The literally life-changing effects of better boundaries (and how to make them work)
The literally life-changing effects of better boundaries (and how to make them work)
A few weeks back, I traveled to the Being Boss retreat in New Orleans. I LOVE this retreat for a few reasons…
It’s right around the time that it starts to get cold up here in the Rocky Mountains, so the heat, humidity, and SOUL of New Orleans is a welcome departure from the dry, crisp air that’s rolling into Colorado.
It gives me a chance to connect with some amazing women who “get it” and are all-too-familiar with the joys and challenges of running their own businesses.
It’s a departure from my usual day-to-day in the best way. I let go of my usual structure and routine, and take a more “go with the flow” approach.
This particular trip, I was working on launching a podcast around the same time. So before the day’s festivities began, I threw my hair up in a messy bun, hugged my laptop, grabbed a cup of coffee, and sat down to do some work on the patio. (Rough life, I know.)
I was greeted by a friend of mine one table over. Much unlike myself, her hair was perfectly curled, makeup perfectly done, and you could tell she was checking things off her list like a boss.
I joked that I was convinced she was actually a Disney princess—waking up bright-eyed, simply giving her hair a fluff, while a team of birds and mice scurried around to dress and beautify her very being a la Cinderella style.
Now, maybe you’re more of a “throw your hair in a messy bun and hunt for coffee” kinda gal (like myself) or perhaps “makeup and hair before all else” is your mantra, but knowing how you function best is key to setting yourself up for success each day.
Because establishing a morning routine can leave you FEELING like that beautiful, balanced woman who hits more of those high-achieving goals in life and business. And it all starts with creating the right boundaries.
So this week, I’m sharing why boundaries are actually a GOOD thing and how to create the right boundaries in your morning routine that leave you feeling amazing so you can thrive in life and business, and ya know...basically be a Disney princess.
Create a routine that works for you.
Before we even get into creating boundaries within a morning routine, I think it’s important to first talk about creating a morning routine that’s right for you. Too many entrepreneurs are familiar with the literally life-changing benefits of a daily practice, but have had difficulty sticking to a morning routine in the long-term.
So what’s happening there? What is the mindset block that keeps you from sticking with a practice that can create incredible results in both life and business?
Well, I think too often you’re following an approach that’s meant for someone else. You’ve heard from a friend or online guru that in order to have a great morning routine, you need to wake up at 5am, practice yoga, meditate, journal, visualize...the list goes on. While all of those things can have amazing results, it can also feel overwhelming, especially if you try to implement those all at the same time. It’s easy to think a morning routine just “isn’t for you.”
That’s why I like to take a different approach. Because not everyone is meant to wake up at 5 am. Others have family responsibilities they need to structure their day around. And we all have different goals and tasks to accomplish.
That’s why I think the foundation of any great morning routine is focusing on how you want to FEEL at the start of each day. When I started creating my own morning routine, I knew that I liked feeling accomplished and productive in the morning, so I start each day with my workout. Some days that’s a morning run with my puppy and other days it’s ten minutes of pilates in my living room, but I know that by getting that workout in, I’m setting myself up for success the remainder of the day.
If you’re sick of the one-size-fits all approach to a daily practice and you’re looking to create a morning routine that you can actually stick to because it works for YOU and your business download my free morning routine guide here.
Define your boundaries around your routine.
It may sound obvious, but creating a morning routine requires you to set boundaries around that practice. The same way some people don’t want to talk to anyone before they’ve had their morning cup of coffee, you get to decide what your boundaries are around your daily practice. Or another way of thinking of it is that you get to decide the SPACE you need around that practice.
Maybe that means 30-minutes of “quiet time” so you can tackle your inbox before getting the kids ready in the morning. Or maybe it’s ten minutes of yoga each day before you touch anything work-related. Only you know what is most important to you each day, but it’s key that you establish boundaries around that so you can create a practice you can honor day after day.
Perhaps you even know what it is that you’d like to make a priority as part of your morning routine, but you’re having trouble sticking to it. Chances are there’s a bit of a mindset block between you and your end goal. For example, when I started working pilates into my daily practice, I had the hardest time sticking with it initially. I noticed that I was really consistent with my morning runs because I was able to physically remove myself from the space so my mind wasn’t distracted by anything else (you know, the dishes in the sink, the dog needing something, the boyfriend with a question, etc.). But that became harder when I wasn’t physically leaving the house. That’s where boundaries became so important because it was up to me to decide that if I really wanted to make pilates a daily practice I was going to have to put those things on hold.
Creating boundaries in this way is super important because it trains your brain to respect boundaries in other areas of your life and business as well. It’s this very same mindset shift that keeps you from answering emails after work hours, checking your phone when you’re spending time with friends or family, or working weekends if that’s a boundary of yours. By creating a boundary in one area it will have benefits in others as well.
Cultivate the mindset you need to honor your own boundaries.
I hear from so many creatives and entrepreneurs that they need more accountability to move their life and business forward and see the kind of results they want. That goes for anything from growing a newsletter list to losing weight.
But the truth is, true accountability comes from within.
I know, I know. It’s one of those messy truths none of us like to hear. Because in actuality, no one wants someone nagging at them, asking them if they accomplished that one task day-after-day that would move their business forward. I truly believe that big results come from establishing the right mindset so that YOU can hold yourself accountable to tackle those small, consistent efforts in your day-to-day that are going to create the kind of results you’re looking for.
This has shown up for me in how I train for marathons, putting time on my calendar each day to make it a priority and get those training runs in. There isn’t anyone asking me if I’ve gone for my run yet, the same way no one will care if I don’t. But I KNOW that the only way I’ll be able to handle those 26.2 miles is through the small, consistent efforts in training.
That’s why honoring your own boundaries within a morning routine is so important. Because if you can’t hold yourself accountable to a 15-minute practice at the beginning of each day, for which YOU get to decide the parameters, how on earth are you going to hold yourself accountable to taking the actions necessary to create that big launch or hit those big numbers in your business or vice versa?
Honoring your own boundaries trains your brain. It establishes the mindset you need to take the actions necessary to see the kind of results you’re craving.
Know that boundaries help you show up as your best self.
I spoke at a retreat a few weeks ago about creating a morning routine that sets your day up for success. So many women came up to me to tell me that they thought my talk was so helpful and inspiring because it reminded them that they’d fallen off the bandwagon, but that they noticed a HUGE difference when they did, in fact, practice a morning routine.
One of the most amazing parts about honoring your morning routine and the boundaries you create around that practice is that it helps you to show up as your best self each day. This is because in most cases, YOU are the business, so by taking care of yourself and putting yourself first each and every day, you’re able to do your best work. And your best work leads to the kind of BIG results you want in both life and business.
I notice the difference when I DON’T get even my ten minutes of pilates in. It shows up in everything from how how much patience I have for that person driving wayyy under the speed limit to how many tasks I can cross off my to-do list that day, and even how well I sleep that night. Because this practice, however small, has a HUGE effect on my overall well-being and achievement, and your morning routine likely will too.
Establish boundaries with others, too.
If all this talk of “boundaries” leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth than we absolutely need to shift your mindset right this instant. Because boundaries help EVERYONE to thrive—not just you.
I like to think of establishing boundaries as another way of saying “establishing expectations.” Because we ALL function better in both life and business when we know what to expect rather than being taken by surprise.
Communicating the boundaries you have around your morning routine to your partner or family gives them an idea of what to expect. It lets them know that you won’t be available for questions or conversation during a certain time, but when you’ll be open to that instead. And that same mindset shift is valuable in business to.
For example, clients don’t know how to respect your boundaries if they don’t know what they are. That’s why it’s so important to communicate your boundaries around office hours, response times, and delivery dates so you can have the kind of working relationship that allows you to do your best work, bring in more referrals, and experience more growth.
For me, I do my best writing in the morning so I create quiet time each day to sip my coffee and do any writing I want to do that day. This happens before I touch my inbox, before the puppy needs to go for a walk, before I need to take the trash to the curb, etc. Brian knows that if I’m typing away at my computer or scribbling away in my journal, that it isn’t the time for conversation or questions and because I've been clear with him and set that boundary, he respects it. It’s a boundary that helps me to do my best work and make use of my favorite time of day, which changes the trajectory and results that show up the REST of my day (and let's be serious... life).
The bottom line:
Establishing boundaries can help you to show up as your best self each day and do your best work. Establishing a morning routine can help you to shift your mindset around boundaries so that they have a positive connotation in your life and business. By creating boundaries as part of your morning routine, you’re training your brain to become familiar with setting boundaries so you can see those same benefits in your business as well, helping you to experience more growth and more of the results you want in BOTH life and business.
Tell me in the comments below:
What’s one boundary you’ve created in work or life that helps you to do your best work?
Photography by Jennifer Morgan Photography