Having regular healthy habits in your day is an extremely beneficial practice for yourself. The constant practice of doing something frequently that benefits you is a common factor in high performers, from best-selling author Tim Ferriss, to Martial Artist Bruce Lee to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Many of these people have and had regular routines they did on a daily or weekly basis, as ways of re-centering, improving themselves, and contributing to something in their life. It was a way to ensure that every day they invested in themselves: to have some form of consistent progress in a chaotic world.
Routines and habits are extremely beneficial for ensuring some direction and accomplishment in your day. Or, as Aubrey Marcus says: “Own the day, own your life.” Whatever your habits are, having healthy ones is an integral part of a successful day.
On that note, here’s a few of mine:
I got this idea from Tim Ferriss, while he was doing his research for Tools of Titans. Mindfulness Practice is a consistent action (like meditating or jogging) to focus on your breathing and create some distance between your yourself and your thoughts. This daily practice has been credited as being a game-changer for many people. And there is research backing up the mental and physical benefits of mindfulness practice.
I spend 5-15 minutes every morning meditating. I’ll typically use some guided meditation video on YouTube, whether it be mindfulness, box breathing, etc. The goal is to control and deepen my breathing, and create some separation between my thoughts. It gives me some space to observe myself, be in control of myself, and sharpen the skills of self-awareness and self-control.
However you implement it is up to you. Having the regular practice of mindfulness is one of those “keylog” skills that carries over into everything else. It’s your time to practice an integral skill: slowing down, taking a step back, and observing.
This one is very unique and has been a practice that I credit for a lot of positive changes in my life. These aren’t the same as my to-do list. My daily tasks are on more niche “self-improvement” subjects.
Each day (either the night before or the morning of) i’ll pick three small practices I’ll work on throughout the day. They can be anything, but they have to be something applicable in the majority of scenarios I’m in throughout the day. For example, my top three from yesterday: practice a 3-3-3-3 box breathing pattern (3 seconds in, 3 seconds hold, 3 seconds out, 3 seconds hold). periodically. Smile at a stranger you pass by if they lock eyes with you. Remember one detail of a person you interact with today.
It doesn’t matter how many times I practice these during the day. I don’t track performance; it kind of ruins the point for me. The point is for me to practice something that could have a benefit in my life, see how I respond to it, and what impact it has. Sometimes I’ll have the same tasks for weeks. Sometimes they’ll change every day. Doesn’t matter. Every day, I pick 3 things I want to work on. And I work on them.
I get my ideas from the books I read and videos I watch, which i’ll elaborate more in self-education.
This one’s pretty straight forward. Every day, just move. Whether it’s a full intensive workout, a simple 5-10 minutes doing dynamic movements and mobility, jogging for a few kilometers, or going for a walk. Just get moving. The details don’t matter much.
Most of my workouts are a mix of high intensity heavy weight movements (Snatches, Clean & Jerks, Squats, Push Presses), gymnastics/calisthenics, and unique exercises that challenge me in a variety of ways (like Slam Ball Tosses and Farmers Carries). My cardio (when I actually do it, guilty as charged) is typically short and high intensity, like the AirDyne bike, sprints, or the heavy bag. On my quieter days, I’ll roll around on the floor, ala Max Shank’s 5 Minute Flow or Ido Portal-like movements for 5-10 minutes.
Efficiency and effectiveness is key here. When you exercise, do each workout, each exercise, each set, with purpose and effort. Not to be confused with absolutely destroying yourself each workout. That’s not the point. The point is that what you do contributes to your overall goal.
Self-education is not only one of my top habits, it’s a habit that I try to instill in anyone I meet. Exposure to new ideas, concepts, and skills that interest me is one of the most beneficial practices I adhere to. Learning new things on my own time, at my own pace, and in ways I best learn is a surefire way to improve upon my own crafts, try out new things, and learn more about what else is out there in the world.
Ever day I try to expose myself to a new idea. It doesn’t matter too much how I do it, it just has to be something I decide to expose myself to. I’ll try to read one of the books I’ve got on the go (typically read 2-3 at the same time), and atleast one of them i’m taking notes on. For the more tech savvy, YouTube has tons of educational videos and channels (Thomas Frank is PHENOMENAL). I carry my Kindle with me everywhere for quick reading. Or, i’ll read a blog post from a favourite author of mine (i’m a huge Ryan Holiday fan, and get his articles straight to my email).
Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a lot of information. Even a page a day is helpful. One new idea, no matter how small and seemingly trivial, can make you better, expand your horizon, and teach you a lesson.
The fun (but hard) part is distilling the information into something tangible and applicable. If i’m taking notes, i’ll review them and figure out how to make them into something simple and applicable. Once those are made, they’ll be added to my mental list of – you guessed it – daily tasks.
My final habit, which is held fairly highly in the world of self-betterment and mental health, is journalling. Journalling is fairly simple: write down what’s on your mind. It’s a way to take all the thoughts in your head and put them on a piece of paper; so you can look at them more objectively, turn your thoughts into something real, or to get them out of your head so you can rest easy without all the noise.
Journalling can take many forms: from morning pages to gratitude journals to reflections on the day, however you do it matters much less than the act of doing. I’m a firm believer in journalling, and I encourage everyone to do it in a way that benefits them best.
This habit is an odd one in the sense that I don’t do it every day. I have several “journals” that cover different topics, so my goal is to do them periodically during the week. If I write in one all 7 days of the week, awesome! If not, no biggie. They’re there when I need them. Here’s a few suggestions:
So that’s it. My 5 habits I do (almost) every day. When I accomplish these, whether all of them or a mixture of them, my days feel more fulfilling. I feel that no matter what has happened that day: a failed project at work, a day procrastinated on my tasks, or the countless other setbacks I’ll inevitably face, I’ll have accomplished something.
I hope this gets you started on creating your own routines. I’m excited to hear what you do to have a successful day.