Did your “get up and go” get up and leave?
Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over and over…?
Don’t worry. Even the most successful people lose their motivation.
I’ve hit the wall many times - in completely different scenarios.
Through my battles, I’ve discovered one thing that consistently separates those who retreat from defeat, from those who see a wall and choose to climb over it.
Here’s my 3-part strategy for scaling the wall of depression and self-defeat with better routines:
1) Set a Goal
You know where you are.
Now ask: where do you want to be?
Identify that place and work backwards to get there.
Here’s an example:
My day didn’t get rolling until 8:00am. The experts tell us it’s too late. I felt like it was too late. You’ve heard of the 5:00am philosophy, right?
My goal was to get up at 5:00am every day, but I knew it wouldn’t be realistic to simply set my alarm clock back three hours and change my routine - literally - overnight.
So, I created this chart to help map out my strategy for gradually getting up earlier. I figured out how to back up my day-long routine so that I would go to bed at a decent hour and actually wake up feeling rested.
I broke up my end goal into incremental changes that happened over a six-week period, 30 minutes at a time.
But, there’s one more challenge...packing it in at the end of the day.
If you’re like me and like burning the midnight oil to churn out “one last project” this is a tough one.
More on this in a minute…
My point is this: once you figure out where you want to be don’t expect to get there overnight. Plot a course towards your destination, then set some realistic actions into motion so you get there.
2) Develop a Morning Routine
If you want to have an excellent day, you must have an excellent morning routine. No excuses on this one.
I’m not saying you have to become an ultra athlete, but you do have to develop a plan that includes time for things like exercise and meditation… simply something to feed your body and soul.
If you’ve heard me speak you know that I put a high premium on giving your mind and body time and space to heal.
Here’s your first - and vital - opportunity to honour your body’s need to “power-up”.
Inspired by best-selling author Tim Ferriss, I adopted this morning routine:
Take a shower and make my bed. The shower helps me wake up and making my bed is a signal that yesterday is finished, today is a clean slate.
Exercise. I make an effort to hit the gym at least four times a week. I don’t need to make any huge gains in my strength or endurance, it’s about maintenance of a healthy body and mind.
Eat a healthy breakfast. My breakfast of choice is a fruit-based smoothie. Give your body a good, nutritious base, whatever that looks (and tastes) like for you.
Read and/or journal. Taking the time to reflect and read is so important for mental health and helps with memory retention. Even five minutes to focus on gratitude sets me up for a positive day.
Meditate. Sometimes I take a meditation break midday or in the evenings, but starting with some time to be peaceful and contemplate before starting the day’s activities is incredibly restorative.
That’s my morning routine. Now you need to develop a routine that works for you - map it out - then stick with it.
Keep in mind: this new routine won’t come naturally.
Hang in there. It’ll be worth the effort.
3) Develop an Evening Routine
You’ve got your mornings dialed. Now it’s time to build your end-of-day routines to wrap the day and set yourself up for tomorrow’s success.
This was a huge challenge for me. Shutting down at the end of a hectic day seemed impossible. My brain was still in high-octane-mode. How could I possibly put my head on the pillow and sleep?
Here are three tricks that work for me:
Have the “Tim Ferriss Drink”. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of honey with some boiling water. Personally, I like the taste, and it works like magic to knock you out.
Read or Journal. This can be continued from your morning routine, but if I had to pick, I would say journalling to recap the day is the best way to remind yourself of the small wins, even when you felt like the day was a failure.
Skip the screen. This of course is super hard for so many of us, but is extremely beneficial. When I was preparing before the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, this was the first time I took this seriously. Today, as an entrepreneur building the Sledge Hockey Experience and my keynote speaking, I can end up working late all the time. Shutting down my computer at least one hour before bed despite having more work to do gives me the time I need to hit the pillow ready to pass out.
We’re all creatures of habit - but you get to choose your habits!
Give your body and mind the chance to thrive by choosing routines that suit your lifestyle and your goals.
And don’t beat yourself up if you stray from your routines once in a while. It takes time to create new patterns in your life.
But if you stick with it you’ll find yourself skipping the snooze button and getting the most out of your day in no time.
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