Years ago, I created a presentation which I called, “The 7 Habits of Highly Fit People”. The title borrowed from the seminal Stephen Covey book. I love that book, and highly recommend it. It is one of my all time favorites for personal development. The purpose of my presentation was to give the audience a framework for developing and following a successful fitness lifestyle. However, I have revised my thinking a bit. I no longer use the term “fit” in this regard, opting instead for “well”. You see, a person can be fit without being well. And since my focus is on Therapeutic Training, I have changed the title of this work to “The 7 Habits of Highly Wellthy People”. Most of you know by now that my desire is for each and every one of you to join me in my journey of strong health and vitality. It is my raison d’etre. I know that you don’t have to be and do what everyone else is and does. We can be different. All it takes is strict adherence to simple principles. These principles guide me in my wellness journey, and it is my hope that you adopt them. I have modified my original list as I have grown and experimented. So, here are the 7 habits, continuing with habit 3:
Start you day Early!
Now, what exactly does it mean to incorporate this habit, and how will it benefit you? Well, let me ask you a question, and please be honest with me. How much time do you allow yourself in the morning to get things done before heading out the door to start your day? Well, if you are like most, then you probably sleep as late as you can, and give yourself just enough time to rush through your morning, getting the bare essentials done before heading out the door to work, school or whatever your day holds. This probably means eating a very quick breakfast (or worse, no breakfast), and doing many things “on the run” or attempting to multitask to “save time”.
If you fall into the above category, then I am willing to bet that your days are mostly rushed, hectic, and leave you stressed out. Am I right?
Or, you may be one of those folks that sleeps late, hits the snooze several times (if you use an alarm), drags out of bed and starts the day whenever it happens to start because you don’t have a particular schedule. If this is true, then I am willing to bet that you have a hard time with self-management of time. And do you find that being motivated is generally a problem for you?
You see, the first category of person probably has a rigorous daily schedule, and likely plans every 15 minutes of each day. But also finds that there is rarely time to breathe. Whereas the second person probably does not have a strong motivation or enthusiasm for any particular projects. In either case, life seems to just pass by.
What to do?
I believe that your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. The key for all of us is to strive to wake up early enough to not have to rush, and to plan our most important personal activities for first thing in the mornings. Remember Habit 1? You can plan to start every day with some deep breathing exercise, meditation and reflection, a good breakfast, and any other important personal tasks. Even though sleep is important, I would strongly recommend sacrificing sleep in order to incorporate Habit 3. This is why Habit 3 comes before sleep! What do you imagine would happen to your quality of sleep if you no longer had rushed, stressful days? I read that ultra runner, Dean Karnazes, would get up at 3:00am in order to get in his morning exercise and still be able to get his kids up and at em. And, he would also pick them up from school and usually tuck them in at night, all while working a corporate job. Admittedly, 3:00am is extreme, but it makes the point. What we prioritize can be done, but we must first prioritize (habit 1).
Personally, I am committed to get up at 4:30am each weekday morning (Full disclosure — sometimes it is 5:00am or 5:30am). And I am strongly contemplating doing the same on weekends in order to maintain my circadian rhythm. It feels great to be up early and to have plenty of time. Each person’s life is different, so you must find the time that works best for you. But the key is to start your day early enough to:
- not have to rush;
- take care of your exercise;
- eat a good breakfast;
- organize your day
I am able to exercise my mind and body every single day at least once because I plan this exercise for first thing in the mornings. If things go well, I can also get in a training session later in the day. You see, I can control what time I wake up and what I do first thing in the morning (and so can you). But, things can happen during the day which require my attention. Regardless, I am happy knowing that I have taken care of my personal health first thing in the morning, just in case I need to do something else during the day. Would you be willing to get up at 3:00am if necessary in order to make the above things happen? I am,because they are that important. Have a great day, and an even better tomorrow!
Habit 3 — Start your day Early!
Remember my vision for us — We will age together! But we will be different from previous generations. I want us to be functional centinarians, free from the chronic diseases and pains so common today. Aging is mandatory. Maintaining functional fitness and vibrant health — well, that’s optional!
If you have any questions, please do flip me an email. See you soon!
To Your Health!
Jeff Wooten, “The Body Mechanic”