Written by James Kell, Founder of Sailing Virgins
I’m a sailor living in the Caribbean. However this has nothing to do with sailing or the Caribbean. It is simply a series of habits that have greatly improved my life. Therefore I would like to share them with you. If this helps just one reader it will be worthwhile. It was going to have the title “Four brilliant ways to invest in yourself each morning, free” but wanted to be less smarmy. All this is advice from one person to another.
If you would like more peace in your day, start by mediating. If you’d like an effective fitness regime in a short period, try the seven minute workout. If you want to learn a language (you do), do Duolingo while you’re on the toilet. If you’d like to write more, check 750words.com. Then there are some tips on how to make all these a habit. Ditch the morning TV with all its negative drama and take control of the best part of your day. You will LOVE these four things if you stick with them.
There’s the challenge: if you stick with it. We start so many things and don’t follow through with them. This is our nature. Actually you could say it is the nature of all things. My brilliant chemistry teacher Mr Saleh used to say in his thick Egyptian accent “matter does not like to go from a low energy state to a high energy state”. Followed by “...but that is no excuse Kell. Smarten up”.
So the skill then is not so much to start them as to get through the initial three weeks. Once you’re three weeks through you’re on the other side of the river so to speak. The habit is formed. There are some apps to help you here. All these apps are free. They are listed below in order of importance (that is with meditation being the most important). If for some reason you are short of time, always start with meditation as the first priority. It sets the tone for your whole day.
Meditation - 10 mins. Keep your phone/device on airplane mode when you wake up (if you don’t have it on airplane mode at night, try it, lest you remain your device’s bitch). Either get the Mindspace app to help guide you through a meditation or simply do your own (plenty of books to help you. If you want my tips ask me).
7 minute workout. Get into the daily habit. It’s hard for the first 21 days. Then it’s a lot easier. Allow yourself 1 day off each week if you really need to. Just keep doing it. They say the 7 minute workout gives you most of the benefits of an hour-long workout. In seven minutes. And it’s a great kick starter to your immune system. I have not been sick once since I did the 7 minute workout each morning. Best fitness hack ever.
Duolingo - 5-10 mins. Two microlessons; I do them sitting on the toilet each morning. My French probably sounds a bit strained (sorry). Duolingo is a free app gamifying language lessons. It is easy for the first two mornings, a bitch for the next 20 mornings, then it’s a simple habit. Push through (the language lessons I mean).
750words.com. Takes 15-20 minutes if you are a relatively fast typist. Become faster with a tea-towel (called a “drying towel” if you’re from ‘merica): put the tea-towel over your hands so you can’t see them. It’s much slower for the first two weeks. Stick with it. After two weeks it’s good. You can write about anything too. If you want to become a better writer, then write more. This will make sure you do.
Experts say it takes 21 days of repetition for something to become a habit. At this point there is one key difference: you don’t really require constant improvement to remain motivated. You just do the activity for its own sake. That’s the key. The improvement happens over time, almost imperceptibly. But it does happen.
If you prefer your sleep in the morning take note of one study on meditation. The study found twenty minutes of quality meditation was the equivalent of up to two hours of sleep. Even if it’s on par, the point is you don’t lose by meditating. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be productive with your days, this is a great hack! So it is not a case of “missing out on sleep” so much as it is optimising sleep.
This post lists four practical habits you can pick up each morning. If you just choose one of them, try meditation. It is the mother of all good habits.
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