3 Daily Practices That Will Completely Change Your Life
There is a certain energy around the start of a new year when we tend to focus on the areas of our life we want to make improvements. I personally eat these times up! The natural sense of creating something new, which typically leads to me waking long before my alarm clock goes off and chomping at the bit to get started on the tasks I have laid out for myself in the coming months. Like this morning. I was up at 4:40 am with a mountain of ideas flooding my head, frantically scribbling in my “The Best Way To Get Something Done Is To Begin” journal.
At this stage of my life, I have learned to savor the times I feel this natural energy because I know it is fleeting. That isn’t good or bad but rather simply just the way life works. I’m ok with that too. I have learned to give in to this energy and accomplish what I can before it fades and I find myself in a less powerful, creative season.
As I was cranking away at projects this morning, I realized some of you could benefit from actual strategies in putting your times of natural energy to work. Believe me when I say, I too spent many years full of energy and ideas in hopes of moving my life forward but simply lacked a process to get me started. It would have been extremely helpful to have someone there to point me in the right direction in order to channel those desires into actions. Thankfully, with the help of many great mentors and years of trial and error, I have established a pretty darn solid method for approaching my days with intention and productivity. I am happy to share these with you and my hope is they will help you construct a process for making the most of each and every day.
3 Steps to Improve the Quality of Your Life
Create a morning and evening routine.
I am not being overly dramatic when I say this practice literally changed my life. (Not to mention the lives of all the people around me!) I spent the greater part of my life in a frantic rush in the mornings. Thinking back, I actually cannot remember a time when I wasn’t rushing and late in the morning. As far back as elementary school, I can remember, being hustled out the door and running into school after the bell rang. This was a way of life for me well into my thirties. It wasn’t until I was raising my own daughter when one morning I looked at her sweet face, clearly sad and confused at the way I was starting her day, that I woke the hell up and decided to make a change. Now, it wasn’t overnight and it took work, but allowing myself adequate time for an actual routine in the morning shifted the entire flow and direction of my life.
My morning practice involves waking before anyone else in my household, typically 5:00 am. Stepping outside with my bare feet for a few moments when I go down to pour myself a cup of coffee and then head out for a short walk with my dogs. Moving some blood, getting fresh air and having peace and quiet takes all of 30 extra minutes but it sets me up for taking control of my day rather than merely reacting to what comes at me unannounced. After delivering my daughter to school, I complete about 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise then eat a substantial breakfast. I have accomplished this all before 9:00 am and am well prepared to take on work for the day.
In the evening, I keep things simple. Dinner at 6:30 pm and a small snack around 8:00 pm. I read for 30 minutes and turn the lights off at 9:00 pm. No TV or electronics within 2 hours of bedtime, as I fully appreciate the havoc it wreaks on my sleep.
If you look into the lives of some of the most successful entrepreneurs and influential leaders, you will find they all have a morning routine. It makes perfect sense.
Prepare real food and eat adequate amounts of it.
Long before I got involved in the health and fitness industry, I was no different than most people. I believed I had to “diet” to look good and had little appreciation of the fact that my health was contingent upon what I ate. I bounced from diet to diet. I ate a bagel only breakfast and lost 20 lbs. after college, ate and drank my way through happy hours when not “dieting” and ultimately found myself with irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid issues and a less than ideal body composition. Then I got smart. I sought out people who clearly knew a lot more about nutrition than I did and fixed 100% of my issues. I gained back my health, obtained a pretty darn good body composition and have energy to do what I love most in life. All those years, I honestly had no idea how happy, energetic and fulfilled I could feel had I just eaten enough, good quality food.
My process really isn’t complicated. I EAT real food, enough of it to provide adequate fuel for my activity (upwards of 2400 kcals per day) and I prepare it one day per week so I am never without quality food on hand. Quality food, made at home and always readily available will set you up for success and isn’t difficult once you establish a routine.
Read something inspiring or educational every day.
Mindset is the largest factor holding most people back from what they truly want to accomplish. Change your mind and you will change your life. An important practice in developing new, challenging and innovative thoughts is to read each and every day.
Find a topic or individuals who inspire you and don’t miss a day without them in it. I have a host of authors, influential leaders and immediate mentors who I turn to daily to help guide me in my work. These people give me knowledge, advice, talking points and sometimes a simple reassurance that I am on the right path. I reach out to them via social media, by reading their books or articles and some I have the pleasure to speak to regularly.
Life can be lived or it can be tolerated. The choice is ours and we are actively choosing each day by how we spend our time.
I personally choose to live, not just survive, and these simple practices have allowed me to do just that. My hope is they help you as well.
Quam Bene Vivas~