“No matter how mundane some action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act.”

“No matter how mundane some action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act.”

Haruki Murakami, Japanese bestselling writer

Image from Unsplash by Pille R. Priske

Taking a daily walk and meditating each morning are habits I’ve had for many years.

These activities begin most days stress free and mindfully aware.

When the rest of my day gets going and things heat up, I can sometimes lose my balance and my cool.

To regain my centeredness, I often find the mundane chores of cooking and cleaning help restore my well-being.

The act of chopping vegetables for a stir fry and simply tidying up does wonders to restore a bit more Zen in my days.

EXERCISE:

What are some of the mundane actions you take throughout your days to restore and renew yourself?

Feel free to reply to this post if your care to share what works well for you.

Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust

“Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.”

Sun Tzu, Ancient Chinese Military general & Philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Ricardo Cruz

What is your personal assessment of your health? Consider all aspects including your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual status.

What current habits and practices enhance your well-being and nourish your vitality?

Despite all of our best Blue Zone efforts, we all eventually decline and rust.

Our telomeres shorten and our cells don’t always replace themselves with the exact genetic codes of our youth.

I’ve heard that over the years about 70% of our health can be positively influenced by our actions.

Regardless of the exact number it is in our best interest to keep our life swords sharp and strong.

EXERCISE:

What factors in your world act like salt water, having a corrosive effect on your life?

How can you minimize or eliminate their toxic effects to optimize your chances of a long and healthy life?

Check out Blue Zones and investigate the work of the Human Longevity Institute for some approaches being used to galvanize our lives for the better.

If you can go to bed late, you can also get up early

“If you can go to bed late, you can also get up early.”

Niklas Göke’s grandmother

Image from Unsplash by mostafa mahmoud

Are you an early bird of a night owl? How would you describe your current circadian rhythm?

What are the personal and professional benefits and pitfalls of operating this way?

As an early bird myself, I find it easy to make my case of why the early bird gets the worm.

On the down side, I’ve been labeled a party-pooper by a number of folks over the years as they point out all the excitement I often miss by turning in early.

EXERCISE:

Seek out people in your life who operate best at different points in their days.

Have them share all the ups and down they have discovered over the years.

What priority commitment do you have that might benefit from swapping out when your head hits and rises from your pillow?

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Arek Adeoye

Taking a walk in the morning is one of my most enjoyable habits. Watching the sun rise, acknowledging my early bird neighbors, and getting a bunch of enthusiastic greeting from the dogs who take their owners for a stroll are some highlights.

Early last week I got an extra special hello from Rosie and Jacque, both Golden-doodles, as they jumped and nuzzled into my arms, awaiting their expected belly rubs. The experience felt like a gift from God.

EXERCISE:

Consider reading or re-reading Thoreau’s classic book, Walden to examine the many blessings he discovered through his two-year immersion into the natural world.

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

“So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”

Jorge Luis Borges, 20th Century Argentine essayist, poet and translator

Image from Unsplash by Markus Spike

Today’s quote reminds me of Stephen Covey’s habit of being proactive. These days, it has become increasingly easy to have things come our way with little effort. With the click of a few buttons on our phones we can order a meal, get a ride, and have virtually anything delivered in minutes or days.

The caveat here is that we still need to do a bit of searching and actively click a button or two for our flowers to arrive.

EXERCISE:

Where in your world are you waiting for things to happen with little or no effort on your part? Where would proactively planting your own garden and decorating your soul add more beauty and abundance to your life?

Awaken to each new day. Be mindful that it is a miracle

Awaken to each new day. Be mindful that it is a miracle.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Davide Cantelli

Many of us live our lives on auto pilot. We start our days by pushing the button of our programing, proceeding from task to task with little thought except to move to the next and the next.

Perhaps this is why we so enjoy the novelty of travel, in which each day brings new sights, sounds, and tastes for us to experience. Instead of having to leave our home and communities to see what’s new and different, maybe we can tune our senses to their miracle settings. Maybe we can delight in the wonders around us we often miss out of habit.

EXERCISE:

How can you be far more mindful of the miracles around you as you navigate your days? How would turning on and tuning in to your super senses help you embrace those special moments of living, without ever leaving home?

The pleasure of doing a thing in the same way at the same time every day

“The pleasure of doing a thing in the same way at the same time every day and savoring it should be noted.”

—Arnold Bennett, 20th Century English novelist

Image from Unsplash by Prophsee Journals

To what degree are you a creature of habit? What are the routines and rituals you repeat each day in the same way and time? How many of these behaviors support your health and well-being? How many would you describe as simple pleasures or bring you a sense of pride?

Consider when and why your first developed these habits.

How much discipline and intentionality did it take for you to become the person who acts in this manner?

EXERCISE:

After savoring this list, examine what new or different habits you’d like to incorporate into the melodies and harmonies of your days.

Feel free to reply to this post with what you discover.

Before you try to increase your willpower

“Before you try to increase your willpower, try decreasing the friction in your environment.”

James Clear, Writer, Entrepreneur and Behavior Science Expert

Image from Unsplash by Sandeep Singh

In any new coaching engagement, it is very helpful to examine the personal, social, and structural supports that are already in place.

Better outcomes are unlikely without a significant degree of motivation, ability, and willpower.

Having the social support of friends, family, and colleagues provides both encouragement and accountability.

Structural support is often trickier in that environmental cues already in place often trigger old, entrenched habits that do not serve new behaviors and better results.

EXERCISE:

Explore James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits for more ideas on this subject, and his 1-2-3 Newsletter to get you thinking differently to create better results in many areas of life.

I also recommend the book Influencer — The Power to Change Anything for other strategies to decrease the friction in our environments.

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”

—Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State

Go back in time and take a look at your report cards from your days at school. How were your grades, what were your favorite subjects? Where did you intentionally pursue and achieve levels of excellence?

How have things been going for you in your personal and professional worlds since those days?  What would your report card look like today, given the many roles you play in your various communities?

In what areas and in what ways have you developed the habit of pursuing excellence in matters both big and small?

EXERCISE:

What are a few areas of your life in which an adjustment of both attitude and effort would make the biggest difference and help you achieve big things?

“All habits serve you in some way — even the bad ones — which is why you repeat them.”

“All habits serve you in some way — even the bad ones — which is why you repeat them.”

—James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a big success, with about 30,000 Amazon 4 or 5 star ratings.  The book explores tiny changes we can make that can lead to remarkable results.

Being mindful and aware of our habits — both good and bad — is a key place to begin. Until we see that there is an obvious — or sometimes obscure — payoff or benefit that serves us in some way, we are destined to repeat them.

EXERCISE:

Please purchase Clear’s book, or check out its wisdom by exploring some of the excellent YouTube videos or book summaries available.

Also check out Clear’s 3-2-1 Thursday newsletter in which he shares three ideas, two quotes, and one question to ponder.

His motto for the newsletter is “Working to deliver the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”