A Habit of Highly Effective People

People-watching is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. As I was taking the bus this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the under-rested student population.

Scores of people yawning, drowsy, passed out and drooling. They’re a complete mess. People do not sleep enough. There, I said it. Someone had to. I feel like it’s something that most people don’t do, but, in my opinion, is so important.

The solution seems so simple to me.

Just sleep more.

People use every excuse in the book. “I don’t have time. I have school! I just can’t sleep!” For me, the solution to all these problems is sleep.

I Don’t Have Time

When I tell people I have a job, a blog, a YouTube channel, and I’m at school full-time, they’re always baffled.

“Where do you find the time? I don’t have the same time you do.”

I do not understand. It seems to me that people think that I somehow have acquired extra time. That’s not the case. I have the same 24 hours that you have.

I appear to have more time because I sleep well. Time seems to be the biggest excuse in everyone’s life. This seems to be the go-to-excuse for most peoples’ problems.

For me, sleep seems to solve the time ‘problem.’ Want to know the secret? I sleep early. Sometimes so early, I can be considered an old man. I sleep early and wake up early.

I (almost) always wake up before the sun. You cannot imagine the amount of things you can accomplish before the sun rises. Everything is quiet and I’m able to finish tasks without any external distractions.

I Have School

Guess what? I also have school. School takes up large portion of my day. Once again, effective sleep is the key. Wake up early! The majority of my daily routine is completed before 8AM.

I give myself an hour after 8AM to focus on school activities. My mornings are efficient because of my previous 8-9 hours of sleep.

Secondly, it allows for better quality work. With adequate sleep, I feel alert and my memory is sharp. Studying is surprisingly easy, when you’re alert and sharp.

I Can’t Sleep

I met this girl who said, “I just can’t sleep. I lay in bed and can’t seem to fall asleep.”

Don’t worry; (unqualified) doctor Leroy is here to diagnose the problem. We talked for a while about her night routine. What she does and when she does it. Here it is:

She is on her cellphone! This just doesn’t make sense. You can’t be on your cellphone AND sleep.

Electronics (i.e. cellphones) produce blue light. Blue light affects your pineal gland (brain) and reduces your ability to produce melatonin.

Melatonin: A chemical in your brain that tells you its time for beddy-bye-bye.

The blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Your brain says, “Hey, it’s daytime. You don’t need to sleep right now. STOP THE MELATONIN BOYS!”

Avoid all forms of blue light AT LEAST an hour before bed. My method is to read before bedtime.

Cut Out The Unnecessary

Cut out all the wasteful tasks in your day. Do you watch television for longer than you should? Do you putter your time away? Keep a log of everything you do for at least three days.

You will be amazed with the amount of time you waste on frivolous time-wasters.

The Most Effective Habit

Like it or not, sleep is incredibly important for literally everything occurring inside and outside your body. This habit is something most people often sacrifice. For me, sleep is one of the highest priorities.

Sleep combined with a strong daily routine allows for the maximum output of energy and efficiency.

 

 

Challenge: My bedtime is usually at 9:30PM-10PM. Sleep around that time and set an alarm for 6AM. Try this once. After getting your 8 hours, see how you feel in the morning. My bet is that you’ll feel how I feel, great.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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One Simple Fitness Principle

I definitely need to preface this by saying that I am not an expert in this field, nor have I received any formal education on this topic.

I am purely speaking from life experiences and a compendium of research, that I have personally sent through my bullshit filter. Keeping that in mind, please consult your doctor before engaging in any physical activity.

In the purest understanding, fitness is a very subjective topic. Everyone has his or her own opinions on what works and what do not. Fitness is a combination of ‘research’ and bro-science.

For this reason, fitness has become a convoluted topic, with varying opinions filled with incredibly adamant people affirming their knowledge.

My base understanding of fitness consists of one core principle: Be active everyday. By being active everyday, I mean, doing any sort of physical activity. I intentionally make it sound vague.

When I first started ‘working out,’ it consisted of playing unorganized sports with friends. I wasn’t naturally gifted in any sport, but I enjoyed the act of running around with a basketball or a soccer ball.

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Key Principle – Be Active Everyday

Find something you thoroughly enjoy doing and all of the other elements of fitness will fall into place naturally. To stay fit in the long run, you need to see fitness as children do – for fun.

When it starts becoming work, you slowly consume willpower and eventually fall off. You have a limited amount of willpower each day. As we get older, we use up willpower on chores, kids, wives (and husbands), making dinner and taking out the garbage. Often, fitness is the first thing on the chopping block.

When you do something you enjoy, you take willpower out of the equation. Your natural inclination will be to gradually increase your workout. You continue to do it because you want to and enjoy it.

When you’re active everyday, your body feels good about it. Your brain releases endorphins (more on that topic here) and it will become easier to continue. It slowly becomes a daily habit and your natural inclination for variety will drive you to do more stuff over time.

I don’t recommend any sort of workout plan or system for fitness. Why, because what works for me, may (or may not) necessarily work for you. Everyone is different.

No matter how charismatic that exercise guru on your DVD sounds, don’t believe that someone else’s fitness plan will work for you. What you need is a natural and easy way to evolve into a fitness routine that works for your brain and body.

Any fitness routine that depends on willpower, will inevitably fail. Or worse, another part of your life will get affected when you divert willpower to fitness.

Routine

Construct some sort of scheduled routine for daily exercise. Join an organized team; exercise at around the same time everyday, or workout with a partner, friend, or spouse.

This will be the core to constructing a habit. Taking rest days between exercise days breaks up the pattern that creates habits. It becomes too easy to say today is a one of your non-exercise days, and maybe tomorrow too.

No Pain, No Gain

I’ve tried the ‘pushing yourself till you can’t’ system a few times. It has always failed for me (but maybe you’re different). For me, the ‘no pain, no gain’ system takes too much willpower. If I suck up willpower at the gym, I can barely resist binge eating after.

Secondly, this system puts additional stress on my body. My body is sore and debilitated. The soreness is like a penalty for exercising. When I had a penalty every time, it gave me a reason to stop and it was usually along the lines of “I’m too sore to workout today.”

I Don’t Feel Like Working Out

So how do you muster up the energy on those days where you just want to sit on the couch with a bowl of chocolate almonds and sloth out? The system that I found works best is setting a time frame.

On those days, I usually tell myself that in X amount of time, I will get up and go be active. I will allow myself to sloth out a little bit, but as the deadline to activity slowly approaches, I feel my energy begin to rise.

Another method that I have tried is putting on my workout clothes and going to the gym. When I’ve arrived at the gym, I usually do some form of activity because it would be a large waste of time otherwise.

Regardless of how you personally view fitness, the central point is to be deliberately active every single day. Being active is one of the essential maxims for good health – diet, being another maxim. Be active for your spouse and kids. But more importantly, be active for yourself.

Be bold, be free, and love on.