My wife and I have a lot of big things planned this year. To be successful, I would have to be serious about doing away with some bad habits that have slowed me down in the past: Not sleeping, eating too much junk food, not sticking to my workout program, and spending too much time consuming and not enough time creating. It’s time to change that. Here are some healthy habits I will implement to help achieve our bigger goals.
Here we go!
6 AM Wake Ups – Even On The Weekends
This is something I have been working on for years, and I have failed
Every, Single, Time
This time will be different because I’m publicly announcing it. You guys can keep me accountable right?
Before you start asking “Why in the world…?” It’s not really about getting up at 6 AM. It is about getting up before anyone else so you can spend time on yourself.
“The issue is that we spend most of it sharing it with other people and with whatever is leftover, we spend it on ourselves.” – 5amJoel, episode 154 of the How to Money Podcast.
That being said, we all deserve to redirect much of that needed time, focus, and energy back towards ourselves.
My goal is to wake up between 6 and 7 AM every day of the week before I need to go to work, or before my wife usually wakes up. I am essentially allowing myself to gain 2 hours every day to do whatever the heck I want. I plan to work out, stretch, and work on various business ventures.
11 PM Office Shut Down
One of the things that have prevented me from getting up early consistently in the past was because I kept on pushing my bedtime later into the night until I finished whatever project I was working on.
To fix this problem, I set up an alarm on my phone and paired it with a google assistant command to tell me to get to bed.
It doesn’t get more simple than that. My alarm rings, I close my laptop, shut off the lights and shut the office door. It doesn’t matter what I’m working on.
Doing this also helps tell my body to wind down.
Put My Phone Away
Another thing that ruined me in my past attempts of waking up early was placing my phone on my nightstand right next to my bed. It was too easy to pick it up and go down a rabbit hole of endless social media posts. Even when I wised up and moved it across the room, I would get a notification and just bring it back to bed.
This time, I wised up some more and set up google assistant to automatically turn my phone notifications on silent when the alarm rings at 11 PM.
Don’t Lay Down in Bed With My Phone
It is easy to lay in bed and become stuck in an infinite loop of Reddit posts, Instagram pictures, Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails. The only thing that seems to break the loop is either hunger or when nature calls. Getting in the habit of leaving bed for sleep, sex, and a nice paperback book is my new thing.
Also, avoiding laying down in bed with the phone allows me to eliminate screen time in my bedroom. This rule will also allow me to be much more productive throughout the day.
If you think you spend too much time on social media or on various apps, I would recommend downloading an app where you can set time limits for whichever apps you want. I have not tried any yet, but if you found one that you like, drop a comment below.
Read a Book in Bed Every Night
As my reward for getting into bed, I get to read a book. It’s pretty darn nerdy, but what do you expect?
I give myself 20-30 minutes of reading then shut the book. One of my goals this year is to read 16 books. Right now, I’m halfway done the first one of the year. It’s a personal finance book to help people break through their fear of investing.
Even though I’m well-versed with the concepts, I like to personally vet resources before sharing it with people. In addition to my favorite beginner investing book, Simple Path to Wealth by Jim Collins, Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry is turning out to be a great supplement.
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Complete a Morning Exercise Routine – Every Morning
Since sustaining whiplash syndrome almost 6 years ago, I have been dealing with neck pain that comes and goes but has been more persistent and painful in the last 2 years. It has taken almost an entire year to treat it. I’m glad to say, it has been feeling fantastic!
I intend to keep up with my neck exercises along with morning stretches and a light full-body strengthening routine.
Learning How to Say No
I have been accepting work whenever it comes along and it tends to take away too much of the time and energy I owe to myself and my wife.
As Paula Pant says on the AffordAnything Podcast: “When you say ‘yes’ to something, you implicitely say ‘no’ to something else.”
That being said, I am learning how to make more intentional decisions about how I spend my time, energy and focus.
Follow My Evening Workout Plan
Are you surprised I work out twice a day? Well don’t be, the morning routine is only maintenance. I have strength and body composition goals that will only be met with more dedicated weight lifting.
The age of technology has turned us into monsters of consumption. There is something extremely cathartic about creating something down even if it is just for your eyes only. For me, I do a little of both. To journal, I love using the app, Journey. You’re able to create personal tags, add pictures, download PDFs of your journal and back up in google drive. I like it so much, I have converted most of my past journals to that app.
Keep Hands Out of The Chip Bag
Can we all agree these chip bags are getting larger and larger? Thankfully, I have a fast metabolism, but my abs won’t last long if I keep on treating my body like a human garbage disposal. My plan is to stop eating out the bag and limit myself to one serving. This will help me reach my body composition goals faster and stop me from pigging out on empty carbs. It will also help me be more productive. Now, I find myself spending less time mindlessly watching YouTube or Netflix while stuffing my face.
I have only been doing these for almost 2 weeks now and have been seeing the benefits of a clearer mind and more energy. It is clear that I am getting stronger during my weight lifting sessions. The only way my gains will be long-term is consistency. I love reading about the psychology behind habit formation and how it can essentially transform who you are. If you would like to read more, I highly recommend content from James Clear. His book Atomic Habits is life-changing.
What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray.James Clear
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Art is the founder of Flexcents, a blog created in 2018 to help others reach their fitness and financial goals through sharing insights as a physical therapist, personal finance nerd, and self-directed investor.