I want to share with you the practice I’ve developed over the years.
Don and I were talking in our daily 7:30am Zoom call the other day going over six new listings coming up. When all that starts, my life gets super busy, and if I’m not paying attention, I can get burned out really quick. I said, “Ya know, sometimes you gotta just quote yourself… it shows that you’ve been thinking deeply about things.”
We both chuckled for a minute, but it really struck a chord with me.
When I am doing “My Practice” more days than not, I will have insights into my life that make it better and more focused. When I’m rolling out of bed each day and just reacting to stuff, not so much.
I had a thought the other day and I’ve been quoting myself all week:
“Motivation doesn’t come first. Action comes first, then motivation follows.”
While it’s all the rage to talk about morning routines these days, your practice doesn’t have to happen in the morning. It can be any time of day – as long as you do it. So if you’re a night owl, don’t feel pressured into waking up while it’s still dark – do it when it’s best for you to do it.
There is an important disclaimer I want to put out there before I go into my practice. I’m constantly tinkering with it. Sometimes I’ll try something and it doesn’t stick – then I revisit it months later, and it works that time. Here is what I currently try to do more days than not (in other words at least 4 days per week.)
I’ve played around with the order, and this seems to be the best sequence for me right now:
Wake up at 6:30am.
10 Minute Guided Meditation:
After the standard trip to the bathroom and putting on some sweats, I do a 10 minute guided meditation with an app on my phone called Waking Up by Sam Harris. I like that Harris is a neuroscientist and approaches things from that perspective. I also like how he does the guiding. It costs like $8 a month for the membership.
I committed to his 50 day introduction class a few years ago and have not stopped since. As I write this I’ve done 461 days, over 5,000 mindful minutes and 535 total sessions with the app.
If I could boil down what Sam tries to do is to help you stay in the moment. Just pay attention to your life. That’s it – that’s the entire thing. Stop being distracted.
There are other apps available that people have had success with – Calm, 10% Happier and others. Find the one you like or switch them up – but I’ve found it very helpful. There’s a noticeable difference in the days I do it vs. the days I don’t.
15 Minutes of Movement:
Next up, I move. During the winter I have a couple of go to options.
Either the 7 Minute Workout or Yoga with Adriene.
When the weather is nicer, I go outside for a walk, jog, or I climb the stairs by my place.
7MWC was created after a lengthy study with the catchy title “High Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight – Maximum Results With Minimal Investment”
The thesis was to see if there was a sweet spot for the least amount of training you could do where you would still see a benefit. Turns out that number is 7 minutes.
If you want an easier to read version, here’s a link to the NY Times article about it:
“There’s very good evidence’ that high-intensity interval training provides ‘many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,’ says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author of the new article. “
If I’m not in the mood for HIIT, I pull up a video on YouTube from Yoga with Adriene. She’s a really gifted teacher for beginners like me. There are all sorts of different lengths of videos and specific themes.
I just like her vibe a lot – especially first thing in the morning.
10-15 Minutes of Journaling:
I’ve tried a few things over the years with this.
Many people have had huge success with Morning Pages from Julia Cameron.
“Julia Cameron’s novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. “
I’ve read most of her book The Artist’s Way, and tried Morning Pages a few times. It hasn’t really stuck with me long term – but you can’t refute the profound positive impact she’s had on the people that do it regularly.
I’ve also tried the 5 Minute Journal.
If you need a prompt and like the routine of having it laid out for you, this works great. It got a little repetitive to me, but I can see how it can be a great first step if you’ve never done regular writing before.
I’m currently just going with the old standard. I have a blank notebook and I just write in the morning. Not really a diary, not really a journal. I just try and do a brain dump of things that I’ve been mulling over. I’ve found if I do this regularly, I sometimes can stumble upon some wisdom and quote myself like how I opened this article.
5-10 Minutes of Reading:
My final thing is to read something other than the news.
I try to find books that have short chapters or think pieces that just get me pondering about big picture items in my life.
The latest two books that have really been helpful for me are:
The Practice by Seth Godin:
“With this book as your guide, you’ll learn to dance with your fear. To take the risks worth taking. And to embrace the empathy required to make work that contributes with authenticity and joy.”
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss:
“Were my goals my own, or simply what I thought I should want?
How much of life had I missed from underplanning or overplanning?
How could I be kinder to myself?
How could I better say “no” to the trivial many to better say “yes” to the critical few?
How could I best reassess my priorities and my purpose in this world?
To find answers, I reached out to the most impressive world-class performers in the world, ranging from wunderkinds in their 20s to icons in their 70s and 80s. No stone was left unturned.”
That’s it, 50 minutes tops. Then I have a good cup of coffee and light breakfast.
Before I can be the best friend or Realtor I can be, before I can Sit Down and help people make huge Real Estate decisions, I have to sit down with myself. When I do this practice at least 4 days a week, my life is markedly better than when I don’t.
If you’re doing nothing now – just pick one thing and try it for a while.
If you currently have some kind of practice, maybe try one of these ideas out.
If you do something not on my list that has changed your life for the better, I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a link and comment.
Sending positive vibes your way.