I go in and out of cycles of being overly interested in hacking and optimizing my life’s habits.
I’ll have a couple of months where I’m really focused on optimizing my physical health (i.e. seeing a personal trainer every week, taking vacations, soaking up lots of time in nature, eating my weight in salads every week, and consulting my naturopath on what supplements I should take next).
And then I’ll have another couple of months where I’m uber relationships focused (for example… having potluck dinners with my friends, packing my week with social lunches, gratitude bombing everyone I know, and planning extra activities for the guys in my mens group).
Come to think of it, I suppose I’m always optimizing in some way. It’s just that the flavour of the things I’m focusing on changes every season or so. You can make any area of your life a 10/10, but you can’t make every area of your life a 10/10 at the same time.
The following are some neat habits that I’ve been jamming on lately.
Without further ado… here are ten daily habits that have been changing my life for the better lately.
1. Drinking a litre of water first thing in the morning
Benefits of drinking water first thing in the morning:
– Fires up your metabolism
– Fuels your brain
– Helps your body flush out stored up toxins
– Helps improve skin complexion
– Hydrates you after a long night of mouth-breathing
– Helps you poop
Do ittttttt. Your body and mind will thank you.
I fill up my one-litre water bottle the night before, so I can wake up to it and sip it while I do steps #2, 3, and 4 at the same time.
2. Red light therapy
If you have been reading my articles over the last few months, this one won’t be a surprise to you.
I’ve been doing 10 minutes of red light and near infrared light therapy every morning and night for the past few months and the benefits have been astounding.
While I originally started doing red light therapy for a testosterone production boost, the positive impact that I saw on my skin in the first week was pretty ridiculous.
Red light and near infrared light therapy have scientifically proven benefits for:
– Reducing the appearance of stretch marks
– Building collagen in the skin (which reduces wrinkles)
– Helping to rejuvenate facial skin and smooths skin tone
– Repairing sun damage
– Healing acne scarring
– Healing slow healing wounds
– Expediting the process of healing/reducing the appearance of scar tissue
– Reducing eczema, rosacea, and chronic acne
Plus it’s just a great, relaxing habit to start and end your day with. It’s like having a built in ten minute practice that forces you to slow down and think about your day (how it went or how you want it to go).
I can’t recommend red light therapy enough. I’ve been doing it almost every day for nearly six months now, and I’m a huge fan.
But buyer beware, not all red light devices are created equal. In order to receive the benefits of red light therapy you need a device that throws off the correct wavelength of light, and it has to be powerful enough that the dose of light is therapeutically significant. Personally, I recommend using the Joovv light.
3. Rolling my feet out every morning with a spiky massage ball
Another thing that I do while engaging in my daily red light therapy is I roll out my feet with a spiky massage ball.
Rolling your feet helps you to loosen tight hamstrings, alleviate headaches and migraines, boost your circulation, reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, and relieve tension in your body overall.
Of course you can use a massage ball and/or foam roller on any part of your body, but I find that rolling out my feet seems to effect the largest portion of my body possible since the feet are connected to so much of our body/fascial system. Plus it just feels relaxing and is a nice way to start the day.
4. Using an essential oil diffuser in the morning and night
So now you know that I start my day with a bath of warm light, water flowing through my body, and a massage ball under my feet. To make it even more of a multi-sensory experience I also put on my essential oil diffuser to make the air smell nice.
Depending on their frequency of use, essential oil diffusers can help provide relief from stress, asthma, insomnia, and brain fog.
Personally, I use tea tree oil most frequently in my diffuser. It has a powerful antimicrobial effect and smells invigorating.
5. Keeping my home more organized
One of Dr. Jordan Peterson‘s most often referenced concepts is the idea that to change the world, you must first clean your room.
I have found that whenever I feel like I’m getting stuck in a creative rut or general funk, then if I simply start by organizing, tidying, or cleaning my bedroom, then I start to gain a sense of control over my surroundings and the forward momentum carries me from there.
Whether you clean your bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, or any other room in your house is largely irrelevant. What matters is that you start by doing something useful… and by cleaning your surrounding environment, your mind starts to feel better and more clear. And then your next, most helpful action will make itself known.
The power of this cascading effect isn’t to be taken for granted. It isn’t uncommon for me to clean my room a bit, and then clean a bit more, and then get an idea that I want to write about, write it, then reach out to a friend, and ultimately have the quality of my entire day be turned around simply by tidying up a bit in my immediate environment.
You get the point. Clean your room. It helps more than you think it will.
6. Cooking my own food daily
When I first started to make a good amount of living writing online, I started to obsess over optimizing every minute of my life.
I multi-tasked to save time. If I had to do something a third time, I found a way to systemize it out of my life. If I didn’t enjoy doing something, I outsourced it.
And while this definitely served me in a large number of ways, at a certain point it became a bit overkill. I had systemized my life to the point where my life was almost completely just open space and I had too much free time on my hands. There’s only so many movies you can see in the movie theatre until you’ve seen all of the movies and don’t know what to do with yourself next.
I outsourced the making of my lunches and dinners to a local company for about half a year, and while I enjoyed the time I gained (and used to write more articles and coach more clients), at a certain point I felt like I was overly disconnected from my food.
I started making my own meals again with a much greater frequency and I have been enjoying it immensely.
For me, the initial seed habit that got me truly excited about cooking was first stocking up my spice rack, buying a new cutting board, Tupperware containers, and the sharpest knife I’ve ever used. Now, cooking is a joy and I do it as often as I can.
(For more on what I eat, read this.)
7. No phone in the bedroom
Just like telling someone to eat well, exercise, and drink more water, this point isn’t new to anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave for the last decade, but it’s positive effects can’t be understated.
These digital interruptions negatively impact the quality of your sleep, your sex life, and your stress levels rapidly. Get your phone out of your bedroom entirely. This matters.
Either structure your life so you never have to wake up to an alarm, or (if you do have to wake up to an alarm) buy a digital alarm clock that doesn’t receive texts/emails/messages of any kind.
Do this, and watch your stress levels drop, your sex life and intimate relationship improve, and your sleep quality soar within a matter of days.
8. Sending love to someone I care about
I’ve been a huge proponent of gratitude bombs for years now.
At least once per day, I have gotten into the habit of sending a love note/gratitude bomb/quick text message of appreciation to someone I care about in my life.
These messages don’t take long. Telling a guy in my men’s group how proud I am of his progress. Reminding my girlfriend of a few of the ways that I adore her. Texting an old friend that I think of fondly but haven’t connected with in a while.
Just a quick “Hey, I was thinking of you because of ___. And I wanted to let you know that I appreciate ___ about you. I think of you often. You have helped improve my life in X, Y, and Z ways. I am grateful for you, Hope you’re well.” can go so far.
So brighten someone’s day. Send some love into the world. It doesn’t take long, and it could impact someone more than you know, at a time that they might need it the most.
9. Reading at night by Himalayan salt lamp
As you may have read by now, the blue light that is in any daylight colour temperature lightbulb and/or your digital devices (phone, tablet, computer) messes up your sleep quality.
So first, make sure you’re using NightShift/f.lux on your devices to minimize blue light in your home environment, and then pick up some Himalayan salt lamps.
These little guys throw off warm light and negative ions, and improve air quality in whatever room you place them in.
I have two large ones in my bedroom that I keep on throughout the day time and evening until I go to sleep. And I read by their light in the evening as I’m starting to doze off (which is infinitely safer than reading by candle light).
These last few weeks I’ve been reading a handful of winners. Most notably, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos by Dr. Jordan Peterson, and I’ve been re-reading Play It Away by Charlie Hoehn and The Mastery Of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz.
10. Meditating/listening to music with high quality headphones
I’ve been meditating (with the Headspace app or rainforest sounds) with a pair of high quality headphones on to wind down at night before bed and it’s been helping me a ton.
I hadn’t had a pair of really nice headphones for a few years, and I quite missed the experience of them. So I waited until there was a clear market leader for headphones that more than a few of my friends had told me about. You may have heard of Bose’s QuietComfort 35’s… and if you haven’t, I’d strongly recommend getting this magic into your life. I now no longer carry earplugs around with me because these do so well to block out sound from my environment.
That’s it for this article. I hope you’ve found something (or several things) valuable in this piece. And I hope that you are thriving, wherever you are with whatever you’re doing.
Dedicated to your success,
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