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The One Little Tweak To My Routine That Changed Everything

Like the majority of people that have joined the  Free 5 Day Website Challenge, I work on building my business on my lunch hour, after work, and late into the night and all weekend long. I hear that described as “hustle” by many entrepreneurs, but I just don't think of that word when I think of myself. Maybe it's because I'm such a slow runner…

Then there's “bootstrapping” which to me is just learning and doing and not outsourcing when you don't absolutely need to.

That's definitely me – I'd rather pay to learn something than pay to get something because once I learn it I don't have to pay for it if I don't want to.

But in addition to hustling and bootstrapping WP*BFF, I'm still trying to lose the 30 extra pounds I've been carrying with me for as long as I can remember by getting workouts in, eating better and not drinking so much.

It seems like I can only do two of those things at a time, but not all three…

I'm starting to realize that the path that I took, the one that's sold to us as the path to happiness, is a myth. Going to college, getting a job, making money for someone else and having finite earning potential – all of that's great if what you are doing excites you.

But what if it doesn't? And why does someone else get to make the rules for me? And even though I live within my means, why do I have to settle for a fixed amount of annual income (that I allocate on a spreadsheet broken down by month to make sure we have enough)?

It clearly doesn't make me happy. I don't sleep well. I eat and drink to soothe my emotions, and then I put pressure on myself to exercise and eat better to fix the problem of eating and drinking. A diet and workout program is treating the symptom of the problem, not the problem itself…

And sometimes I feel guilty for feeling this way. I don't have a bad life. I have a loving husband, amazing friends and a somewhat normal family. But I'm spending more than a third of my day, a third of my life, doing something that does not fuel my soul one bit. It's exhausting. Refuel by eating and drinking, right?

I have this vision for my life where I choose what I can wear every day. I choose where I go. I have a large window of time to exercise and prepare healthy meals, and I can run errands in the middle of the day. I can be there for my family.

And I'm helping people accomplish something that's difficult for them but easy for me and paying it forward. That recharges me and energizes me. I can feel it just in the 2 short months since I launched WP*BFF.

But how do I get there? Where will I find the time without quitting my day job?

I should have more time. I don't have kids, so there's a big chunk of time I should have free compared to many of my friends and family members. So where does it all go?

A few weeks ago I decided to pay attention to it and write it down.

1) Sleeping. I've been telling myself I'm not a morning person for years. I never would set an alarm. I'd go to bed at 10PM and wake up at 7:30AM or when I heard the garage door open when my husband left for work.

2) Getting prettified. Once I finally woke up, I'd groggily drag myself to the shower. Then I'd make breakfast, eat while I watch embarrassing reality TV that I've hoarded on my TiVo, put my makeup on and dry my hair, get dressed, run up and down the stairs 20 times forgetting stuff… and at some point leave for work all dressed up to sit in my office and see no one all day.

3) Commuting. I live 8 miles from my office, but it somehow takes me 30 minutes in rush-hour traffic.

4) Working my day job. 8 hours after I arrive, I can leave.

5) Commuting. Another 30 minutes to drive 8 miles home.

6) Working out. Hahaha! I always plan to, anyway…. But then I get home, and I don't have the mental energy to make myself do it. The three times a week I do it, I feel awesome and I'm proud of myself, and I want more of it.

7) Making dinner. I cook at home about 4 nights a week… which means 3 nights we are

7.5) Going out. My husband and I go out a couple times a week and eat healthy and have zero beer (LOL).

8) Watching TV shows I'm not embarrassed to tell people about. While I'm on my laptop working on WP*BFF the whole time, sometime piping in to ask “What just happened?”

I used to think it was my day job getting in the way of being able to dedicate more time to WP*BFF. But looking at that schedule on paper, I saw a TON of time that I was totally wasting.

I don't need to work 15 hours on the weekend. I don't need to stay up til 1AM, exhausted, late to work, and burning through vacation time to get WP*BFF where I want it to be.

I created a situation where I NEVER had down-time and it made me feel like I couldn't offer BFFs one-on-one coaching because when would I ever fit that in?

One of my fave podcasters Chalene Johnson told me (on a podcast, but I feel like she's talking just to me) that I need to get up early and work out first thing because it gives you energy and makes you more productive. That seems daunting, so I told Chalene (in my head) that I would commit to getting up early one day, and we'll see about the workout.

So two Sundays ago, I set an alarm on my phone for 5:30AM. I woke up, showered, got ready without the Real Housewives fighting in the background and was at work before I would normally be waking up. And guess what? I feel just as groggy waking up at 5:30 as I do at 7:30, so what's the difference? No traffic on the way to work or home either.

Then I worked out and had dinner ready before my husband even got home from work. He was shocked (and I told him not to get used to it LOL). Then I still had 4 hours to work on WP*BFF. FOUR WHOLE UNINTERRUPTED HOURS that I extracted from my formerly “busy” day. Wow. And I can do that 3 nights a week and a few hours on the weekend.

So it's been 2 weeks, and I'm totally used to 5:30AM now. I haven't worked out in the morning yet (don't tell Chalene). Afternoons still work better for me.

But I'm experimenting with tiny tweaks to my routine… Brushing my teeth first instead of last, getting dressed before makeup. I know this may sound silly, but I feel like I've gotten so set in my ways that I failed to see that it could be done differently.

Maybe these small tweaks will open up my mind a little more, allow me to make room for new, better habits even though it's hard for me to remember everything because it's no longer a mindless routine. But as a professional dieter I know how much it does not work for me to make a bunch of huge changes all at once.

So I'm tackling my life the same way I'm tackling WP*BFF – with small, consistent action taken every day. I'm seeing slow but steady progress with WP*BFF – I'm happy with 2 subscribers a day, so why can't I be happy with losing 2 ounces a day? This whole experience is giving me a lot of perspective, and I'm really grateful for that.

I did forget mascara today though… I'm pretty sure no one noticed.