmed, often. I have moments where that happens. But as a general rule of thumb, I'm not. So when I have periods where I find myself getting kind of irritable, I find myself pretty consistently feeling overwhelmed, or where I start to struggle with decision fatigue, I'm usually a really decisive person, if I'm starting to struggle with making decisions, when all of these different things that are very out of character for me start to happen, I immediately recognize I'm dehydrated. And it sounds really silly to say that because you're thinking, overwork overwhelmed decision fatigue, right, that sounds like you need to change your schedule, you need to, you know, really look at what you're doing. And in a lot of cases, that's true for a lot of my clients, but I actually have a lot of great practices in place. And for me, when I experienced those things, it's the fact that I'm dehydrated, and I'm usually tired and so really think about that for yourself as well. Because sometimes I don't even realize that I'm under-hydrated until I start to experience some of these negative results or these negative habits. And I bet that you have the same.
One of the members of my retreat last year was sharing that for her, it's meditation, she needs those moments of meditation in deep breathing, so that she can really calm herself, clear her mind. And that's what lets her stay in a positive headspace. It's what lets her stay laser-focused on what's actually important. It's what helps her to stay motivated to sleep better. It's her trigger for all of her other positive habits. Others mentioned, as I said, exercising and a lot of people mentioned a good night's sleep. And so, I'm sure all of these things are important to you. But it's good to think about what is that core one, that if you focus your effort on that one, the other ones either become a lot easier to do or you don't even have to think about the other ones. You just automatically do them. So if you're hearing this and thinking this sounds kind of simple, this sounds like a really little thing. Trust me, this will have a really big impact on your productivity and just how you feel and when you feel good.
When you are taking care of yourself. It really has a big impact and not just how much you get done. But the fact that you will actually enjoy what you're doing instead of being irritated with what you're doing and being frustrated with what you're doing and leaving that feeling discouraged instead of leaving the day, feeling encouraged and excited and grateful. So what you want to do is, you want to identify what your core habit trigger is, then you want to look at what are those habits that are ultimately going to support your success.
And here are some questions that you can reflect on to really think about this. The first one is, how can you start your day to set yourself up for success? Then how can you end your day to set yourself up for success? What do you do to recharge on non-work days? And what is the one habit that most greatly influences all of the other habits or in other words, your habit trigger. So let me give you a couple examples of morning habits, things to do to start off your day for success. Maybe it's waking up early. Now, if you're not an early bird, maybe that one's not applicable to you. But for those of you who are at your best in the morning, I'm at my best in the morning, making sure that you get into bed early enough that you actually can wake up early, maybe it is meditating first thing in the morning or exercising first thing in the morning, or finalizing your plan for the day, so that you have that clarity and you know exactly what to focus on and what your priorities are for the day. Maybe it's kicking off the day with a really healthy breakfast, when you look at your pm habits or evening habits or things you do to end your day to set yourself up for success. Maybe it's writing down everything that you're grateful for, right, forget about all of the stressors that you had throughout the day, and take a few moments and really focus on gratitude, focus on what went really well during the day. Or even if you had one of those days where nothing felt like it went really well. What are you grateful for in life in general, so you're ending the day on a really positive note, updating your planner with your progress, whether you have a physical planner, like my lean out planner, or whether you do your planning, digitally updating whatever tool you use for planning so that you can see how much you've accomplished and you go into the next day with some clarity even before you do your planning that following morning, you can really look at what are your priorities for the next day.
And as I mentioned earlier, get into bed early. If you know that you're going to wake up early the next day, give yourself the space to go to bed early, maybe do a little reading or something, you'll make sure that you don't have screen time right up until bed so that you actually do get a good night's sleep. So I mentioned I'd share with you what some of my habits are. And this is a routine that I've put in place that just works incredibly well for me. And I'm going to start with the morning and then I'll share you know what I do to end the day to set myself up for success as well. But I tend to wake up pretty early in. So I have my little routine where I get up and the very first thing that I want to do in the morning is have a cup of coffee. However, since I know that hydration is critical for me, I will not allow myself to have a cup of coffee until I drink 16 ounces of water. So I drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning. And then I make myself my espresso which I absolutely love my caramel coffee or my vanilla coffee. It just puts me in my happy place. And so I sit with the puppies snuggled up with my coffee. And I do a little bit of reading first thing in the morning and I'm reading more for fun first thing in the morning. That's kind of my protected peaceful time, I do a little bit of deep breathing. And then when I'm done, I go and I do Pilates. I do my stretches. And I do my exercises. And then I go take a shower, make a great breakfast, and login and start working. And usually I'm working by eight o'clock sometimes even earlier. And I've gotten all of those things out of the way ahead of time that really just set me up for feeling great throughout the day and working at my absolute best. Now during the day, I do tend to take a break midday and that is where I'm a big reader. So I will read but I will then read for self-development. I usually am, at any point in time in the middle of two books, I will always have one book for enjoyment. And I'll have one book for self-development. And I'll take a little bit of break middle of the day. Right now the weather is gorgeous in Connecticut so I usually sit outside in the winter, I just sit out in my living room where it's nice and light and bright. And so I just go to a space that feels very relaxing. And I sit and read. Now at the end of the day, my evening habit, is I log off of the computer at least a few hours before I go to bed, I had to really learn to turn the screen off because I needed to give my brain that space to actually relax and unwind down at the end of the night. Usually, I'll just sit and read and then I get into bed early. And before I go to sleep, I do my journaling. And so I look at what I'm grateful for that day. I update my planner with everything that I accomplished. I get clear on my priorities for the next morning and I just go to bed feeling really good about the day that I just finished and am really clear about what I need to focus on for the following day. So there's certainly more things that I do but those are just a few things that really served me pretty well, I used to try to work out in the evenings, I found I wouldn't do it, I used to try to work out during the day but I found I wouldn't do it. So I've just learned to do it first thing in the morning, it's the habit when if I put it in place and do it in the morning, I will actually do it. If I don't do it in the morning, all day long, I will feel guilty about the fact that I haven't done it and keep saying we should really take a break and go workout, I should really go do Pilates, I should really hop on the treadmill, I should really go for a walk. And it just plays in my mind and it distracts me and I end up not doing it. And then I feel guilty that I didn't do it. So instead, I start my day with that, and again, set myself up for success so that by the time I start working, I can be laser-focused, the hamster wheel is not going in my brain, right? I'm just focused on the things that I need to be focused on in. So your takeaways for today are, really think about what are those habits that you have? Which are the ones that are serving you? Which are the ones that are not serving you? How can you do more of the things that are going to really create that ecosystem where success feels like it's inevitable? And where can you make changes to some of the habits that maybe are not serving you really well then get really clear on your habit trigger? What is that one habit that if you do it, or if you don't do it, it's going to impact all of your other habits, and ultimately, your productivity, your motivation, and your ability to focus? Then put your effort and your focus on that one core habit trigger and see how simple it is to actually put these habits in place. And really, truly set yourself up for success.
Hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, I'd love if you would take a moment and please leave a review. And as always, I will see you again next week.
Thank you for joining me for another episode of the Lean Out Your Business podcast. I hope you got a lot of value and actionable insights from today's show. And we'd love if you take a moment to leave us a review. If you have any questions on today's episode or on how to lean out your business. Join us over in our private Facebook community where every week we do live training and Q&A. I'd love to have you be part of the conversation. And before you go, be sure to subscribe to the show. So you're the first to know when we release a new episode. We'll see you next week.
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by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.