New Year's resolutions?
New Year’s resolutions are a big thing. Statistics show that more often than not they don’t work. Even so, one of my intentions for this year is to break my sugar addiction. That might sound weird coming from a guy who is consistently telling you about things that are good for you, but that’s the thing about addictions… They are addictive and I am human, currently addicted to sugar. I’ll be going through some rather extreme measures to break it this year, primarily through adopting a way of eating known as the GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) diet, which I will be sharing more about with you here in the coming weeks.
So how can we make these new intensions stick? Apart from having a really good reason why you might want to change, also referred to as a dream, I think that the morning mindset has a great deal of influence over how you will go about your day. In my years of helping people adopt new lifestyles and behaviors, one of the most effective measures that I have found to keep people on track and moving forward with their dreams and goals is the adoption of some kind of morning routine or habit. Some people like to stack on multiple hacks that they like to do first thing in the morning, some do best with just one. I want to share with you some behaviors that I use personally, share with clients and have learnt from my years of studying the behaviors of some of the world’s top performers.
- Have a glass of water when you wake up and get some sunlight in your eyes and on your skin. If you’ve slept for 8 hours, that’s 8 hours of moisture leaving your body through your breath and sweat. A glass of water will help you hydrate your gut before you eat and the sunlight will help you to reset your body’s internal clocks. Start doing this at the same time every day and you might start to wake up a little more syked for the day. Do this every day for a month and just see what happens.
- Adopt some kind of breathing practice. There are countless ways you can go about this and they are as numerous as they are effective. The simplest way to do this is to take a moment before you get stuck into the day ahead and find some waking quiet. Sure it was quiet when you were asleep but can you find peace when you are awake? You can if you look for it, so take 1 minute or two and just close your eyes as you watch your breath, bringing a sense of calmness to your day before the madness begins. Feeling impatient? Try some Wim Hoff breathing. As he says, “it doesn’t matter what hole it comes through, just get it in”, the breath that is…! Of the many breath practices I teach to the newcomer, I feel that this brings a sense of calm like no other. It’s intense, it takes about 10 minutes and it works.
- Move your body. I don’t need to see you to know that you can move your body. Wake up and get to know how you are feeling through movement. Can you touch your toes? Can you squat down; can you roll around on the ground and twist yourself into shapes? Movement doesn’t need a rhyme or reason to be affective. I’ve said it many times before, we aren’t moving enough and so carving out a small portion of your morning, every day is a great place to start. If you need more structure than this, follow along online with some Qi Gong or Foundation Training.
- Go for a walk. Combine breathing with movement, watch the morning sun and if you are up early enough, enjoy the quietest part of the day. We were designed to walk a lot and our modern lives have gotten in the way of this. Give yourself 20 minutes, explore your neighborhood and you will start your day so much more alive than if you just woke up and went about your business.
- Put pen to paper. Whether that be your intention for the day, what you liked about yesterday, what you ate for dinner, what makes you happy or just what’s in your head at the time. It really doesn’t matter and making this a practice will benefit you in ways you really need to see for yourself. Food logs count, story writing counts, stream of consciousness counts and all of these work great before bed too. Download your thoughts, keep yourself accountable or tap into that source of creativity; whatever it might be, writing or drawing is good for you!
- Take a cold shower. Nothing puts in you in your place like cold water does. It will center you, it will force you to breathe deeply, it will tighten up your skin and you will enter that meeting a hell of a lot more confident than the guy sitting across from you still struggling on his first coffee.
These are just a few of the many habits you can implement to get your day started right and to get you hitting that flow state a lot earlier in the day. I like to stack these habits and my habits change week to week and month to month depending on what I have on or how I’m feeling. If you don’t already have a routine, pick just one of these and try it for a month. If you have a New Year’s Resolution, implement just one of the daily practices and you will give yourself a far greater chance of succeeding. Enjoy and I hope you have the best year yet.