Episode 10

Published on:

6th Jun 2024

How You Can Build Healthier Habits

This episode is all about the practical habits that help Sarah and Tazmin be healthier, happier and more successful.

So if you are looking for ways to improve your health, progress your career and generally improve the quality of your life, there is bound to be some insights in this episode that will help.

About 'The SEO Mindset' Podcast

Build your inner confidence and thrive.

The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that will give you actionable tips, guidance and advice to help you not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Each week we will cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics too including professional and personal development.

Your hosts are Life Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years of experience working in the industry.

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Sarah 0:06

Hello, and thank you very much for joining us for another episode of the SEO mindset podcast where your hosts are myself, Sarah McDowell, and they're fantastic. Tazmin Sulleman. New episodes go out every Thursday. Now, this week, we are talking about habits, and in particular habits. And in particular habits that will help you be healthier, happier and more successful. So it's such a great episode, because me and Tazmin have both put in the hot seat. So we both share habits that we try to implement ourselves habits that we want to get better at. And we even talk about things that we struggle with. Because we're human. At the end of the day, there's going to be things that come naturally and easy. And there's going to be stuff that we find hard. So if you want to know how to form healthier habits when it comes to being healthier, happier and more successful. Listen to this episode. Now, before we crack on with the episode, just want to remind you how to support the podcast. We are set up on buy me a coffee when you can give us a one off donation. link in the show notes. If you fancy doing that. And massive shout out to everyone who has done that already. And help us spread the well. The word about the podcast and tell your friends, family loved ones work colleagues, if you know someone who would love this podcast. Next time you listen to an episode and you think crikey, they'd love this. Share it with them. Because the more people that we get listening to the podcast, listen to their episodes, the better for us the better for you. You know your SEO people, you know how the algorithms work, right? Let's crack on with habits. Hello, and hello. Well hello to all of our audience and hello to Tazmin. How are we doing Tazmin?

Tazmin 2:14

I'm doing really well. How are you?

Sarah 2:16

Good. Good. Thank you cannot complain. I mean, it's Wednesday. And it's one of those weeks where I'm like how is it Wednesday already? What has happened? I mean, is it Wednesday, It's definitely Wednesday isn't it?

Tazmin 2:32

Is definitely Wednesday. And I sort of feel the same. But it's okay. We still got another two days to go. And then the weekend to look forward to!

Sarah 2:41

Yhis is very true. And I'm praying for some sunshine because I want to have a fairly chilled weekend where I don't know picnic in a park, sitting myself reading a book, you know, finding that Zen is my plan. So this episode is oh, it's kind of a special but then all of our episodes are special, right. But this is special in a way that it is a follow on from a previous episode that we've done. So tell us about that Tazmin.

Tazmin 3:19

Well, this week, we have a podcast sequel. So do you remember when we did an episode on habits and it was all based on the book atomic habits and we talked about the theory, I thought it'd be really good if we talked about how we have then applied that theory into our practical life and around the areas I thought we'd stick to health, career and well being because that's basically what podcast is about. And have we taken that and improved our own lives? What do you think about that?

Sarah 3:57

I think that is a cracking idea. So cracking podcast episode, and I can't wait to get stuck in say Tazmin. Without further ado. Alright,

Tazmin 4:06

So Sarah, how have you taken the information from atomic habits to improve your health?

Sarah 4:14

So I find how a quite tricky thing to navigate. Because for me my health kind of deteriorates when I'm running towards burnout. Yeah, that's a key indicator for me, my health starts to get worse and I think it's the same for all of our audience members. i We audience members, um, got live podcast on the mind, our listeners, I should say. But I think it's the same for most of us is that we push it too hard and then we feed our effects in our bodies and then we end up with a cold. We end up with flu like symptoms for me. I I suffer with a lot of ear infections. And that is I mean, that's a whole different podcast in itself, not that we should do a whole podcast episode about me and my ear infections. But I do find sort of having a positive health habits a bit challenging. Because of that, because I kind of leave it a bit too late. It's like I, because you'll get like a scratch in the back of your throat, don't you, or you can feel something come in and you're and you just carry on, you're like, Ah, I'll be better. It'd be fine. I'll just continue, I'll push myself. And I think that's where I can be better. Something that I am good regard on health is nutrition. So there's gonna, there's a massive link between what we put in our bodies, and how it's performing and how we are feeling. So when it comes to health habits, I'd say me and my partner are fairly good because we're both, we're both fairly queued up and be in begun having a vegan diet, most of our meals are vegetable based anyway, so we tend to not really use meat substitutes, we do use meat substitutes, but where we can, we'll use like a healthy alternative. So, for example, when we're doing a chilli or something like that, instead of using, I don't know, vegan mints, or what have you don't know if that's even a thing. Yeah, we'll use lentils. So when it comes to food, and what we put in our body, I feel like it's, yeah, I've got that sort of clued up. But then as a caveat to that something that I need to get better is when I'm at conferences. So obviously, being in this SEO industry, fortunate position, we end up being at a lot of conferences and events that we get to attend. And that's the thing that I struggle with, because I know that my body needs nutritious for years, and it should actually be fueling it in the right way. But sometimes when you're in a conference setting, and you need quick and easy food, or you end up at a pub, or you end up eating with other people, I tend to go for carbs, I go for the chips, I go in for the burger. So thing I go for the pastor. So yeah, I think when it comes to like health habits, it's a bit, I'm getting better. There's always room for improvement. But yeah, I am trying to listen to my body and not take it too far when it comes to that health and stuff.

Tazmin 7:50

I do hear your pain on on both of those counts. And health is a tricky one for me as well until, you know talk about it after the break. But let's move on to something that another area, what about your career? Have you got any habits that you have in place to help you in your career journey?

Sarah 8:11

Yes. So I I take my career and where I want to be and my progression. Seriously, I tried to take it seriously. So I have I tried to adopt good habits. So and some are easy every day, whereas some are a little bigger, or they take a bit more planning or they take a lot more actions to achieve. But something that I do on a daily basis to help with my career is I work in SEO and I work in podcast in so I make sure that I've picked my favourite SEO newsletter, I've picked my favourite podcast newsletter, because there was a time where I signed up to anything and everything and I got overwhelmed by all the emails that were coming into my inbox. And I knew Okay, that's not gonna work. I'm not going to consume this content, whereas just picking one or two favourites for both industries, I can consume data and keep up to date with the latest in the industry. So what's going on? Because that's part of career development, isn't it in keeping abreast of all abreast I'm quite proud that that word just came out of my mouth so nonchalantly. And that was really stupid where that just came out of the mouth as well. But yeah, so I tried to keep on top of what's going on in the industry and I tried to obviously there's forums or conversations that happen on LinkedIn or Twitter, where you can get involved there. When it comes to more like pet Personal Growth and my personal development, I do try and challenge myself. So I am in a fortunate position where I get opportunities my way. And in the past, if something is new and I'm not familiar, or I feel a bit nervous, I've been quite hesitant to say yes. But actually is because you don't you fear that the unknown, you don't know what you're getting yourself into. Whereas now, I try and lean lean into that fear, I try and lean into that impostor syndrome, because it means that I'm growing. So when you opportunities come my way, obviously, I have to think, okay, is this is this part of what I want to do? Is this part of my career path? Is this what is this part? Am I Am I doing this just because someone's asked me? And I can't say no, or is it actually going to help me succeed and grow and develop, and if it is, I say yes to it, I haven't go. And because then what I always remember is, if I enjoy, if I enjoy something, then that's great, and I'm not good at it. Or if I enjoy something, and I'm not so good at it, I can improve. If I don't enjoy something, I just don't do it again. And then the element of the career side is, well, I've had coaching and training. So I've invested in counselling, and I'm very aware that unfortunately, not everyone can afford counselling. But that is very much helped me because you have to deal with your own stuff that's going on. But I have also picked like you've been my coach, even my career coach, you've helped me and stuff. And I invested in myself in that way. And I remember, shift in my mindset. So I'm back in the day, I would find it easy to splurge on a nice pair of trainers or fancy dinner and stuff. But when it came to like personal growth coach in that car coaching, and that side of things, I wouldn't. I didn't know it'd be hesitant to spend the money. Whereas it was a shift in the mindset of like, you matter, as a person, your own personal journey, your own personal growth matters. So I think having that shift in mindset helps you to invest in yourself when you have the funds and resource to be able to do it.


You know, it definitely mean I know that your growth is really important to you, but just hearing you saying about all of the steps that you take all of the things that you think about just shows what depth you are going to. And I for one, I'm very excited for your new journey as a freelancer and a podcast coach. And it's so good to see you doing things that you love doing. But it's taken planning, it's taken effort for you to get to where you've got to, which is brilliant.


And something that I need to get better at as well is I say yes, I have a tendency to say yes to everything. And when I'm saying yes to everything, I then I don't I sometimes forget to actually plan and actually think crikey, I've got to fit all of this stuff into my working day or whenever in my, in my in, in my week in my weekend and stuff. So yeah, I think that's something that I need to get better at. Because Because I'm so I don't know, and I don't want this to come across as corny. But I'm quite excited by life. I'm excited by stuff. And if there's, if there's a new opportunity, I'm just going to try it. I'm going to do it. And you're only going to get better. Like if I hadn't started podcasting back in 2018. And I, I feel so fortunate that I managed to not beg because yeah, that sounds to say away. But after persuading my friend to do my first ever podcast, I didn't have any idea what I was doing in the first place. But I said Yes, I did it and look where I am now I'm doing a wonderful podcast with a great co host plasmin we're doing live we're doing live shows we're making we're making ready we're making a differences so I have to chi i don't know when what you think about this but I heart I find that hard to balance of sailing yesterday new opportunities, but remembering okay. What are you saying yes to plan this into your day, plan this into your diary. That's the bit that I chunk that I struggle with. And I don't know what you think about that.


Well I think balancing when you've got so many things going on, it's a bit like sitting on one of those big yoga balls. It's a just simple, straightforward thing. But I think I'm getting better at it. But I wouldn't say that I'm there. And I don't think anyone that actually gets there. I'm sure, well, actually, maybe they do, but I certainly don't. But it leads me on to it. And it's funny you say that the people pleasing leads to burnout. But then the burnout also leads to bad eating habits. So it's all sorts of links together. What do you look after your well being because you you're really busy. You're taking on more and more opportunities? What do you do to look after your mental? So


I've tried, there's lots of different things that I've tried. And it's funny, isn't it because this is habits. So you have to you have to try set in things so many times for you need to create a habit. So you can't just do something once and think why it's going to be habit, it has to be continuous, or something that I did sort of have a go with is habit stacking, where there's a habit that you want to do, but you're not currently do it. So you habit stack onto something out. So for examples within it, I did try. And I did do this for a while, but then I got out of it was that zooming in Tash? Often, we wind down from a day by watching Netflix. So I was like, Well, I'm already watching Netflix, we're already watching. Whatever we were watching on that night, why why not why I can sit, stretch, do some do some yoga, do some stretching at the same time. So something that I did try is habit stacking, or, and I think you did something similar to this, but I'm always making myself a cup of coffee, because enough coffee or minty or hot water and lemon. So I'm already doing that. But what I tried to do is okay, while the kettle is boiling, can I hold a squat for a bit because exercise is important, isn't it exercise and stretching. But other areas of well being that I tried to do is I always put time aside for an inch break. So no matter how busy I am, no matter how many projects and all the wonderful stuff I said yes to, I always make sure that I factored at least half an hour. Ideally, I like an hour, but I always like to factor in half an hour, where I can make a nutritious lunch. And I can sit and have time to enjoy that and rest my brain. Another way that I look after my well being is I after work is finished, I always go out for a walk with Benny the dog. So I think what's tricky is if you work from home, and especially I'm freelancing now there was I, I've been freelancing for a month or just over a month. And I was sort of like working a bit too much. Because there was no cut off point. Like there was no routine of oh, I need to leave the house to go to the office. I need to leave the office to come home. So I was like, Okay, I need to I need to create some sort of routine to break. Okay, we finished work now. Now it's the evening now it's downtime. So what I make sure it's in my calendar is at the end of each of my day, that is either a half an hour walk with Benny or an hour walk with Benny, obviously, Benny looks at when we do in our walk. But yeah, so there's different things that I try and do. Reading is another good one for me. I did also try to journal but I got out of the habit of that. And I know journaling is a wonderful thing. But what is similar to journaling is, so I love chatting, as you probably know, but me and Tash got into a habit of at the end of the day, we'd say something that we'd learn some something. Yeah, something to be learned something that we're grateful for the other person for and we did do one beef. So we were like, Okay, what is annoyed you today? And there are some nights where we forget to do that. But doing that is similar to journaling, I suppose. But rather than write it down, you're speaking out. So yeah, obviously there's more that I can do about wellbeing, it's a journey.


It certainly is a journey. It sounds like you put lots and lots in place. So we're gonna go for a short break in a minute. And then afterwards, I'll come back and come and give you things that I'm doing these areas. But I just wanted to ask you, what is the one habit that you think has really made a difference? As for all of the ones? Or if you don't want to answer that one? What's one habit that you really would like to form? You can take your pick, Sarah?


Well, I, I find it really hard just to pick one habit, because I think they all serve a purpose they. So yeah, I'm going to pick the other habit of what would I what was in the habit that I'd like to form? What would I like to do? And that would be I'm trying to think now. And what minute please corner? What is what is it good habit that I I would like to put in place. And I think I could do more exercise. I think that's sort of fallen by the wayside at the moment. So before going freelance, I was doing one to one kickboxing, which was great. It was a great stress relief and great fun at the same time. But while I was just starting freelancing, because obviously having a one to one personal trainer is Spenny, right? So what I need to find is a new exercise because exercise is linked to well being and your health at the end of the day, it gets those endorphins. It's great for your body, like you'll never regret doing exercise. So I think what I need to do is get in the habit where every day I'm doing some sort of exercise.


Again, completely resonate with that one, if you'd asked me that question, I'd say give me the same answer. I wish I could have the daily habit of exercising. But the minute it's maybe four times a week, but it's four times a week having a walk around the lake, it's not, it's not kickboxing.


Me walking is so good for us. But it just goes to show to us, man, we're so in tune.


So thanks so much for those great, great tips. There are a few of them I certainly would like to adopt. But let's take a short break. And when we come back, we'll continue this discussion.


We are back with part two, your fates very exciting. So you've all heard my as gonna say deepest, darkest secrets, but they're not. They're useful habits to share with everyone. But Tazmin, you put me in the hot seat. It's now time for a roll with us. And I'm gonna put you in the hot seat. So first question, tell us about your health habits.


So much like you I have focused more on the nutrition side of it and less on the exercise. So said before the break that one thing I do is walk, walk about three, four times a week. But with the with the nutrition side, I would ask my husband, what should I cook? And he would always say anything, it would drive me spare. So I created a spreadsheet of all of our favourite foods. And on Fridays, generally on Fridays, I'll do a bit bit of a What are we going to eat next week. So either Friday or Saturday morning, I'll do it. And I've got one of these magnetic whiteboards. And I'll write down, you know, what are we going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and my batch cook. So one, one dinner will cook you know, serve as two times or lunches or service two times. So that's really been helpful. But I but I did find that I was getting a little bit bored. So recently, what I've done is I'll go in, I'll have a rough idea of what I'm cooking, but I'll buy lots of really nice fruit, really nice herbs. And when that's in place, all the meals just turn out to be super tasty, which means I'm snacking there. So that's one thing I do for my health.


So can I can I interject here. I love a meal plan. Me and Tash live by a meal plan. So when we do our weekly shop, we base it on the meals that we're going to cook and then we've got a whiteboard that is well like a to do list. It's on our fridge and we sort of say what the foods are going to be because we find that when we have the food and we've got a plan, it makes stuff easier. And also Tazmin. I don't know if you get this but there's some days where you can't be bothered To cook, but if you've got a food plan, and you've got meals in there, which your batch cook so obviously when I'm cooking for just me and Tash, I was gonna say Tazmin, but you're not my partner, me, you are my partner that you're my podcast partner then there's might be times where you can't be bothered to cook. So when, when you have just cooked a meal for the two of us, there's always leftovers. So we have that as a backup. So I don't know, do you find that helpful?


Absolutely, sir. I'm, I'm with you want the batch cooking, it makes life very, you know, much easier. And what I'll also do is once or every one once every now and then I'll cook something that I can put portions in the freezer. So it just helps ahead of time. Or I will marinate a whole batch of meats or something and put those in the freezer. So that really helps me. And another thing that I've been doing to make things better for me on a nutrition front is I like snacking. So every time I reach for a snack, I pause and I ask myself, are you really hungry Tazmin? Or are you thirsty? Or are you bored? Because it's not always because I'm hungry. So those are my health habits.


That's a really good habit to have. Because I remember being told that sometimes when you think you're hungry, it's actually the fact that you've not drank in a while. And also Yeah, and it could be that you're eating because you're feeling like bored, and you need to pass the time date. Yeah. So I love those. I love those questions of like asking yourself and having that awareness. Alright, so I think we've got health and nutrition, definitely nutrition sorted. So what do you do when it comes to career?


So much like you, you know, working for myself, there's no one to tell me what to my career. So I've built up a few habits. One thing I do is either on Friday afternoon or Sunday night, I never on a Saturday, because Saturday is my complete day off. I will plan the week ahead. What do I want to get done in that week. So that's one thing that keeps me on track. The other thing that that helps me stop, get them stopped being in work mode is at the end of the day, I will write down the three things I want to do the next day. And I will write it down in my diary and I'll close a laptop because that for me is end of day now. The other habit that I found is that every morning, I will read something that will help me in some parts of my career, whether it's learning how to write better, or you know, self reflection, whatever it is. But I'd got into the habit of just reading, reading, reading and not applying. So now what I do is read less. But I make sure that I either curate what I have read or I will apply. So if it's a copywriting thing, I think I could I could do that right now. I'll go and do it straight away. Or I will at least reflect on what I've learned and how I want to apply it. Otherwise what was happening was that I was just reading and not applying. And that's just a waste of time.


I think that spin to resonate with a lot of our audience, because we're told that reading is really good for us. And the more that we read, the better. But I completely agree that like sometimes you can just read and read and read. And it's kinda like information overload. So it's really good that you're actually challenging yourself. And you're saying, okay, out of the things that I've read, what can I then go and implement, and it's sort of similar. So it's kind of different, different. But I remember when I first went to conferences, I was going to all the talks, noting down all of the information and all the actions and there was just too much I was coming away. And I had a list that was 50 100 points lower than I was just like, This is not manageable. Whereas instead what I do is I go to less talks, and I pick two to three things that I'm going to implement from that talk. Maybe it's something to do with SEO, maybe it's to do with podcasting, maybe some have to do with career, but that's kind of similar, isn't it? But you switching the books out for like talks or things that you're learning or podcasts that you're listening to.


Absolutely, and also my journaling reflection now Has it just been What have I learned? It's whatever I learned and then applied. And if I could can't apply it, it's okay. When do I think I will be able to apply it? I think the thing that I do now is I got, I got trapped into responding to emails, I'd start working, it would be emails and slack messages, and so on and so forth. So for the first hour of my day, I work on something that is going to move things forward. So whether that's a piece of writing that I do, or if it's, you know, writing a few emails, you know, few newsletters, it's What can I do for me something creative, something progressive. And I find that before I do that, I've sort of won, if that makes sense. And then the rest of the day, it's not that I don't have any structure in place. But that first winning that first hour really helps me.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
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About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.