The following is a list of things I've done everyday thus far in 2017 to reach a lifetime peak of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Hopefully you don't need as wide a set of rituals to stay centered as I do and any of these practices alone or in combination will improve your life - IF you commit to doing it/them everyday without fail. I can't stress enough that the daily commitment offers at least 10X the results that dabbling will. Some of these have almost zero effectiveness if done without daily commitment. Here we go, in no particular order.
1. Exercise - There are so many ways to do this and as little as 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference. If you're not sure what to do, YouTube is your friend. You can find guided workouts of any length with or without weights for free on YouTube. I recommend kettlebells to anyone, from someone looking for basic fitness to someone with intention to get pumped. If you're a beginner, grab a 20 pound kettlebell from Target or order online and search "10 minute kettlebell workout" on YouTube to start your daily journey.
2. Walk - This could be your form of exercise or in addition to other training. I give it a list item of its own because it transcends exercise purposes. Getting fresh air, being amongst nature or your neighbors should be a part of anyone's day. If only for 10 minutes. To extend the length of my walks I spend part of the time taking in the environment and the rest as some combination of listening to music, phone calls, text messages, emails and reading. Yes, I've developed a strange practice of reading while walking. BE CAREFUL. I can't recommend the read/walk unless you can simultaneously stay aware of your surroundings and do it in a familiar, low traffic area. I walk rain or shine, any season for as long as 3 hours.
3. Read - As mentioned above, reading is essential to me. At least an hour per day. I'm almost exclusively nonfiction but I think any type of reading will do as it challenges you in some way, making your mind work. Bundle this with walking, train rides, treadmills, flights, whenever and wherever you can. I also read daily a growing document where I have collected important quotes, sayings, ideas and memories that I want to be reminded of daily. I have typed out in detail memories that make me feel how I want to feel everyday and I take a few minutes while reading my document to read them and (3b.) Visualize them in my head. I recall the moment as vividly as possible with as many of my senses as possible, more than just sight. I've shared a draft of this in an earlier blog post with my personal information taken out. I will eventually create a template for you to create your own, but you should check out this early version.
4. Meditate - If you get stuck on the airy fairy term that is "meditation," let me put it for you in more relatable terms. When you take time to be quiet and alone with your thoughts, you're exercising your calm muscles. As your calm muscles become stronger, you become less reactive in potentially stressful situations. The deeper your practice grows the less often you'll feel the rising of your heartbeat, the heat in your face, the tension in your neck when unfavorable moments meet your day and you'll be able to take some extra moments to react in a more favorable manner. If you have no idea where to start, check out Headspace app on your phone to get started with 10 minutes a day.
5. Write - I freewrite in a journal at the start of each day and also answer some prompts such as "What are 3 things to be grateful for today?" There are so many ways to go about this. My freewriting portion is simply jotting whatever is on my mind for a page or so and the prompts I answer are from The Five Minute Journal.
6. Practice - This slot varies by whatever your passion or field of expertise is. I'm committed to growth as a songwriter, so I find it imperative that I write a song idea everyday. A basic instrumental with a verse or hook worth of vocals, sometimes something that I must take the time to flesh out into a full song right away. Some days the ideas are garbage, most days they're whatever, and somedays they're my best work and something I will record and perform on stage. Take time daily to hone your craft and remove results-based thinking and judgement. Create whatever is on your mind and if it sucks, you don't have to release it. You're just one repetition closer to your next great creation you want to share with the world.
7. Sleep - If these were in order of importance, this would be the undisputed #1 slot. 7-10 hours of sleep is hands down the biggest factor I've found in my life for wellness and there's science to back it up. It's so important that I've scheduled my days so I can wake up without an alarm. I allow my body as much sleep as it likes. The effects on mood, clarity, fitness, appearance, productivity and more are dramatic.
Whole wellness is my #1 focus in life currently, nothing outranks this to-do list. I don't think I'll always be able to allot so much time to these (they currently take 60% of my time, including sleep) but doing the full-length versions for awhile is essential. Just as I learned to control my weight by obsessively counting calories, taking measurements and weighing myself for a period of months to grow an internalized knowledge. Now I do none of those things, maintaining my weight is second nature and leaning out or bulking up are easy adjustments if I want to make a visual change. This is the status I hope to achieve in time with my wellness rituals.
I hope you can adopt something from this list to make your days better.