Mindset

Building Healthy Habits That Facilitate Consistency with Sarah Von Bargen

If consistency is the goal, building habits is how you accomplish it. Sarah Von Bargen uses habits to make sure they're sticking to that purpose. Habits have been a critical component in her own business success and in the success of her students, too.

Susan Boles
June 15, 2021
38
 MIN
Podcast
"Why Sarah works on stacking healthy habits and how these create consistency for her business to operate in maintenance mode."

Consistency is the underlying premise behind maintenance mode, behind working the system, behind the mantra of "don't break it". It's the opposite of shiny object syndrome.

When you're consistent with your offers and your messaging, people know who you are, what you stand for, and what you sell.

When you're consistent in your operations, your team and your clients know exactly what to do next.

When you're consistent, you're efficient and you don't waste time, effort, or money.

Consistency means that you don't get exhausted by decision fatigue - because a lot of your daily decisions have already been made and you're just following the process you decided on a while ago.

Consistency builds resilience. Even when you're operating at 10%, having built habits and processes means that you can keep the ball rolling.

In order to become more consistent in your business, there are two things you have to figure out.

First, you have to get your mindset wrapped around being consistent and prioritizing it. That sounds simple, but in my experience, it's just not. It's so easy to self-sabotage by getting distracted or bored or prioritizing other things.

Second, once you know that consistency is an important value to you, you have to build habits and design your environment so that being consistent is actually the easiest path for you to take.

If consistency is the goal, building habits is how you accomplish it.

Meet Sarah. Sarah Von Bargen is a writer, coach, and educator who helps people spend their time, money, and energy on purpose. And she uses habits to make sure they're sticking to that purpose. Habits have been a critical component in her own business success and in the success of her students, too.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How the stress of flying by the seat of her pants turned Sarah into a data-driven planner
  • How changing your exterior circumstances–like charging your phone in another room–supports the interior work that builds lasting habits
  • How Sarah uses a “think about it later” list to help keep herself from productive procrastination and shiny object syndrome
  • Why you should test shiny new ideas on social media or your blog to gauge interest before you spend time or money developing them


Learn more about Sarah Von Bargen:


Learn more about Susan:

Episode Transcript

Sarah Von Bargen (00:00):

If you're not getting eight hours of sleep, if you have a really, really tough caffeine addiction, if you have a really, really serious phone addiction, it's going to be hard to get your body and brain to a place where they can even concentrate on making these decisions and figuring out how to put your business on maintenance mode.

Susan Boles (00:26):

Consistency is the key to success. Now, that might seem like a big sweeping generalization, and it is, but it's also true. Consistency is the underlying premise behind maintenance mode, behind working the system, behind the mantra of "Don't break it." It's the opposite of shiny object syndrome. And while it's not a cure-all, figuring out how to be consistent and show up every day fixes a whole lot of problems. I'm Susan Boles, and you're listening to Break the Ceiling, the show where we break down unconventional strategies you can use to save time, boost your profit, and increase your operational capacity.

Susan Boles (01:09):

When you're consistent with your offers and your messaging, people know who you are, what you stand for, and what you sell. When you're consistent in your operations, your team and your clients know exactly what to do next. When you're consistent, you are efficient and you don't waste time, effort, or money. Consistency means that you don't get exhausted by decision fatigue because a lot of your daily decisions have already been made and you're just following the process you decided on a while ago. Consistency builds resilience. Even when you're operating at 10%, having built habits and processes means that you can keep the ball rolling. The habits you build get you through the tough times, but it can be hard to be consistent. It seems like it would be boring doing the same thing over and over. There is a reason that shiny object syndrome is a thing and why it's such a challenge for so many business owners.

Susan Boles (02:07):

So in order to become more consistent in your business, there are two things you have to figure out. First, you have to get your own mindset wrapped around being consistent and then prioritizing consistency. Now, that sounds simple, but in my experience, it's just not. It's so easy to self-sabotage by getting distracted or bored or prioritizing other things. And if you happen to be neurodivergent, have executive function issues, or you have a chronic illness, aiming for consistency can be extra challenging.

Susan Boles (02:44):

Second, once you know that consistency is an important value to you, you have to figure out how to build systems that will support you and help you stay consistent even on the hard days. You have to build habits and design your environment so that being consistent is actually the easiest path for you to take. The systems that work for you to support you in being consistent are going to look different for everyone. The point here isn't to fit yourself into someone else's idea of consistency, but to find your own brand of consistency, maybe even your own definition of it, and to figure out the systems that support you and how your brain and your energy levels work. And if consistency is the goal, building habits is how you accomplish it.

Susan Boles (03:33):

Meet Sarah. Sarah Von Bargen is a writer, coach, and educator who helps people spend their time, money, and energy on purpose. And she uses habits to make sure they're sticking to that purpose. Habits have been a critical component in her own business success and in the success of her students too. So when you are thinking about the term, maintenance mode, what does that mean to you? What does that look like in your business?

Sarah Von Bargen (04:03):

To me, it means navigating my business choices from a space of intention and the long run. It means navigating my business races from facts, not feelings, and knowing... It's April 5th as we're recording this, and I know how the rest of my year is going to shake out. I know when my launches are, I know 70% of the launch plan for each course that I'm running. Of course, there are going to be things that I'm going to tweak. I give myself space that if I have some incredible idea that I absolutely need to do something with, I can do that.

Sarah Von Bargen (04:50):

But for me, maintenance mode makes running a business just feel so much calmer because I know, "Okay, I just launched my Bank Boost course. Literally, the cart closed this morning. So then, I will spend April running that course and working with coaching clients. And then, I will spend the next month amping up and prepping my audience to open my next course." I have the rest of the year mapped out like that. I know ballpark how much I make every launch. I know ballpark how many coaching client inquiries I'm going to get. And so, it just feels much calmer than it did when I was running my business with just a like, "I'm sure this seems like a great idea. I'll open the doors on this next week."

Susan Boles (05:42):

Yeah, I feel that. So was there anything that was a specific trigger or event or something that happened either in your life or in your business that made you realize that you needed to move more into this systems mindset? Or did you just come into business and build it that way from the beginning?

Sarah Von Bargen (06:04):

Well, I wouldn't say there was not one single moment where I was like, "This is it. I have to figure this out." But I would say, just like most people, the last year has been pretty tumultuous. And even prior to that, I got married for the first time. I became a step-mom. I moved. We bought a duplex. So there was a lot of stuff going on in my life that didn't have anything to do with business. It really nudged me to think about there has got to be a better way than not understanding what the rest of the year is going to look like, just doing everything by the seat of my pants because it's too stressful to do that. I don't like having these huge valleys and troughs in my income. I don't like burning myself out for three weeks and then having nothing on my calendar for three weeks. It just didn't feel sustainable.

Sarah Von Bargen (07:02):

And the other thing that happened, so my business model is a little bit different than a lot of other people's. I do one-on-one coaching, I occasionally do consulting, I occasionally do public speaking, but the most of my income comes from one-on-one coaching and running live courses. My courses are live, which is quite unusual. Most courses are self-paced and my courses are four weeks long, and because they're live, because there's so much accountability and co-working sessions in live Q and A and a Facebook group, many of my people want to come back and work through the courses again because maybe they know the content, they know this is Sarah's approach to achieving goals., This is Sarah's approach to building habits. But those are not things that... You don't learn about habits once and then you never have to think about it again.

Sarah Von Bargen (07:59):

So I realized I could actually run. I have three courses that people love and I have tons of alums who want to go through them again. There's no reason I couldn't just run them every year. Like Habit School, I run it once a year and tons of alums take it. And people who've been following me, maybe they miss it last year but they want to take it again now. So I realized that my business model really created an opportunity for me to put things on maintenance mode and maybe a way for other... If somebody does one-off consulting, and you build a website for somebody and then they don't need another website for four years, it's a little bit different.

Susan Boles (08:48):

Yeah, that makes sense. So habits and consistency are a big part of the work that you do and what you teach, but how has that played a role in getting you to maintenance mode, getting your business to maintenance mode? How have habits played into that for you?

Sarah Von Bargen (09:06):

Well, this is going to sound like I'm reverse engineering it, but honestly, and probably anybody listening knows this, if you're not getting eight hours of sleep, if you have a really, really tough caffeine addiction, if you have a really, really serious phone addiction, it's going to be hard to get your body and brain to a place where they can even concentrate on making these decisions and figuring out how to put your business on maintenance mode. So as counterintuitive as it sounds, I often suggest that all the work that I do with clients, regardless of the topic we're addressing, it's a lot easier to do just about anything if you are getting eight hours of sleep and you're not on your phone four hours a day.

Susan Boles (09:55):

Were those habits that you personally had to break or just stuff that you've noticed working with clients? Or how did you get yourself to a place where you could... I mean, going into maintenance mode requires you to take a step back from the day-to-day operations of your business and think really strategically about every area of your business. And so, it absolutely makes sense that you need to be well-rested and able to focus and in a place where you are personally taken care of to be able to get into the brain space of being able to handle this. Were those habits something that you personally had to overcome or you just had noticed it and now integrated it in your work with clients?

Sarah Von Bargen (10:51):

I've always had pretty decent sleep hygiene, so that wasn't too big of a problem. But what was so interesting is, so I do a lot of work around money and spending and that kind of stuff, and I would hear from my one-on-one clients, because a lot of the work we do is looking at literally getting your credit card statement out and your bank statement and going through every purchase and figuring out which purchases are regrettable and which ones are not, and there was a huge overlap in like, "Oh yeah, I buy things on Amazon at 1:00 in the morning because I have terrible sleep hygiene." Or if I look back, I realized like this giant Target bill directly correlates with being sleep deprived. So that is what made me think like, "Oh, wow. There's a huge..." And I'm sure you and probably the people who are listening have seen that study that being chronically sleep deprived is the equivalent of being drunk. That's how much it affects your decision-making abilities.

Sarah Von Bargen (11:58):

And so, witnessing that firsthand with my clients, there was a direct correlation with sleep deprivation and regrettable purchases. That was really eye-opening. And then once I saw that, I started including, in my pre-coaching session workbooks that I send to my clients, one of the questions that I started including regardless of the topic we were doing coaching around was like, "How's your self-care?" I would then, in parentheses, I would say like, "How much are you using your phone? Do you get eight hours of sleep?" And 99% of the time, people were saying like, "Oh yeah, I'm totally addicted to my phone. I'm not getting enough sleep."

Sarah Von Bargen (12:36):

And it's not some mystery that if you're sleep deprived and it's so common to be on our phones all the time, and if we're spending all of our time scrolling through Instagram and feeling less than, and hate-stalking some girl from high school, it's not some mystery that we're not going to be in a good head space to... We're not going to have the bandwidth to step back and look at our businesses and figure out where we can make some changes.

Sarah Von Bargen (13:04):

In terms of the phone, I was absolutely addicted to my phone, absolutely addicted to my phone. And so, what I found and something that I teach in all of my classes is that it's much... In a perfect world, we can change our interior life, we can change our brain. That's what therapy is for. But in the meantime, it's much easier to change our surroundings than it is to change our brain. So let's all just start by charging our phone in a different room, putting it on Do Not Disturb, I use the Bedtime settings on my phone so it turns the screen black and white from 8:00 PM to 9:00 AM because it's not particularly fun to scroll through Instagram and everything's black and white, and there are tons of things that you can install on your phone to just make it less appealing. And again, let's all do the inner work as well, but it's a million times easier to change those exterior things while we simultaneously work on the interior things.

Susan Boles (13:59):

So when you were developing your business and shifting from "I'm going to do everything whenever it strikes my fancy" to "I'm going to be very strategic and calm and thoughtful," were there any habits or pieces that surprised you that were really critical or impactful for you being able to actually take your business from "I'm going to do whatever, whenever" to "Here's how my year looks and here's when this is going to happen, here's what happens next"? What were some habits or things that you needed to do that were really critical to get you there?

Sarah Von Bargen (14:44):

For me, the biggest thing was unhooking my ego from the results that I got, because I think we've all had the experience where we create an offering, we create a product where we're like, "This is amazing. I know it's going to change people's lives. And if they will just buy it, it will be incredible," and then you try and sell it. For whatever reason, it doesn't resonate with people. And then, there's something that you threw together that just sells like hotcakes, or you work your butt off to create Facebook ads and then when you go in and look at the analytics, people didn't buy from the Facebook ads. They bought from your newsletter. And even though you thought your Facebook ads were so good and so creative and that they should have worked, they didn't. So I think a lot of it, for me, was just like making peace with "You know what, I'm just going to look at the results and not take it personally."

Sarah Von Bargen (15:41):

I have a money course that truly helps people get past their really deep-seated money issues like why do you keep buying stuff you don't need? Why are you trying to keep up with the Joneses? Susan, nobody wants to get past their deep-seated money issues. They want to negotiate their T-Mobile bill down. They want to sell stuff on Craigslist.

Susan Boles (16:03):

Because that's something you can just check off a to-do list. You can be like, "Yup, done. I did that." Dealing with your, "Here's why I believe what I believe about money," That's really hard. It's a lot harder than just making a phone call.

Sarah Von Bargen (16:15):

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And so, even though I know that that course is incredible and it will change people's lives, it doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of people don't actually want to do that. So I had to let go of my ego and just be like, "Okay, well, the money course that I run live twice a year is the one where we negotiate our bills down and we cancel subscriptions. We make sure that we're claiming all of our expenses," because that's what people want. So I think a huge part of it is just facts, not feelings. It's not personal that the Facebook ads didn't work. It's not personal that people are buying from your newsletter and not from your Facebook ads. It's not personal that they want this product instead of that one and just like, this is just what the market demands.

Sarah Von Bargen (17:06):

It doesn't mean that you can only create and sell services and products based on mark... You can do things that you're passionate about. Go ahead and launch the thing that you're passionate about. But I think it's so easy also when something doesn't turn out the way we want to to make it about our inherent worth as a human and, "Oh my gosh, if they didn't hire me, if they didn't take my course, if they didn't book me to redesign something, clearly it's an indicator that I'm a failure as a human." No. There are so many things that go into those business decisions.

Sarah Von Bargen (17:39):

So as hippy-dippy as it sounds, unhooking your ego from the results is a really good first step. And just looking at the numbers, looking the analytics, I try to view it... It's just like the weather. If it rains out, it's not a personal indictment of me. It's just information. It's just something that's happening. And now that I know this, can I bring an umbrella?

Susan Boles (18:04):

Yeah, totally. So what was the biggest challenge for you when you were shifting from "I'm doing all the things" to "These are the things that I am doing. Here's how it's going to work"? What was the biggest challenge for you?

Sarah Von Bargen (18:21):

It was avoiding shiny new thing syndrome. Because the way I run my businesses, I have my launches planned out in January. I figure out, "Okay, this is when I'm launching this and then this is what I'm doing in the interim. These are the blog posts that I'm writing that relate to these launches." I have it all planned out and it is very, very easy to get a new idea. And then instead of doing the unsexy work that I should be doing to get the results that I want like editing and redesigning my opt-in or fine-tuning my funnel or running Facebook ads to grow my list, which are important but not very sexy maintenance tasks, it's a lot more fun to create a new product that I feel passionate about that nobody has told me that they need.

Susan Boles (19:21):

I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know that.

Sarah Von Bargen (19:22):

Yeah, right? So I think I really have to try not to engage in productive procrastination. And also, there are platforms that I enjoy using that don't actually bring me much traffic. So that's also important to know. If Twitter's not bringing you much traffic, that doesn't mean you have to quit. But it's also important to know that like, "Okay, if most of your traffic is coming from Pinterest, you should figure out how to use it."

Susan Boles (19:51):

So when you have a new idea and it pops into your head, because we all have that, that happens to, I think, every entrepreneur because that's who we are, that's how we work, what do you do? How do you either keep yourself on the path that you are on? How do you either distract yourself or let yourself go there? How do you handle, not getting over, but getting past a shiny new idea?

Sarah Von Bargen (20:22):

I have what I literally called the Think About It Later list, which on a daily basis ends up being the length of my legal pad. Because my brain as soon as I'm engaging in something that is not fun like if I need to call my bank and figure out a weird charge or if you need to find a line of code and fix it, those things are not fun, and so instead of doing that, my brain will be like, "You know what, we should really think about running a webinar about that topic that nobody asked about."

Sarah Von Bargen (20:58):

And so, I literally have... And I write it with my hand because your brain takes things more seriously when you write it with your hand. So I have a notebook that's called my Think About It Later list and every "great idea" that I have, I write it with my hand in that notebook. And then generally speaking, I will have a date at the top of the notepad and I am not allowed to take action on any of those things until that date arrives, and usually the date is somewhere between two and four weeks in the future. And of course, 90% of the time, when I look back overall these "great ideas," it's just complete nonsense that my brain was trying to distract me from the unpleasant task that I needed to accomplish.

Susan Boles (21:44):

Yeah, I love that idea. One of my friends used to tell Siri on his phone like, "Hey Siri, remind me in three weeks about this idea that I have." And by putting it on the list and setting a date at which he could reevaluate this idea, it allowed him to let the idea go. And like you, most of the time, when it came back around, he went like, "What was I thinking? That is not a good idea."

Sarah Von Bargen (22:16):

Yes. And the other thing that I would say is, particularly for business ideas, what you can always do, especially if your listeners have blogs or if they have social media accounts, which I imagine they do, if you have a great new idea for a product or offering, one of the easiest things you can do is write a few blog posts or a few Instagram posts about that topic and see how people respond. Because if you write two blog posts about the topic and they get zero comments and nobody replies to the newsletter, now you know that it's probably not worth spending a bunch of time and energy on fleshing that idea out into an entire course.

Sarah Von Bargen (22:56):

The reason that I knew that I should create a course about money, two things. One was that the most viral blog post I have ever written that crashed my website three times was about money. And also, I used to be an ESL teacher who worked at a nonprofit. I made $16 an hour living in the Twin Cities which is, I mean, it's not like San Francisco but it's certainly an expensive Metro area. And a friend of a friend who saw me living my life on social media and knew that I worked at a nonprofit thought that I had a trust fund because he didn't believe that I could live my life in that way. My parents are public school teachers. There's no trust fund.

Sarah Von Bargen (23:36):

But so, those two things like A, I had a real life evidence that apparently I was living a life that seemed expensive and I also had analytical hard evidence from Google and from my website that these were things that my people were interested in. So if you have a really shiny new idea that keeps coming back to you that you truly are interested in pursuing, test it out with some content and see how people react to it.

Susan Boles (24:02):

Yeah, I think those are good ways to-

Sarah Von Bargen (24:07):

Yeah, and free.

Susan Boles (24:08):

And shiny thing, it can derail everything you're trying to accomplish.

Sarah Von Bargen (24:13):

Oh my gosh, yes. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yup.

Susan Boles (24:15):

So for you, shiny thing syndrome is your biggest challenge. Were there any technical issues or tactical things that you really had to think through to transition your business? You mentioned that you plan a year in advance. What does that planning process look like, or how did you develop it?

Sarah Von Bargen (24:43):

Maybe I just wasn't Googling the right words, but I couldn't figure out like when I would Google plan your course launches a year in advance, plan your blog posts. I just couldn't find resources that were talking about that, really. And so, I had to create my own system. And who knows, maybe there's a great, there's probably a great resource out there that I just couldn't find.

Susan Boles (25:10):

I mean, I think a lot of people legitimately just, they don't do it.

Sarah Von Bargen (25:15):

Yes, yeah.

Susan Boles (25:16):

I mean, there's not a lot of content if people aren't actually doing... When I was looking for guests for this series and asked people to raise their hand and say, "Hey, is your business in maintenance mode? I want to talk to you," no one raised their hands because nobody. They were like, "Yeah, I want to do that eventually."

Sarah Von Bargen (25:35):

Yeah. So I would say the hardest part was figuring out how to do it because nobody talks about it. And so, what I basically developed, and there's probably a much better way to do this, but just a spreadsheet where I would analyze my launches and I divided the spreadsheet into the different like "The cart was open on these dates. Here's when the purchases came in," and then how that corresponded with the different marketing efforts that I engaged in.

Sarah Von Bargen (26:12):

And what's also really fascinating is obviously an Instagram post getting liked versus an Instagram post getting people to click on the link in your bio that goes to the sales page. Those things are different, which seems obvious when I say it, but it took me a minute. The first time I went through a spreadsheet, I was like, "Oh, this post was so popular," and then I was like, "Oh, wait a second. This post got this many people to click the link. And this post that was really popular, tons of people commented on it but it didn't actually lead to that many link clicks." So really, just figuring out how to analyze this stuff. What was the metric that I should actually be measuring, because how many likes a post gets doesn't mean anything if they don't click on the link to look at your sales page.

Sarah Von Bargen (27:08):

I still haven't totally figured out because I try to... My husband's a climatologist, so we're big on the scientific method in this household. But so, the other thing that I struggle with is resisting the urge to change too many things at once because when you change a million things, it's hard to know what worked or what didn't. And so, trying to figure out like resisting the urge to, "Okay, the next time I launch, I'm redesigning the sales page and I'm running a webinar and I'm recording a podcast series," resisting that urge because if I do that, A, I will burn myself out and, B, I won't necessarily know what worked.

Sarah Von Bargen (27:51):

And also, as I'm sure your listeners are aware of, it takes people 7 to 15 interactions with a piece of information to take action on it, and your social media followers only see 6% of what you post, and for most of us, our newsletters have somewhere between 20% and 40% open rate. And so, if you have a product and it's expensive, you're going to have to talk about it. People will probably have to hear about it for months and months, potentially even years, before they do anything about it. The other important thing about maintenance mode is like you're going to have a few diehard fans, but they're going to be a lot of people who have to hear about your stuff many times before they do anything about it, which is the other reason why it's important to have a system around bringing in new clients, talking about your products, talking about your services regularly and not just one-offs when you need the money.

Susan Boles (28:47):

Yeah. I think, in general, we all underestimate how long or how much people... We need to be talking about what we do and what we're selling and how important it is to be consistent in those things, to be selling the same thing over and over, to be talking about the same stuff over and over. And it feels a little boring as a founder to be doing the same thing and thinking about the same thing and talking about the same thing over and over, but that consistency is really critical to success.

Sarah Von Bargen (29:27):

Oh my gosh, yes. Okay, here's an example from my life. I have a free private Facebook group called Money & Happy where we talk about all things that are related to money and happiness. It is my Facebook group. I've had it for years. It has almost 6,000 members. And multiple times, someone will say like, "Oh my gosh, I just joined Bank Boost and I'm so excited," which is my signature course, and someone who is in my Facebook group will be like, "What's Bank Boost?" Two months ago, a very lovely member of the Facebook group said, "What's your favorite piece of information or advice that you learned from Sarah Von Bargen?" and somebody literally said, "Who is Sarah Von Bargen?" This is my Facebook group.

Sarah Von Bargen (30:16):

And so, just take that information and apply it to your own life. So if someone who is... And this is an application only. You have to answer three questions to get into the group sort of situation. If they don't know who I am in my own Facebook group, imagine how that applies to your own life. I once did a quiz, a poll, in Instagram stories, "Do you understand how I make money?" These are people who follow me closely enough that they watch my Instagram stories. And literally, 60% of them do not understand how I make money. And I feel like I talk about my courses and my coaching so much, it's annoying, and literally 60% of them did not understand how I make money.

Susan Boles (30:57):

Wow. I have not heard those kinds of statistics before because I don't think people think to measure it, and I love every single bit of that. And I think knowing... I mean, I'm a huge fan of data and numbers, and I think that is an example of how powerful they can be in that understanding that people don't... Even people who are in your circle who listen to you, who pay attention to your Instagram stories don't know what you're selling allows, at least for me makes me feel so much freer to just be like, "Hey, here's what I sell," because they probably don't know.

Sarah Von Bargen (31:46):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, absolutely. And when I think about... Two things I think about all the time that sound depressing but I think are actually really freeing, is that in the most loving and best way possible, nobody cares. Nobody is paying as much attention to us as we are paying to ourselves. So whatever the thing is that we're worried about, "Oh my gosh, they're going to think that me, my maid, was silly or they're going to be annoyed by my sales email," nobody cares. And also, to me, failure is trying. It's all just information. If you're a writer, it's all just content for a funny story that you can tell at a dinner party. As long as nobody got hurt anytime you fail... What is the saying? I only win or learn. I never lose. Anytime you don't quite get the results you want, you can look at what you did or what you didn't do, and now you have the information to try again later.

Susan Boles (32:50):

I love that. So I think that's a good place to start wrapping it up. But is there anything you think we should talk about that we haven't touched on yet?

Sarah Von Bargen (32:58):

The only thing that I would say is I know, for me, getting my business to a place of maintenance mode, it honestly required, I don't want to say emotional maturity, but it doesn't feel sexy to be like, "I'm going to plan my launches for a year. I'm going to look at my analytics." It's very easy to resist because it feels a lot more fun to figure out how to make reels or it feels a lot more fun to create a new course and launch on the fly. I think that it's the emotional equivalent of when we're 22 and we want to date the bad news person with a drinking problem who drives in a motorcycle instead of the nice loving person who returns your texts in a timely manner.

Sarah Von Bargen (33:51):

So if you find yourself feeling resistant to it because it feels unsexy and grown-up like, "Hey, I get it," I think that's a normal reaction but also your future self will thank you. The stress of doing everything on the fly, rebuilding everything from scratch every single time, having these huge peaks and valleys in your income, it's not sustainable and it affects everything else in your life. So if you feel yourself being resistant to making these slightly unsexy but very important decisions, know that it will benefit your future self, your family, everybody to do this stuff.

Susan Boles (34:38):

I love that. So where can our listeners find you if they want to connect or learn more about you or what you do?

Sarah Von Bargen (34:45):

My website is yesandyes.org and you can check out my Coaching tab there. I do one-on-one coaching both one-offs and ongoing. And then, I have three courses that I run live, Bank Boost, which is about keeping more money, earning more money and still liking your life while you do it, Habit School, which is about making and breaking habits, and Get What You Want Club, which is a goal-setting course. And so basically, I alternate running courses one month and then I take a month off and just do coaching. And then, I run the course and then take a month off and do coaching. So you can find all that at yesandyes.org. I'm also very active on Instagram. I'm on Instagram Stories pretty much every single day. So you can hop over there, see what I'm up to, get in my DMs, ask me questions, all that good stuff.

Susan Boles (35:32):

Being consistent when you have to start from scratch every time is hard. Building systems to support you makes being consistent easier. One of the places where I've really struggled with consistency was emailing my list. Every time I went to go write an email and I had to stare at that blank page and that blinking cursor, I'd choke. And then, I'd close out Google docs and just not send anything. I wouldn't write anything. The breakthrough for me came when I realized that the thing that was holding me back from writing wasn't that I didn't know what to say. It was that I was looking at a blank page, and that blank page was just too open. So I created a template that lays out each section of the email and tells me what goes where, and then I just have to fill in the blanks.

Susan Boles (36:21):

And then, I built a habit on top of that. Every Tuesday, I sit down and write that email. I have the same cup of tea. I do it pretty much the same time. I don't have to decide to write the email. It just happens now. In order to create consistency for me, I had to figure out why I was having a hard time being consistent. In my case, I needed to turn what was a blank page into a fill in the blanks by using a template. It's just a system that tells me what to do next so I don't have to make a decision about doing the thing. I just have to follow the process. And when I follow that process, often enough it becomes a habit. And now, it's harder for me not to send that email than it is to just sit down and send it. And I don't get bored, which surprised me because I can still be creative inside the template, inside the box.

Susan Boles (37:15):

The system and the habit just mean that all of my energy goes towards being creative instead of going towards getting myself to write the email in the first place. And the more I practice being consistent, writing my email, shipping each podcast episode, the better being consistent felt. It's just easy. And I have so much more time and brain space because I'm not reinventing the wheel, I'm just doing the next thing on the checklist. So where do you get stuck with being consistent and what can you build to help make it easier on yourself?

Susan Boles (37:49):

Hey, if you liked this episode, I really appreciate it if you share it with someone you thought would enjoy it. Break The Ceiling is produced by Yellow House Media. Our executive producer is Sean McMullin. Our production coordinator is Lou Blaser.


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