Last weekend I went to Dublin with my dad. It had been on our list for a few years and we finally did it. It was a great weekend together with going to Irish pubs, visiting the Guinness factory and Trinity College and doing a beautiful hike along the coast. I could write some travel tips for Dublin now, but my favourite part was just spending some quality time together and enjoying being abroad for a couple of days. What I want to write about now is the challenge of getting back to normal life this week.
Usually I write more on this blog when I’m traveling, but my Canada adventure has been a couple of months ago now and this weekend trip was the first traveling abroad since then. Yesterday I listened to a podcast where someone pointed out that traveling is so good, because it breaks your daily routine which helps you to be more in the here and now. I recognise that. Even after just a few days of traveling it was hard to get back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my profession as a web developer. What makes it challenging is that when I’m busy I find it hard to take time for all the things I want to do on a day. For example I want to exercise every day and take time to study and read, but when there is a lot of work waiting it’s easy to cut out on those things. And when you work long days, it’s easy to fall for eating fast food or drinking alcohol and snoozing the alarm in the morning to relieve some stress. There is nothing wrong with those things in moderation, but combined with not doing the things I really want to do gives me a feeling of not living my best life. That brings me to the topic of this post: how to live your best life.
Start with why
Simon Sinek made a good point in his TED talk about why you should start with why. Personally I’ve learned that it motivates me better when I know why I do things. I like to wake up early and work out every day, but some days I really don’t feel like it. So this week I grabbed a notebook and asked myself the question, why do I do what I do?
Why do I want to wake up early?
– To have time to take care of myself (meditation and working out)
– To start the day with something I like doing (reading, writing, drawing)
– To have the house for myself (I live with housemates and have to share the kitchen and bathrooms)
Knowing this gives me a clear vision and motivation for getting out of bed early in the morning. The same thing applies to working out and going to the gym:
Why work out or go to the gym?
– To be strong and energetic
– To look good and feel confident
– For mental health, to release stress and feel happy
Again just listing why I do it makes it very clear that it’s important for me to exercise. You can do this with many things that you’d like to do, but don’t find the time for. Know why you want to do it, why it’s important to you and that’ll help you make it a priority.
Do it first thing when you wake up
I know that not everyone is a morning person and even though I believe you can become one if you want it, I also recently read an article that stated that biologically seen people just have different day rhythms. Having that said, you have to wake up at some point in the day and when you do it’s a great opportunity to do the things that help you live your best life. Let’s say you want to start with exercises and your alarm clock normally goes at 7AM. Your normal routine is something like wake up → shower → breakfast → rush to work. Can you relate to this? Many years ago, this is what my mornings looked like. One day I realised that living this way makes work the most important thing in my life and I didn’t like that idea. That’s where I started carving out time in the morning to do things I really like doing. Believe me, it’s not that hard to set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier! Instead of waking up at 7AM, why not set your alarm at 6.45AM? It’ll give you time to do a few push-ups, some sit-ups or squats, whatever exercise you prefer. Here are some free apps to help you if you want to follow a schedule: Push-ups, Sit-ups, Squats. Doing so, will get your heart pumping faster and wake up you up quicker. You’ll feel healthier and you’ll see progress soon. Maybe the first day you can only do one or two push-ups or ten sit-ups. You’ll notice that after a few days you can do more. And if you need more motivation, science shows that it also helps you to sleep better.
Doing it first thing also works for different things. For example: I love to read books, but usually after a long workday I’m tired and don’t feel like reading anymore. That’s why I moved it to the morning. When I wake up and did some exercise I turn on some relaxing music (I really like Classic FM in the morning) and sit down in my comfortable chair with a good book. Some days it’s just ten minutes of reading, other days more than that. It’s not important how long I read, what matters is that I take time to do something I like to do.
Weather it’s working out, reading a book, writing your journal or being creative in another way. By doing something you like to do first thing in the morning, you take care of yourself and prioritise yourself above your job or other things you have to do the rest of the day. By doing this daily, you make sure that the most important things are done and that helps you live your best life.
Perhaps I’ll add some more tips in the coming time, but if you start with these two things you set yourself up for good days ahead. I’m curious how your mornings look like. What do you do to start your day in a great way?
P.S. Just go give you a view of Dublin, here is a picture of one of my highlights, a beautiful hike along the coat: