What is the first thought that comes into your mind when you wake up?
Is it, ‘Fuck I’m hungry!’ Or, ‘OMG that report is due today and I still don’t have the figures from Jerry.. Fuck Jerry!’ Maybe your first thought is, ‘Why didn’t she message me back? Maybe she’s fucking another guy!’ Or it might just be, ‘Today is the day, I can’t do this anymore.’ Followed by a note, a balcony and a coroners report.
I truly hope that last thought is not crossing your mind, if it is, then you seriously need to turn your days around. What do all of these thoughts (and probably your own morning thoughts) have in common? They are all very different topics, so how are they related?
Take a second look at those thoughts, none of them look like wins. None of those thoughts come close to being a solution, they only state problems. It’s not entirely your fault, our brains are wired to identify problems, to associate stress & anxiety with those problems & to avoid those problems where possible.
In caveman days, that mindset was crucial for survival. If a mammoth turned on you during a hunt, it’s a good idea to avoid those tusks. If lions hid in the long grass, you better hope that your eyes are scanning for danger. Identifying problems was essential, nowadays identifying a problem is still important but finding a solution is essential!
The problems have changed, they no longer cause us acute stress(temporary stress, like burning your hand on a fire). Nowadays, we are more likely to face a much more insidious type of stress. Chronic stress, is a major cause of anxiety & depression.
Anxiety about our future, and depression about our failings in the past. It is important now, more than ever, to feel in control of your problems. You need to be accumulating wins from the moment you open your eyes. It is not going to be easy. You are going to struggle with the change, but in the longterm, you will reap the rewards of reduced anxiety & depression.
How do you start your day? From the moment your eyes open, do you feel a sensation of success? Or, are you pointing out all of the problems that may, or may not, come up throughout the day? Do you start by checking your phone? Does a sense of anxiety strike when you see all the notifications?
After checking all your (most likely pointless) notifications, do you suddenly realise how late you are running? The shower is probably to hot or too cold? Maybe, you ran out of toothpaste and your flatmate has drunk all the coffee? By now the traffic is fucked! You arrive late to work and your latte covers half your white blouse.
The day goes from problem to problem, you never feel in the right frame of mind to begin implementing solutions & by the time your head hits the pillow, you can’t fucking sleep! I know what will help, tinder (or porn)… more rejection, self loathing and peer based validation… exactly what you need!
Ok. How can this change?
Accumulate wins from the moment your eyes open. Fuck your notifications off, open your eyes to a routine of small wins laid out by you. I will tell you what my routine is, yours might be different or the same but the aim should be similar; Create a series of small accomplishments that leave you in a positive state of mind. A calm, composed human, ready to take on the day one solution at a time.
The Winning Routine - Core Wins.
This requires discipline. You are the one responsible. STOP finding excuses & hold yourself accountable!
I practice this routine every fucking day! If I fail, it is no ones fault but my own. I can tell you this right now, when I achieve my core wins the days problems evaporate like water during a Melbourne heat wave! Not only do I achieve my daily goals/tasks, I feel happy & positive, problems feel more like exciting developments & the judgment or criticism of others no longer plays on my anxiety.
My Core Wins - Daily Must Do’s
Wake Up at the time you designate - Say goodbye to that fucking snooze button!
Make my bed - Listen to mum!
Drink 3 glasses of water with just a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon - you just spent 8 hours drooling and sweating… you need water and salt is a great source of electrolytes.
Exercise - I swim, you might gym.. the point is to get a fucking sweat on & feel like a champ!
Cold AF shower - Heat makes you sleepy, cold wakes you up.. makes sense to me! Also, freezing cold is a great source of acute stress, exposure to acute stress will help you face the chronic stress you deal with each day.
Meditate & Practice Gratitude - Just breath some damn air and relax, then have a convo with yourself. What is there to be grateful for in your life? Here’s one - Your breathing! I also like to tell myself I love myself, cause .. well.. I do.
Leave a voice message with my loved ones - Remember what is important in life, what will really matter in those dying days? A work email that you forgot about or having meaningful interactions with the people you love?
Before I even start my daily tasks I rack up 7 fucking wins! Baby, my mind is hunting for solutions & I am ready to own the day ahead. I still haven’t checked my phone & I don’t even touch coffee until I have been up for a few hours. Breakfast comes next & then it is time to attack the day, always with the long term goals in mind.
End the Day on a High.
Regardless of what happens during the day, I end my days on a high! I recommend you do the same, don’t dwell on what has happened during the day, clock up a few more wins so you can sleep easy. Here’s what I do:
I go create! Photo’s, Videos & Learning.
I practice a new language - Just try and spend time learning something new.
I read a book or treat myself to a show that makes me smile.
If I can hit all these wins in one day, I feel great. Feeling great results in a much more productive day, stop being busy & start being purposeful… Get Shit Done! Hitting all of your core wins will leave you with a sense of self validation & achievement, every single day.
Now you need to action your own core wins! Be accountable, be disciplined & put in the work. Soon enough the rewards will be clear & your morning & evening routines will be more like pleasure and less like pain.
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Paulo & Jacques.