WHAT HABITS I’M CURRENTLY FUNDING…?

Religiously…each and every morning, usually just before 4am, I wake up, without the aid of an alarm clock, bounce out of bed (which I make immediately), do a wee, then head to the kitchen, turn on the coffee machine, and skull about a litre of filtered room temp water.

I’ll then jump into the shower.

What begins as ‘warm’ flow of water is gradually turned down to the coldest I can handle for 1-3 minutes.

Then, nipples erect (nice visual?), I’ll dry myself down, get dressed (usually training attire, but no shoes yet) and then quickly sort out the only really pressing matter at this time, my one and only vice, the worlds most popular Noortropic, coffee…or the lack thereof…as I don’t have one…yet.

Once made, I cradle the cup lovingly in both hands and head to my home-office, and as I sit at my desk I will do, like I’m following some unwritten script, the exact same process every morning.

Firstly, I’ll open Apple Music (iTunes) and select some music to listen to, either classical (modern variations of Bach or Chopin are my current favourites), or something ambient from the music ‘god’ and grandfather of the ambient scene Brian Eno, or the plethora of newer disciples to the genre, many of whom are from Northern European countries like Norway, Greenland, Sweden etc and have awesome hip beatnik type names like Tord Gustavsen, Joep Beving, Ólafar Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Chilly Gonzales (mind you, he’s Canadian) and Barry Smith (made that one up). I don’t want to hear any vocals, just the softest background tunes to get the cognitive-juices flowing. (FYI evidence suggests that background music can boost cognition and memory formation…)

With the audio ambience set, I then open Apple Books to get access to my e-library. For someone who couldn’t or didn’t read as a young fella, I read probably 1-2 books a week now, and will read 2-4 books at any one time. Books topics relating to ‘my work’ I usually buy e-copies of, whereas “brain-candy-reads’ (stuff i read before bed, or on the couch) from popular authors the likes of Michael Connelly, Lee Child et al, I’ll source from the local library…because the reality is spending around $30 a week on a book I won’t ever read again, to me, is both pointless, a waste of money and potentially another tree I can leave in the ground…plus, libraries are awesome #useyourlocallibrary.

I’ll generally read 5-15 minutes of philosophy.

There’s a terrific book called the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, it contains 366 ‘meditations’ on wisdom, perseverance and the art of living…this gives me something to mull and ruminate over. (I’ve read this book probably 5 times now)

Then I’ll move onto something educational…I could have two or three go at one time, and will spend up to 60-90 minutes reading. If you’re interested, at this very moment I’m reading The Carnivore Diet by Dr Shawn Baker and Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk…current bed time / couch reading is Michael Connelly’s The Fifth Witness.)

Pretending that I’m feeling a little smarter, I’ll then turn off the music and prepare myself to sit quietly for 15-30 minutes. I will remain in my comfy office chair, sitting upright and bare feet flat on the floor. I’ll place a pillow on my lap, so I can comfortably rest my forearms on my lap, and then begin to focus on counting my breath, through my nose.

One, in through the nose,

Two, out through the nose

Three, in through the nose,

Four, out through the nose…I’ll count to ten and then repeat 5 or 6 times. This process help settles my mind and helps me relax for the next phase of my meditation which is very simply a combination of observing thoughts, listening…like really listening to all the available noises that are around (it’s surprising what you can hear), and then lastly I’ll go through a process whereby I will ‘feel’ my body, and slowly mentally scan myself, from the points of toes to the top of my bald head…taking note of body and how it sitting against the chair, the weight of my feet on the floor and my arms of the pillow etc etc.

[MEDITATION…DON’T OVERTHINK IT…Meditation, sitting in quietude, whatever you want to call it is really just an opportunity to be still and focus on an activity that helps keep your mind in the here and now, rather than running rampant as it does throughout the day. Other  meditation present-minded techniques include focusing on the air as in enters and escapes your nostrils when breathing, or, feeling and the rise and fall of your chest, again as you breathe. It takes discipline to keep a focus solely on one thing and that is where the beauty of meditation/quietude lies. If you’re keen or new to try, don’t beat yourself if you feel like you ‘can’t control the mind’, because that is an exercise in futility. Ultimately what we’re trying to improve is our ability to observe the mind and adjust the response, limit the response or not respond. Start by doing only 5-10 minutes and slowly build up. You’ll begin to reap the plethora of benefits from this one activity alone, that after a couple of weeks, you’ll certainly feel the difference on those mornings where a meditation wasn’t prioritised.

If the idea of sitting still drives you bonkers, then go for long walks. Active meditations / walking meditations are, in my opinion, much more effective and have multiple benefits above and beyond traditional ‘static’ meditations…i know right, controversial huh!? – fresh air, sunshine, exercise, being in nature, exposure to the elements, walking the dog etc etc…just leave the friggin phone at home, and practice focusing on the elements and the beauty that is around you]

Feeling refreshed and with a stupid calm grin on my face, I’ll turn the ambient music back on, and moon-walk my way back to the kitchen (#dostupidshit #makeyourselfsmile) to make myself another coffee..or what I refer to as my pre-workout. 

Returning to the desk, I’ll then pull out 2 hard-back note books. One red and one blue…yes…it’s just like the Matrix (watch this clip, it’s so on-point its not funny/is funny)

The red note book is my ‘daily journal’, and the blue note book is what I refer to as my ‘task book’.

 

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Write That Shit Down…make yourself accountable!

Now I’ll distribute a seperate post completely dedicated to journaling & tasking in the near future, so I’ll keep this brief. The Daily Journal is an opportunity for me to spend 15-30 minutes doing (writing about) the following:

– collecting my thoughts & ask myself some big questions e.g. how on earth did Crocs go into mass-production? 

– identify what I want to focus on.

– remind myself on any particular personal commitments I’ve made.

– review the previous day, and note what I could of done better, and highlight where I’m kicking goals.

– to visualise, dream, plan and goal set.

The Task Book is where I list and keep track of, and record everything I need to get done on that particular day. I keep the lists pretty short, 6-8 in total, and will always do the hardest task first thing. Like i said, I go through the methodology I use with this task book, but in terms of improving productivity, it’s been a game-changer. I usually ‘attack’ my task list later in the morning, once I’ve returned to the desk to start my ‘working-day’.

The last component of my morning routine is to move…and the sole reason why I have that cheeky second coffee.

So, everyday…and I mean everyday…I will do something active.

Depending on what my body is telling me in terms of energy, fatigue levels etc i will start every day with some kind of movement and / or training.

A ‘normal’ weekly schedule would look something like this – though structured and disciplined, I do take heed and listen to my body and will adjust each day accordingly and if necessary.

Mondays: I’m usually a little fatigued after working 3 x 10 hour shifts (Friday, Saturday & Sunday), where I’d be walking quickly for the majority of those 10 hours. Walking around 25km’s each shift (that’s enough cardio). So, Mondays I will generally spend 10-15 minutes doing a stretch routine and maybe some static bodyweight exercises. I will then jump on the bike and cycle casually to the coast, and take a long, hour or so meditative walk – then cycle home…and that could be it for the day.

Tuesday through to Saturday, I will either visit my local gym complete a 45 minute metabolic training or plain, good ol strength training program. I will alternate the training each day to focus on upper body one day, lower body and core the next etc.

Or, I’ll train at home…usually do 20 odd minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (‘HIIT’). This super intense, super short training protocol is highly effective, can be done anywhere, (I train in my home-office) so very little space required, with little or no equipment, and can be applied to all levels of fitness and strength…I’ve successfully trained 75 year-olds very using this Tabata/HIIT training protocol (again, I’ll detail this in a future post)

 

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(High Intensity Interval Training ‘HIIT’ program – change it up every week or so)

 

Once my gym/home training session has finished, I’ll more often than not cycle to the beach (10km round trip) and take a long walk.

By Sunday, I’ve usually had enough and will use what energy I have at work…again walking 20-25km

Now that my gym, training, movement tasks have been completed I will return home, have another shower, dress, and prepare & eat breakfast.

Once I’ve cleaned up, completed any other domestic-god duties, I will return to my desk and start my “working day” by hitting the Task Book.

It is also at this time, that I’ll take my first look at my smartphone, check email & social media…This was, to be completely honest, a very difficult habit to break. In fact there are still occasions that i “forget” and find myself aimlessly scrolling…but I’m getting better. At home, I’ll simply leave my phone in the other room that I’m occupying to avoid the bloody thing.

SEEKING MY LIBERATION THROUGH MY DISCIPLINES

That’s it folks…I have just completed my morning ritual, this daily habitual routine that has stepped-up my own productivity, my energy levels, my optimism, my intention and my health to another level…all before 7-8am.

I am physiologically, psychologically and philosophically primed for the day ahead.

Does it stop me being both exposed and reacting to BS, annoying people, mistakes, distraction, getting frustrated and annoyed etc?

Hells no, I mess up every.glorious.bloody.day

But what it does it places me on a physical and mental level that makes dealing with, responding, or more importantly, not responding to all the chaos out there is crazy-town.

It makes me more aware and alert to where I can find opportunities to be happy, kind, courteous and patient, with myself first and foremost – and then to others, which happens by natural default.

Because I’m fostering my own inner-cheerfulness through the daily habits that make me feel good, then by doing so, I’m going to be naturally cheerful to others…I know right #brainexplosion #epiphany #sodeep.

I’m more mindful, quiet and calm..many may argue differently.

It amplifies my inner-child...not that that needs any encouragement…hence the moonwalking.

It heightens my ability to see the good stuff, the beauty, the sights, smells, the sunlight…and no I’m not stoned…well maybe I am…

It massively increases my ability to not give a shit…not in a flippant, arrogant way…but it improves my ability to not respond, to resist comment, opinion and assumptions, from both myself and others. 

It also strengthens and hones what I’m prepared to tolerate…which is something I believe we all need to be mindful of. 

What you tolerate instructs others how you want to be treated.

Again, do I still mess-up, get angry, frustrated, ‘shoot my mouth off’ and say the wrong things… of course…but my disciplined morning routine helps me keep my attention, so I not only observe my behaviours, but adjust the internal narrative before the reactions and responses get outta hand. Before my ego/negative internal dialogue takes over and sends me down a path of fighting (myself) over a non-existent drama.

Repetition is the mother of mastery.

This bespoke routine of mine has been scaled over the years…what started as a 20-30minute written down arduous, pain in arse process, has now morphed into what I’m doing today. And it will continue to change as I get older, it will scale up or down, and morph into something different as my needs, wants and outcomes change…but the structure is there, the discipline is there, and the results…oh the love of the results have become far too important to me to either stop, or allow it to be interfered or compromised with.

I’ll protect and nurture it with the lifestyle choices I make everyday. 

It’s one of the key reason why I don’t drink alcohol.

It’s the reason why I prioritise my sleep & nutrition

It’s the reason i keep my physique as healthy and strong…because it is these things that allow me to foster and maintain the commitment, perseverance and grit to luke-after-myself 

Simply put…It has, and continues to have, such a profound impact on my wellbeing I simply won’t allow anything to fuck with it.

In fact, it inspires me, everyday, to keep seeking, to keep learning & practicing to continually improve my life-trajectory.

My morning routine, my daily mind[re]set and self-care discipline is non-negotiable…period!

Finito… 

The daily investment that I make into my habits in effect streamlines my focus to where my energy is best expensed. As Tony Robbins said “where focus goes, energy flows’. If our focus is scattered & misdirected, our outcomes will be disheveled and unfulfilled. And because modern life is geared in hyper-drive – kids, cars, work, social engagements, sport on the weekends, relax-time etc – that is all competing for your attention, time and focus, it is exactly the reason why it is essential that we / you make time to harvest and hone your focus, to eliminate the unessential and make time to fund the habits that rejuvenate your head and heart, and stimulate and reinvigorate your physique and physiology.

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(credit: Essentialism by Greg McKeown)

 

Don’t allow ‘busy’ to dismantle your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing…what’s left if we allow this to happen?

A goodie-bag of illness, distraction, non-fulfilment, dependancy, compulsion, loneliness….?? 

Over n Out…