Eight before 8

Every habit has what I call the four R’s. First, the reason – your why. What motivates you to build the habit? Second, the reminder – the trigger so you don’t just talk about it, but remember to do it. Third, the routine – how you guarantee it is part of what you always do. Finally, the reward – the benefit you gain from maintaining the habit. Sometimes the habit itself is the reward – others it is a means to an end?

img_6105Here are eight things I did this morning before 8am

[1] Quality sleep from about 9:30pm.

Sleep rewards me with energy, enables clarity and focus, increases my productivity, helps me feel happier. It also contributes to better health and a stronger immune system. Here are the top 5 benefits of sleep.

[2] Rose early (4:53am!).

Early mornings allow me to work on side projects. I get an enormous amount of stuff done and achieve things I never thought possible. Most of this originates from that single hour of creativity in the morning. I also spend 15 minutes planning so I never react to a day.

[3] Meditated for about 20 minutes.

A few years back, I started meditating for just 2 minutes a day. It has fundamentally changed my life. I now focus on what matters to me, not others. I create more value with less effort and little stress. I am happier and more useful to others.

[4] Ate healthily

This morning I had a green smoothie of OJ, banana, spinach, kale, pineapple, spirulina, mint and protein. I feel strong and vital and don’t have energy slumps like I used to.

[5] Spent time with family

Maybe it was the loud blender but the kids were now awake. I had a good laugh with my two youngest racing me down the road as I began the cycle to work. I never regret any moment with family. Loving others is why we are here. Spending time with loved ones doesn’t just happen – you need to prioritise it.

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[6] Exercised

I cycled to the beach. I saw this sunrise. I stretched then had a dip in the ocean. I cycled to work plugged out of all devices. My mind is uncluttered and I have focus. I will meditate and go outside around lunchtime to re-set.

[7] Took a cold shower

I took deep breaths as the cold water hit my skin. This is a new habit for me. Here are five surprising benefits of cold showers.

[8] I created something of value

img_6104I grabbed a coffee and – this particular morning – went to a favourite spot to write. I created a draft of this article. I hope what I write might help someone. Writing is therapeutic and this ritual of reflection allows me to continually improve. Creating something of value is as important in life as being happy.

I felt grateful for an awesome start to the day. I know all mornings won’t be like this. But most days, I can get lots done before I even think about ‘work’. I didn’t create any extra time. I just watch less TV and have an evening ritual that sets me up for a great day tomorrow.

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