When looking at others that are successful, we rarely see the dirt and grime they went through to get themselves there. We only see the shine that comes from that success.
How often do we fall out of routine, making it hard on ourselves to stay on point with our exercise, or eating habits, spending time on our hobbies or dreams?
If you are anything like me, you have some big goals in mind.
Things you know are attainable if you can just consistently put in the time to get there.
Things that also feel forever far away due to a lack of time to put in.
So where do we find that time?
Wake up earlier
The number answer given , and one thing that I’ve seen work for others (myself included when I can stay consistent with it) is waking up earlier.
Richard Branson lives by this rule and wrote a great article called Why I wake up early.
No matter where I am in the world, I try to routinely wake up at around 5am. By rising early, I’m able to do some exercise and spend time with my family, which puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.
In high school I was up at 5am, at breakfast with my buddies around 5:30am, and we were on school campus by 6:30am. That lasted for years and I managed to pull it off.
As an adult, I worked a job that was an hour away and needed to be there by 7am, so kept a similar schedule.
Once I started my own company and could make my own schedule, I started waking up later between 9am – 10am.
At the same time I was also playing music and a fully immersed member of the local music scene, easily staying out until 3am.
Flip the whole script and this past year I have been waking up around 6:30.
If I can manage to get back to 5am, I know I’ll be able to fit a few more personal hours in the day outside of my work schedule.
The entrepreneurs lifestyle is often seen as someone doing anything they want, whenever they want.
While this is true to an extent, flying by the seat of your pants isn’t going to help you reach any goal. Instead you’ll be at the whims of whoever or whatever is in your face or on your mind at any given time.
In the same way I had a wake up time for high school, I also had my days broken down by class periods. This allowed me to know exactly what I was supposed to be doing throughout the day. There was also plenty of time scheduled to allow me to work on those things instead of quickly jumping through many things all day long.
Also this last year I tried to be diligent about adding everything to my calendar. Not just events that I need to remember, I was also including my day to day activities. Scheduling myself time to work on whatever my big 3 projects were for the day.
By adding things to my calendar immediately as they came up, I not only kept myself from double booking, I also had a great reference for what I needed to be doing at any give time, or where I was spending my time in the past.
This is still an ever changing work in progress, and I’m sure I’ll be writing more specifically about it in the future.
Over the holiday break is always the hardest time for me to stay consistent with my exercise. When I’m stuck in my day to day schedule, my body knows when it’s time to do it. When that schedule starts to shift around travelling, time off, and the delicious food and left overs, it becomes easy to fall off.
I believe that the two items above will help me stay on track throughout this year. Waking up earlier will give me the time necessary to get into the gym. Just like high school, I intend to roll out of bed and ‘get there’. What I do day to day will change just like school, but I’ll be in attendance and ready to get moving.
Without regular exercise my mind and spirit become pent up. I can tell that I need to get some physical movement in my life when everything start to make me anxious or aggravated. By bringing this into my mornings on a regular basis I will be allowing myself to release all of that before I even get my work day started. This should lead to more calmness when dealing with the real world.
I bet I know of one thing you are consistent with in your life…
Going to work.
You have to get those bills paid, so you have to get to work. You have a time to check in and check out, and in between are fully dedicating your mind and body to that work, even if you don’t like it.
We can somehow spend 8 hours a day or more working for someone else (even if you have your own business you are working for others), even if you don’t like what you do.
Why can we do that, but we cannot make time for ourselves outside of that to slowly work on something we love?
In my life, that other thing has always been music.
I can make time for family, time for work, and there’s a little bit of time left in there for me which often goes unused.
Something that helped me out this past year was setting a Happy Hour every time after work. One hour where I would slip into the studio and dedicate that entire time to music. If I stayed consistent, by the end of the week I had spent 5 hours on something and usually had a song almost finished.
Throughout the entire year from that process alone I managed to push out 34 tracks of music. Not all of them are finished or even going to be used for anything, but I was able to create. It took a year, but I created at minimum, 34 things. Had I not forced myself into that happy hour, I wouldn’t have done nearly as much.
I believe anyone can have a happy hour every day at some point and it doesn’t mean you have to drink.
One step, one punch, one round at a time
We just watched Creed for the first time and one of the messages Rocky continues pressing is “one step, one punch, one round at a time”.
There is a large list of changes I want to make in my personal and professional life, and no way to do them all at once. Even if I tried, I would fail. Instead I need to focus on one thing, one day at a time. If I can pull that off, I know by the end of the year I will have made huge strides.
Consistently waking up early, working through my daily routine one thing at a time, being the best version of myself will become easier every day.