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Create Habits that Work For You

habits routines Nov 03, 2021

No time to read? Listen instead on The Extraordinary Life Podcast!

Over the past few months, I’ve been sharing a lot about the power that routine and habits have in creating your extraordinary life. And while I share a lot of my personal habits, it’s important that you choose habits that work for you. That’s why I interviewed my friend and successful entrepreneur, Kai Deering on my latest podcast. Keep reading below for how she’s created habits to fit her individual lifestyle and goals, or listen to the full interview on The Extraordinary Life podcast

Meet Kai

I’ve got to know Kai really well over the past year and a half in a networking group and an eight month program we were both in. (So don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t form impactful relationships online, because we sure have!) She walked away from a career that didn’t light her up, and now she’s been with Legal Shield for over twenty years. As she says, “When you love what you do and you do what you love, it doesn't really feel like work.” 

Kai is successful, inspiring, and happy to work from home helping others through her job. Of course, like all successful people, she’s worked hard to get where she is now; she’s done a lot of personal development, including embracing the power of habits and routine. Here are the nuggets of wisdom Kai shared about her journey during our interview.  

A Taboo Morning Routine

If you’ve read anything about successful morning routines, you’ve probably heard that you should get up early, and don’t look at your phone first thing. Kai does both.

KAI: I am not a morning person; I think the perfect time to get up is 9am. When my husband and I got together over twenty years ago, he was an engineer that went to work late, came home late, and stayed up late as a musician. I needed to adjust my schedule to conform to that, or we’d just be like ships passing in the night. Luckily, my career can conform to that. 

And what about the phone? 

KAI: So often that people say, “don't do your phone,” but I totally do. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up! I get up late and have team members on the east coast, so I scroll through real quick to make sure there’s nothing really pressing in there that needs to get done. It makes me feel better to have a few quick wins first thing before my feet hit the ground. 

Morning Intentions

After talking with Kai, I thought about how we have similar morning habits, they just happen in a different order. My morning gratitude, dreams, and day planning is an important part of starting my day with intention, and Kai does this as well. It just happens to be after she does some work and reads in bed. 

KAI: After I’ve cleaned out my phone and know I have nothing pressing to do, I start my day by reading ten pages of a good book. Then I’m ready to grab a cup of coffee and get outside if it’s warm enough. This is when I practice my gratitude. 

Every day I write down ten things I’m grateful for. I love this habit, and I picked it up from a great book one of my colleagues wrote called 30 Ways in 30 Days to a Better Life, that’s all about simple, daily disciplines. After I am in a place of gratitude, I feel like I’m in a place where I can ask the universe for what I want. I then write down my goals for my life, such as health and abundance; they’re almost like quasi-affirmations! 

From there, I feel I can take on the day. So finally, I’ll write down the four or five things that I absolutely have to do that day to make it successful. I can even cross things off right away sometimes, because I knocked them out first thing.  

A Different Evening Routine

I’ve been working on my own evening routine lately, because how you end your day is so important. It sets you up for a good night's sleep, and even affects how the next day starts off. Kai has some great perspective on this that we can all take something from. 

KAI: I’ve been taught that how you start and end your day matters. So if you’re starting your day reading depressing news and end your day the same way, what are you putting into your subconscious? What you end your day with is super important. 

For example, last night I went for a walk at like 8pm and listened to a personal development podcast at the same time. It makes me feel better to get moving outside no matter what. Then before bed, I read a few more pages of a good book, and then I’m set. I feel like I can work on some positive things while I sleep. 

To be honest, I don’t sleep well. My husband says I have two speeds: on or asleep, and he’s right. So when I can’t sleep at night because my brain just keeps going, I recount what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful that we own our home. I’m grateful that we have abundance. I’m grateful for our health. And after just a handful of gratitude, I’m asleep. What a great way to fall asleep: with gratitude. And I wake up on fire! 

If you want to improve how you start and finish the day, grab my free guide to creating better morning and evening routines

Just Start Shuffling

There is a really powerful story that Kai shared with me, that illustrates perfectly how starting small and adding tiny habits can add up to big changes. One day, she decided she would walk every day, no matter what. 

KAI: Going back to the holidays of 2019, my body was in rough shape. I’ve had a lot of chronic knee issues, and around then I’d had my knee drained twice and had an allergic reaction to a cortisone shot. My knee was huge. Then right before the pandemic, I was going to physiotherapy for my arms as well. I had a frozen shoulder, and couldn’t lift either of my arms over my head. My husband literally had to help me put on my bra. 

So one day, I said screw it. I have to do something. And I just started shuffling. I went outside at night because I was in pretty rough shape with only one limb working, and I started shuffling around the neighborhood. After about four or five months, I had only missed my goal of 10,000 daily steps a handful of times, and had worked up to running for a few minutes at a time. And then I started to go to the gym. Eventually, I’d lost twenty pounds (during the pandemic!). 

The only thing that I’d changed was walking, but it was enough to give me a slight edge. Sure, it was embarrassing at first schlepping around the neighborhood in the dark, but I did it. And that’s what made the difference. It’s what has made all the difference in my business, too. I was willing to fail forward. I was willing to be bad before I was good. But I wasn’t going to quit.

Create a New Reality

I asked Kai to share another story with us, because it really resonates with me and what I do in my coaching. It’s about becoming aware of what your habits and thought patterns are now, you can break some of those habits to create the you that you want to be. 

KAI: I was working with a coach, and he had me read the book “The Power Map”. Along with the book, he had me set ten random alarms each day. When the alarm went off, I had to journal about what I was thinking at the time. 

I went along with the exercise, and thought it was stupid. Every time the alarm went off, I’d write down what I was thinking, and it would be things like “I’m thirsty”, or “I need to go to the bathroom”. It was just stupid, primal needs, and I told him that, but I still went along with it. Another week goes by, and I ask my coach what the point of this is, because it’s just dumb. All I’m thinking is “boy, it’s nice outside today”. 

He says, “Keep going; those thoughts are just your subconscious trying to keep you from what you are really thinking. It’s trying to protect you.” I tell him it’s still the dumbest thing ever, but I keep reading the book and doing the stupid exercise.  

Wouldn’t you know, but eventually, I broke through that primal stuff. The little facade of who I thought I was started to fade. I was really just reacting to my environment, but that wasn’t who I really was. When I started to journal on what I was feeling at those random moments, I realized that it was a low-grade pissed off feeling. 

It was bizarre, because I think I’m the most positive person I know. But I remember thinking my text message didn't work, but my feeling was that I hate that, because I don’t have someone to fix my stuff. Then I was driving when my alarm went off, and my feeling was I think that car is stupid for speeding. I don’t know how else to say it, but literally everything I was feeling was just a low level of pissed off. 

It really helped me break down the BS that was really under there in my life. I needed to break the habit of “being myself”. You can do it with meditation, affirmations, or positive daily routines. And it really helped me to do that. 

Kai’s story reminds me of how I strengthened my relationship with my husband. I’d been acting passive aggressively toward him for a long time, but that wasn’t the relationship I wanted. I had to see what was really happening, and then start living in a way that aligned with what I wanted. 

Your Habits are Your Habits

Kai had a lot more to share in our interview, but the biggest takeaway for me was how she’s created an extraordinary life for herself by creating habits and routines that support what she wants. In the podcast, she talks about how a 1% edge is often enough - and if that means walking in the dark for thirty minutes every day, or scrolling through her emails as soon as she opens her eyes, so be it. She is proof that when you put in the work, even in small increments, you can achieve amazing things.

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