My most productive and content months in life have been those days I have purposely scheduled daily habits and rituals into my day. The goal of this article is to list out where I’m at, and what I’m working on. This article is mostly for me, but I always find other’s habits fascinating so maybe you’ll get something out of this, too!
Why all this talk about habits? Well, life is hard. We overschedule, over commit, and I’m personally an idea creator and dreamer. I can get caught up in new shiny object projects, forgetting the habits and routines that make me my happiest until they aren’t habits any longer. I need some constant pillars or habits so on turbulent days these daily habits ensure I’m getting done what I need every day for mental and physical health. If not, as a primary care giver and “fixer” by nature – I can often put myself (and my need for a routine) last when things get tough.
One last thought on habits, creating them, and sticking to them…
Many behavior change theories hold on to the 30-day benchmark of when something becomes a habit. I have found that to be true BUT it is 30 active days of doing (or not doing) something, not simply letting 30 days pass where you try doing something 3 days a week.
The habits below are ones that I have greatly enjoyed over the last few years, and a couple that I am working on engraining into my daily life (they are currently calendared reminders at this point to push me to get them done.) Some people may look at these as rules, I find them as sanity markers in my day to day, you do you. Again, this article is mostly for me, but I always find others’ habits fascinating so maybe you’ll get something out of this, too.
Wake before the kids
Aim to do this 5-6 days a week. This one is pretty critical to my intellectual happiness and dealing with anxiety or creating a deeper well of patience by making time for myself first.
I’m typing this at 5:25 am. By 6 am, my brain will feel warmed up, my coffee will be drank, and I’ll be ready to move on with my day.
Drinking the morning coffee alone is something I crave. Setting my brain and emotions for the day before anyone else can set them for me. I start my day not feeling rushed, not jumping out of bed because the kids woke me up and now I need to get them ready for school, etc.
It is worth mentioning for honesty, sometimes I have to switch up my biological clock to work through the night due to have meetings overnight with my office in Taiwan or I need to find more hours in the day for video editing or shoots. It is much easier to do this through the night.
Water before coffee
No Coffee after 2
This is slowly becoming 1 pm.
3-4 days per week. This is one I’ve been trying on for size over the last couple of years. I enjoy focusing my eating between 10a-6p as my schedule allows. Some week I have overnight meetings with my team in Taiwan and I often deal with this by eating comfort food. Focusing on intermittent fasting allows me to avoid comfort eating at 1 am AND I have fewer sugar cravings or sugar crashes during the day.
Commit to Realistic Athletic Goals & Trust the Process
Daily (with weekly checkins). I’ve been a competitive athlete my whole life, mainly in biking as an adult. One of the best things I’ve done for my brain is to work with a coach who sets the plan, does mental and emotional check-ins, and most importantly – that I trust to get me to my goal. I focus on putting the work in and don’t have to plan or overanalyze. (If you are looking for an endurance coach, I LOVE RyseOn.)
Walk the Dog
Daily. No, not the yoga move but really walking the dog and scheduling that into my day. This is one I recently added in, selfishly for my own brain space but also for the health and happiness of our pup. I plug in a podcast and walk for 10-25 minutes every day with our golden retriever, Kristoff.
Yoga (As Stretching & Meditation)
4-6 times a week. This is a good one, and something I did really well last winter but then let it be pushed aside as the kids’ bedtimes slipped later and later in the summer. I have some of the tightest hamstrings, a slow flow yoga with an emphasis on hamstrings, hips, and calves. This also doubles as a pre-sleep meditation, so good. My favorite is this 30 minute from Anna Greenberg with Peloton.