I was a track and field athlete as a kid. My father started training me for the sport when I was five years old. I remember early mornings at the track when the dew was still on the grass. I think back fondly on those moments today. One of the first things I learned from my Dad was how to start a sprint properly.
My Dad would go into detail.
How to position my feet in the blocks.
How many steps from the starting line to place my blocks.
How to position my hands.
When to lift my backside, how high to lift it and when to explode out of the blocks.
The length of my stride out of the blocks.
The position of my head.
How to move my arms.
We'd go over the steps in detail and with high repetition. We'd spend hours working on what amounts to only a second of the race.
Why go through so much detail and put in so much work for something that lasts a second. Well, in sprinting, much like life, how you start the race dictates how you finish.
You see, if you get out the blocks slow or stumble out of them, you have to work extra hard to recover, and you may never recover, regardless of how hard you try. A slower runner can when the race if they have a better start. If you get a great start out of the blocks, it's almost like you are running downhill. The race becomes easier, and winning can be smooth and effortless.
Life is the most fantastic race of all. It has the most at stake and the greatest reward for a well-run race. Each day we wake up, we are running a race. Are you getting out of the starting blocks quickly, or are you stumbling out of the blocks and trying to catch up. I've done my fair share of stumbling out of the blocks it's not something I've mastered, but I am doing better thanks to some of these things I'm about to share.
Now keep in mind you are NOT perfect. Allow yourself the grace and latitude to know that shit happens and when it does, it's ok. Just pick back up where you left off. One of these tips could be a game-changer for you, so do what works for you and your lifestyle.
1. Ditch the Alarm Clock-
Most days, I use nature's alarm clock, which is the sun and my internal circadian rhythm. That buzz, beep, or whatever sound your alarm makes creates anxiety and shocks your system. I can pretty easily wake up around 6:30 every day, naturally. Here are some keys to getting your circadian rhythm working for you.
Get into bed at a reasonable time. For me, it's around 10p.
Don't drink late at night or limit it to a glass of red wine or one beer. Red Wine and Beer actually have some great health benefits like flavonoids and antioxidants and can be relaxing, BUT alcohol can also increase your blood pressure, so if you drink in the evening, moderation is best.
Meditate before bed to calm your mind. I don't do this one often enough personally, but I know many people do, and it works.
2. Morning Gratitude-
When you wake, sit on the side of your bed for a moment. Stretch your arms over the top of your head and take a minute to focus on what you're grateful for. For me, this is like one or two minutes. I have a problem waking up with all the worries of my day on my mind. I'm thinking about my calendar and my responsibilities. With this practice, I'm trying to reboot and bring focus to things that don't give me stress or anxiety. I'm bringing focus to all I have to be thankful for.
3. Mindful toothbrushing (I got this one from Jay Shetty)
Jay Shetty says he focuses on brushing every tooth instead of rushing through the job. It helps with clearing your mind of clutter, getting you present, and it's also great for your dental health! I've been doing this one recently.
4. Deep Breathing-
One to Five minutes of deep breathing. I do it on a little chair that is in my closet. I'm not one of these people who can meditate for hours. I just can't, and I've been a practitioner of meditation for almost a decade now. For me, a shorter period of meditative activity helps me be present and release some of my stress or anxiety.
I drink 10-12 ounces of water first thing in the morning. Your body dehydrates overnight. Dehydration affects brain function and is a stressor on your body. Stress and anxiety are the enemies of getting off to a great start.
6. Black Coffee, MCTs & Collagen protein-
I don't eat breakfast in the morning most days. I start my day with black coffee a tablespoon of Bulletproof brand Brain Octane and a scoop of Vital Proteins collagen powder. This satiates me with healthy fats and a little protein. It gets hunger off my mind and helps with fats, antioxidants, and caffeine to get my brain fired up and ready to go.
7. Five Minute Meditation-
Before I pick up my phone or fire up the laptop, I like to try and get five minutes of just sitting and being present. I'm trying to ease into my busy day calmly and not jump into it with nervous energy.
8. Ditch your Tech-
Don't look at your phone or devices from 10p until it's actually time to work. Don't keep your phone by your bed, don't sleep with your Apple Watch on your wrist. These devices are all triggers for me. My phone does charge near my bed, but I've trained myself not to touch it most nights until it's time to work the next day.
If you can use all these tips GREAT, if not, use what works for you. Most importantly, understand the philosophy and reason behind all these tips. It's about preparing your mind and body to be successful. If you stumble out of the blocks, you'll be trying to play catch up and causing undue stress and anxiety. Do your best to set yourself up for a successful day by getting out of the blocks methodically.