Transitioning & Building Positive Habits
Around the world, the Class of 2020 has entered a significant transition period. For many graduates, it is a period of relaxation, reflection, preparation, and uncertainty. How this time is used can be crucial to the direction our lives ultimately take. I’ve recently made a deliberate effort to focus on building powerful habits into my daily routine that set me up for success. These habits take effort and discomfort to incorporate into daily routines, but pay dividends when conscious thought is no longer required. I’ve broken down the important habits and explained how they can help anybody committed to bringing about positive impact.
The rituals I’ve focused on developing primarily influence the spiritual and physical energy levels. For this reason, the timing of these rituals occurs in the morning, before training or exercising, and near meal-time. I’ve found that the first thoughts that enter my head when I wake-up set my attitude and motivation for the entire day. When I get out of bed smiling, grateful, and excited for the day ahead, I do everything with a little more energy and joy. When I snooze the alarm, make excuses to fall back asleep, and don't express much gratitude, the opposite occurs and is reflected in pretty much everything I do for the remainder of the day. This principle carries over into everything. The first thought, attitude, and energy I bring into the gym, onto the tennis court, or in the plane all directly affect my performance on that day.
Gratitude: Upon waking, I thank God for the opportunity to live and to provide service on his behalf. This usually occurs in the form of personal prayer or stillness meditation.
Making my bed: I do this before I leave my room. The bed must be made, non-negotiable. Coming home to a made bed is very rewarding and is a way to start the day off with a ‘win.’
Hot water with lemon: A simple but effective twist on water to help the digestive system and cleanse the body. I make sure to drink this before I eat or drink anything else.
Total body warm-up: Regardless of whether I am working out in the next hour or in the evening, I make sure to incorporate a neck, core, shoulder, and back warm-up into my morning. This warm-up takes no more than ten minutes and includes some use of the NeckX system, abdominal planks, hip abductor stretches, shoulder pass-throughs, and back stretches.
Goal review: In my journal I have all of my long-term goals written down. I review this journal in the morning to keep my motivation high and my decisions in alignment with my commitments.
Pre-workout: I drink a natural pre-workout mixed with creatine prior to beginning my workout. I usually take this on my way to the gym (15-20 minutes prior to exercise) to prevent interference.
Gratitude: Before beginning any exercise, I thank God for the health and privilege to develop my mental and physical strength.
Lift specific warm-up: Depending on the workout of the day, I will spend additional time preparing that portion of the body. This prevents injury and increases range of motion for compound exercises (deadlift, squat, bench press).
Stretch: I always conclude my workout with a 5-10 minute stretch of the muscles that were trained. Getting in the car without stretching can lock up the hips and cause unnecessary tightness.
Intention: Sometimes there is work that I don’t want to do, but have to and end up doing anyways. When this is the case, I find that setting an intention before starting helps to overcome the mental lethargy and feeling sorry for myself. Dedicating this specific time of work towards somebody I care about or for a specific goal I have helps me bypass the impulse to procrastinate or go about it with a submaximal effort.
Work-intervals: I follow the pomodoro technique. Twenty minutes of intense, undisturbed work followed by a five minute break of any kind. I repeat this pattern for 2-5 sessions depending on the constraints of that day and workload.
We hope that this provides some ideas on how small, simple actions can have significant positive effects on your day. Make sure that the most powerful rituals occur before important events or activities, that they are in alignment with your goals, and that they are sustainable. If you would like guidance on how to develop rituals and build habits that are personal to you and your mission, please reach out to a member of our team.