What is your Morning Ritual??

Reading as many books as I do and listening to the wide variety of podcasts, there is one common thing I hear from many different successful people.  They all have morning rituals.  It’s long been said that if you win the morning, you win the day. I am a believer in this and I think you can be to if you’re not already doing it.

It wasn’t long after I bought the first Apple iWatch that I got rid of the alarm clock I had by my bedside for many years.  I then started to use my watch, still by my bedside, as my alarm clock.  I don’t think I am alone in saying most mornings I would hit the snooze button 2-3 times.

One day I was reading Resisting Happiness by Mathew Kelly where he talked about hitting snooze on your alarm clock.  He said this, “The alarm clock goes off. It’s time to get out of bed. This is your first decision of the day. You press the snooze button and roll over. What just happened? Resistance just kicked your butt.”  I found this to be an interesting way of looking at whether or not to hit the snooze button.  This is the first decision you have for the day and you are putting it off another 9 minutes!  I heard something else shortly thereafter on a podcast about moving your alarm clock to a place in the bedroom where you cannot reach it from your bed.  For me, it meant moving my iWatch to the other side of the room.  Now when it goes off, I have to get out of bed to turn it off.  This may be one of the best pieces of advice I can give you if you struggle to get out of bed.

What is great about morning rituals is there is no right or wrong way to do it.  Each of us can customize it to what works best for us.  For me, I have different rituals for different days of the week.

  • My alarm is set for 6am 7 days per week.  Yes, even on Saturday and Sundays.  Some of my best time is when the house is quiet on a weekend morning and the rest of the family doesn’t wake until later.
  • I have 2 big glasses of water as I am getting the kids lunches (listen to podcasts) for school even before I think about making coffee.  Drinking a glass of water in the morning after going hours without a sip is a good way to hydrate your body. You may even consider adding lemon to a warm glass of water, as it helps remove toxins from your digestive tract that may have built up overnight, provides a good source of vitamin C, freshens your breath, supports weight loss, and stimulates metabolism and digestion.
  • Depending on the day of the week, I either go for a 1.5 (25-26 minutes) mile walk around the neighborhood to get the juices flowing before work, or I will attend 7am Mass.  (listening to podcasts while I am walking and while I am driving to/from church)
  • This brings me to around 7:30-40, at which time I will read a book, read the daily readings for the Catholic Church, write a blog post, catch up on a few personal emails, check social media, etc.  This is also the time I will enjoy my first cup of coffee, which will bring me to about 8am, at which time I head into my home office to start my “work” day.

I can assure you this is an action packed two hours!  This morning ritual makes me feel like I am starting my day out with a bang, as opposed to hitting snooze 2-3 times.  People often ask me, “how do you find the time to read so much, or listen to podcasts as much as I do?”  As you see from above, I take advantage of time to do two things at once.  It’s not that hard to do, it just takes some planning on your part.

Another thing I hear from successful people about their morning rituals is meditation.  This is something I do not know much about.  I have heard some podcasts where people have talked about what they do, but I’m still not there yet.  I plan on learning more about how to best go about this.  I know that you can start with as little as a few minutes each day and build from there.  I hope to provide feedback on this topic as I learn more.  I welcome any and all feedback if you are already practicing meditation.

Remember, the beauty of the morning ritual is they are 100% your own.  Figure out how best to start your day.  Play around with different things.  Try to wake up a little earlier each day if that’s been something on your mind to do.  Do it in small 15 minute increments.  Train yourself slowly and over time you will do it.

At the very least, your morning ritual could be like what Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, did for many years of his life.  He would get up, make his bed, shower, and then look himself in the mirror.  He’d look himself in the eyes and ask, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?”  If that’s not a powerful way to start the day, I don’t know what is!!

Good Luck!!

10 Ways to Make Movement Part of Your Daily Routine

I read this article in my current issue of PALEO Magazine.  The article speaks directly to what I did for so many years, which was to run on the treadmill once per day for 30-45 minutes and then not worry about the rest of the day.  I have changed my routine drastically over the last few years as a result of what I’ve learned.

In a study looking at minimal-intensity physical activity, researchers concluded that “one hour of daily physical exercise cannot compensate for the negative effects of inactivity on insulin level and plasma lipids if the rest of the day is spent sitting. Reducing inactivity by increasing the time spent walking/standing is more effective than one hour of physical exercise, when energy expenditure is kept constant.”

Don’t over complicate how you incorporate movement into your day.  Read the short article and learn how you can start making subtle changes today that will absolutely make a difference!!

PALEO Magazine: LINK TO ARTICLE

Six ways to stay low-carb or keto when you don’t want to cook

I came across this simple guide to snacking and meal planning when you don’t have time, or you don’t wan to cook.  Living a low-carb high fat diet is not that difficult.  It just takes a little thought and preparation.

Enjoy!

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/without-cooking

Is The Primal Lifestyle For You??

The stretch from Thanksgiving through New Year’s is one filled with family, friends and indulging on food and libations.  So what exactly is a New Year’s Resolution.  It is a tradition in the Western Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.

I make reference to the New Year’s Resolution because with it being the middle of January, fitness centers around America are slowly becoming less and less crowded as we inch our way to February.  In a 2014 report, 35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of participants didn’t keep track of their progress, and 23% forgot about them; about one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.

Always at the top of the list for resolutions is to lose weight and exercise more.  People start the year off with great intentions.  They’re doing their best to workout every day, eat more veggies, cut out sweets, and on and on.  As mentioned in the stat above, people tend to go back to their normal ways because they truly did make unrealistic goals and tried to bite off more than they could chew.  It’s not easy to go from your normal lifestyle that you’ve been working on for many years and then all of sudden come January 1st you are going to do a 180 and adopt it 100% and feel great.  Once people get sick of their new “diet” or the chronic cardio sessions on the treadmill, they slowly revert back to their old ways.

I have been working on living a Primal Lifestyle now for almost three years.  I have embraced this because of the simplicity of it once you understand the basic principles.  Finding your way here is a much more gradual process than the 180 degree change on January 1st!  There are three main principles to grasp:

  1. Eat Primal “Whole” Foods
  2. Ditch Toxic Modern Foods
  3. Exercise Primally

Eating Primal foods means you can eat meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  All of these foods are nutritious, highly satisfying, and promote stabilized energy levels and efficient burning of stored body fat for energy.  You will learn to become a fat burning machine versus being carbohydrate dependent.  No more “Carb Crashes”!

The excessive intake of processed carbohydrates and chemically altered fats in the Standard American Diet (SAD) may be the most health destructive element in modern life.  Excess insulin production from a high carb diet leads to fatigue, burnout, disease, life-long weight gain, and a continued dependency on additional health-compromising carbs!  You should seriously consider eliminating the following foods from your diet:

  • Sugars and Sweetened Beverages
  • Grains
  • Vegetable Oils
  • Processed and Packaged Foods

Exercising Primally doesn’t have to mean you beat yourself up each day at the gym and run like a crazy person on the treadmill, which is what I did for many years thinking I was doing the right thing.  What is great about Primal exercise is that it is much easier to fit into a busier lifestyle.  These are the core elements you try to follow:

  • Increase daily low-intensity aerobic workouts like walking, hiking, easy cycling, jogging, etc.
  • Shoot for 2 strength sessions each week lasting no more than 30 minutes.  You don’t even need to go to the gym, you can focus on the four Primal Essential Movements:
    • Pull-Ups
    • Push-Ups
    • Plank
    • Squats
  • Once every 7-10 days, push yourself to do sprints lasting 8-30 seconds for 20-30 minutes.  You can do this on a treadmill, or go outside and do them.

hiking

If you can adopt this simple exercise routine, it will help to optimize fat metabolism, delay the aging process, build and maintain lean muscle mass, and develop lifelong functional fitness.  This approach to fitness can deliver maximum results taking up less time and less suffering!