“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
I love finding random quotes on Pinterest that speak to my heart and spirit. This particular quote about daily routines is one that I’ve seen so many times in the past, but I didn’t pay it any mind until this past summer when I found myself at a crossroad. I found myself feeling unfulfilled, restless, and stagnant with my life in general. My weekday routine consisted of waking up, taking my son to school, driving to the train station, going to work, being annoyed and frustrated with the politics at work, coming home, doing the “getting ready for bed” routine with my son, maybe having enough energy to catch a show on my laptop, falling asleep around 11 p.m., repeat, repeat, repeat.
I knew that this wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. I already knew that something was missing, something was wrong, I just didn’t have the time or energy to figure it out. Then one day I had nothing but time on my hands. I was laid off. It was one of those blessings in disguise because while my close friends were freaking out on my behalf, I was at peace and happier than I’d been for a long time. For months I had dreaded going to work. What was once my “Happy Place” had slowly turned into the last place I wanted to be. What was once my dream job had turned into a bureaucracy plagued with poor leadership, unfair politics and ineptness right before my eyes. I realized that I stayed too long, I should have left months before, but I was comfortable and risk-averse, oh, and miserable. Once again, I was miserable and life is too short for that shit.
So I finally took heed to the quote I’d seen so many times on my Pinterest feed. I made the decision change up my entire routine and do everything differently. I knew that if I stayed home during this time, I would be susceptible to falling into a depression. I started to plan my day from beginning to end and force myself to be productive every waking hour.
I created my own daily planner and started incorporating small daily routines that have helped me immensely with staying focused, productive and out of that fog of depression that can easily creep up on you when your life pivots unexpectedly.
1. Start and end your day with gratitude.
We’ve probably all heard about Gratitude Lists and if you’re anything like me, you may have downloaded an app or started writing in a journal only to forget one day and never come back to it again. I read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne and her method is the only one that has resonated with me and quickly became a habit. Every morning, I write down 10 things that I’m grateful for. Then I read over each out loud and say “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.” This is a small, quick, yet powerful way to set your intention for the day and remind yourself to count your blessings. For me, trite, yet well-intentioned comments like “you should be grateful, there are people starving in XYZ place” don’t make me feel grateful at all. When I physically write out 10 reasons I am grateful every single day, and I literally read them out loud and literally say the words “Thank You,” THAT makes me truly feel it in my soul.
I used to think, I’m going to write the same 10 things every day, but I was so wrong. When you start opening your heart to the power of gratitude, you start to be grateful for everything in your life. I promise this works. Try it for 10 days and let me know if you feel a difference.
2. Commit to exercising.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to lose five pounds or 50 pounds, if you’re already fit or need to gain a few pounds, you have to exercise if you want to live a healthy life. It’s not about being skinny (I will never be skinny, and I never want to be skinny) it’s about being strong and strong is sexy. I don’t know about you, but I like being and feeling sexy.
It’s so important to find something you truly enjoy. For me, that was kickboxing. I have tried everything and kickboxing is the one thing that I can honestly say I don’t dread doing. I used to go to the gym and bullshit on the treadmill or elliptical for 30 minutes, then I would stop going because I wasn’t seeing results. I know myself enough to know that I get bored easily and I like to sweat, so Kickboxing works for me. Whatever your thing is, commit to it. Whether it’s Zumba, Yoga, CrossFit, spinning, or a variety of activities, do it.
Whatever you do, commit to at least four days of rigorous activity for a minimum of 30 minutes. Anything less than that is maintenance, so if you’re looking for transformative changes, you have to push yourself to the next level. If you don’t have time, make time. There are 24 hours in a day and you have to prioritize your health and wellbeing. Whether that means waking up an hour earlier, walking during your lunch break or walking to the next train station instead of the one across the street from your job. Once your body gets used to it, your body will crave it, and your mind will be refreshed, I promise.
I have chronic back and neck pain and it wasn’t until I started regularly exercising 5 days per week, that my aches and pains started to subside. Now I feel sore, but sore is better than stiff joints any day of the week. Being able to move freely is amazeballs.
Exercise because you love yourself. And if you’re not there yet, we’ll work on it together, but love yourself, babe.
If you’re anything like me, sitting still for more than a few minutes is damn near impossible. We’ve all heard how important it is to quiet our minds at least once a day, and many of the most successful people in the world swear by the power of meditation. It took me a long time to get on this one and I’ve probably tried every type of guided meditation app and video out here in an effort to find something that works for me, but I’m finally a convert!
My maximum is around 20 minutes, and some days I can only do 5 minutes, but it really, truly works wonders. I find that if I don’t meditate before bed, my mind keeps racing and it’s more difficult for me to fall asleep peacefully. I encourage you to find what works best for you.
Here’s a really simple meditation that I do:
- I set my timer for five minutes. Set it with a soothing chime at the end so it doesn’t alarm you once your time is up.
- I close my eyes and focus on my breathing.
- I quietly chant using the “I Breathe in ___, I Breathe Out ___” method.
Here are some examples, but use whatever is relevant in your life at any given moment:
“I Breathe in Love, I Breathe Out Pain”
“I Breathe in Compassion, I Breathe Out Judgment”
“I Breathe in Peace, I Breathe Out Stress”
“I Breathe in Light, I Breathe Out Darkness”
4. Affirmations and mantras.
I love affirmations. There’s something so innately powerful about setting your intention for the day with a simple affirmation or mantra that you remind yourself of that will really keep you focused throughout your day. Daily affirmations can take a bit of time to get used to, especially if we’ve spent a large portion of our lives with limiting or negative beliefs. According to the Law of Attraction, what we think and feel shapes our reality, therefore it’s super important to reset our minds to positive self-talk.
Furthermore, psychologists and neurologists that study positive affirmations have found that:
- Affirmations can help you perform better under pressure by helping you vibrate in alignment with abundance, rather than lack.
- Affirmations make you more aware of your thought processes so that you can better control your thoughts and they enhance self-knowledge so that you’re more confident in knowing what you really want in life, thus helping you figure out your Why.
- Positive affirmations reconnect you with feelings of gratitude (remember Step 1!).
I like to keep my affirmations short and start with “I Am” but there are endless ways to approach this. I have friends that will set their affirmation for the day and then schedule reminders into their phone so that every few hours, the affirmation will pop up. I haven’t done this yet, but I love the idea.
Here are some of my favorites:
“I Am Beautiful.”
“I Am Loved.”
“I Am Successful.”
“I Am Wealthy.”
“I Am Healthy.”
“I Am Strong.”
For my mantra, I usually have a screenshot on my screen lock so that I can read it often. Here’s my current one that I found online:
“I am in perfect balance.
I am physically and emotionally connected and healed.
I am free of worry and I am at peace with who I AM.
Every day I grow stronger and more relaxed.
I love myself and life.”
In conclusion, I encourage you to use the steps above consistently and you will absolutely see an increase in your productivity and your inner peace. Download my free Daily Planner to help you stay on track. This is the same exact one that I use every day. Try it out for 10 days and keep me posted on your progress.
Love yourself always.