Perfect Your Routine: These Five Habits Will Help Transform Your Lifestyle Into The One You Always Wanted
If you are content and couldn't be happier during the weekdays, stop reading this now. Keep doing exactly what you're doing and, if you would, skip directly to the comments section below and share with our passionate readers your daily routine, thought process, life hacks, etc. But if you believe your Monday through Friday grind could be less stressful and more fulfilling, please read on.
To give you a little background, I created this challenge because I like my job. I like my job and my weekdays are fine.
I want to love them, though.
When Monday morning arrives, I stick to a standard routine until that beautiful Friday evening of good drinks and irresponsible endeavors rolls around.
I wake up, take a Mexican shower, eat a banana with peanut butter, brush my teeth, commute to work while listening to NPR, clock in, have a few cups of coffee, type away on the keyboard, get real passionate about the occasional project, crack a few jokes, eat lunch with some friends, type a little more on the keyboard, maybe get a Diet Dr. Pepper from the vending machine, clock out, commute home while listening to great music on a college radio station, do a workout, make dinner, dose up on Netflix, read a book to relax, work on my freelance projects, read a little more, then fall asleep.
Not bad, right?
But my weekday grind could be a lot better, and since I've made some changes, it has become a lot better. These changes I've made are part of the five-day challenge, while other parts of the challenge are made from habits I've embraced in previous years but have since neglected.
This five-day challenge combines the absolute best habits of my past and present to create the potential for something truly extraordinary – an unlimited source of contentment, optimism and Generation-Y-like drive.
The Five-Day Challenge
Unlike other challenges that ask you to dedicate 30 to 90 days of your life to something your body may not respond well to, this challenge only requires five days.
Actually, if we're speaking in technical terms, it only requires about five hours. When the time to complete each practice is combined, it adds up to about one hour per day, which is why I think this is the easiest challenge that offers the greatest reward.
When you start this challenge on Monday, I'll be there with you. Whether you start this challenge this coming Monday, next Monday, or a Monday weeks from now, know that at least one person — me — will always be with you. I plan on extending this challenge beyond five days.
The reason I've made it only five days for everyone else is to relieve any pressure you may be feeling from the word “challenge” and put the ball in your court. If you feel amazing come Friday, keep working it!
If you feel better than you did, but think modifications are needed to make it work better for you, make those modifications. And if you feel the same or worse — which I guarantee you won't — scrap it!
This is a challenge for you — not for me, not for Elite Daily. Just for you. You know, just like I know, that we all deserve to feel better and live to our fullest potential.
After all, we're Elite.
1. Practice Yoga In The Morning
If you've never done yoga before, don't worry. The person I'm handing you off to is an amazing yogi who makes yoga fun and easy. Erin Motz, leader of the 30-Day Yoga Challenge, will help you clear your mind and never push you farther than you should go.
For the five-day challenge, do a 10 to 15 minute yoga routine after waking up.
Below are some interactive yoga routines from Erin Motz's 30-day challenge, which I recommend doing. If you have other routines that relax you, by all means do those instead! Also, feel free to start on Day One of her 30-day challenge.
Monday: Yoga Workout for Posture
Tuesday: Yoga Workout for Abs
Wednesday: Yoga for Wrists and Hands
Thursday: Sun Salutation Yoga Flow
Friday: Full Body Yoga
Tips: Don't try to match Erin's style if it feels uncomfortable. Do what feels right for you. The point of this is to put your mind at ease before you start your day, not necessarily improve your general yoga practice (although that is a plus). Also, I recommend eating breakfast afterwards and not before.
Breathe easy, forget about everything, and only focus on Erin's voice and your body's precious muscles.
2. Write For Ten Minutes Before Work
Writing is a very therapeutic and useful act, and I'm not just saying this because I'm a writer. I'm saying this because it helps me and millions of others motivate themselves and reach their goals.
For the five-day challenge, write before you leave for work (or school).
Writing for just 10 minutes in the morning will help you clear your mind of useless thoughts and set goals for the new day. This time isn't for “diary” writing — that comes in the evening. This time is for you to do one of the following:
-Read a motivational article, enlightening article, or poem, and copy down the parts that inspire you.
-Set a daily goal you can realistically achieve and take notes on how it will bring you closer to achieving your long-term goals.
Tips: For motivational articles, check out Elite Daily's motivational section or Early to Rise; for enlightening articles, check out Elite Daily's wellness section or Zen Habits; and for poems, check out Poem Hunter's Top 500 poems.
3. Take A Midday Break
If you work from morning to evening without taking a break, you're hurting your physical health, quality of work and productivity. We're not machines — we're humans — and, therefore, need to take breaks from persistent work. Forgetting about work for a little during the day will reduce stress and make you more productive.
For the five-day challenge, take a midday break around noon.
When it comes to taking a midday break, don't be afraid to be a contrarian. In other words, if no one else in your workspace is doing it, take initiative and do it yourself. Here are some things you can do:
-Take a brisk walk outside.
-Kick around a soccer ball or throw a football outside with some co-workers.
-Eat lunch with your friends and talk about things unrelated to work, or eat lunch with someone new.
-Call your significant other, say you're thinking of him or her, build up excitement for the evening.
Tips: If you can incorporate some kind of physical activity into your midday break, you'll function a lot better in the afternoon. For instance, after eating lunch, do some stretching; or, when calling your significant other, walk around outside.
4. Exercise After Work
When you get home from work, you just want to relax. But we're going to switch things up here. By doing a quick, efficient exercise when you get home from work, your evening relaxation time will be all the better. You'll experience a more sublime, rejuvenating period of relaxation having known you put in a good day's work and contributed to your physical wellness.
For the five-day challenge, exercise to an interactive YouTube video 10 minutes after you get home from work (or school).
For the 10 minutes between arriving home and working out, check your email, read an Elite Daily article, or sit in your favorite chair and browse YouTube for a new workout.
Why an at-home workout and not the gym? Unless you're a professional body builder or a bodybuilding hobbyist, you don't need a gym.
There are plenty of free and convenient exercise routines available online that can kick your ass and show you a complete workout in 30 minutes or less. With at-home workouts, you also don't waste money or time like gym-goers do.
Don't get me wrong; the gym is a good resource, but not for this challenge. Instead of using the gym, try doing the free workouts at HASFit. Coach Kozak, the man who leads the workouts, is a kindhearted man who sincerely loves helping people get in shape. Below is a schedule I recommend for the five-day challenge, compliments of Coach Kozak.
-Monday: HASFit Body Weight Workout #1
-Tuesday: HASFit MMA Workout #1
-Wednesday: HASFit Six-Minute Ab Workout
-Thursday: HASFit Body Weight Workout #2
-Friday: HASFit MMA Workout #2
Tips: Like with Erin Motz's yoga routines, don't feel the need to match Coach Kozak's level of difficulty. He often provides easier alternatives to more complex moves. If you're not in great shape, do these alternatives, instead, without shame.
Your mission here is simple: get physical, open your body to new movements and complete an exercise routine from start to finish. If you're absolutely dreading doing the workout when you get home, do it anyways. You'll feel a great sense of accomplishment afterward and be rewarded with a rush of endorphins. And remember, this is only for five days.
5. Drink Tea And Write Before Bed
After you're done relaxing, watching your favorite TV show, reading a good book, working to start your own business, developing entrepreneurial ideas, — whatever it is you do in the evening — it's time to drink tea and write.
For the five-day challenge, drink non-caffeinated tea and write for 10 minutes before bed.
The combination of hot, non-caffeinated tea and the therapeutic act of writing is one of the greatest ways to clear your mind before bed. The tea warms your muscles, opens up your blood vessels and helps you think clearly. My favorite kinds of non-caffeinated tea are peppermint and chamomile.
As for what you should write about, here are a few ideas:
-Write down five things you're grateful for.
-Write a short letter to someone you appreciate. (Handwrite it and mail it the next day.)
-Write about a specific goal you achieved that day (how you did it, how it brings you closer to your BIG goal, why it's important to keep completing small, specific goals, etc.).
-Write with compassion about someone you feel anger, love, or frustration towards.
-Write a poem. (Just mimic the form — not the stereotypical sappiness!)
Tips: Grocery stores have a large selection of different tea, but, if you're looking for something different, try Teavana (the tea company recently bought by Starbucks.)
Teavana allows you to steep loose tealeaves in an extremely convenient and cool way. Also, if you're not a fan of writing, try using a moleskine notebook. When you have a notebook you love, it's easy to look forward to writing.
Do the above five tasks for five days straight, Monday through Friday, and, after you finish the challenge, tell everyone how you feel in the comment section below.
You can also use the comment section for the writing sessions in the morning and evening. Simply post a comment on Monday morning and “reply” to it for your following writing sessions. This will keep your string of thoughts neat and organized. Sometimes writing in front of an audience is more stimulating.
Thanks for listening everyone and have an amazing week! I have no doubts that it will be one of the most productive and rewarding weeks of your life.
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