If we are connected on LinkedIn, you may have noticed my post about a new daily journal that I've been using. What you don’t know is that the journal is only one part of a new program that I developed and have been trying out since the beginning of the year.
Rolling into the first of the year, I wanted to focus on discipline and principles for 2018 rather than goals. Traditionally, I have kept a list of goals list but I noticed I was just writing down new goals to take up space on a page without feeling as connected to the goals I was setting. I became interested in discipline after reading a part from Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s book “Extreme Ownership,” where I came across the following quote:
“Discipline equals Freedom.”
Prior to encountering this quote, I thought the opposite. Planning, organization, and all things structured felt like a straightjacket. What I failed to realize, until reading this quote, was that the absence of discipline is chaos and it's very hard to feel free when you're always standing in the middle of a swirling storm that is modern life.
The focus on principles was derived from the idea that all you do in life, including goal setting, is downstream of your principles. The principles are the things behind the things. A red flag to me was my struggle to articulate them. I needed to invest time and energy to truly understand my principles.
Coupling discipline with an investigation of my principles lead me to making the following changes at the beginning of this year:
Set a bedtime (10-10:30pm) and a time to wake up (6-6:30am) resulting in a minimum of 7.5 hrs of sleep.
Buy a journal and make a daily entry.
Set out my clothes for the next day the night before, including gym clothes.
Prepare and eat simple foods for breakfast and lunch (oatmeal for breakfast, lentils or beans/rice for lunch).
Only drink alcohol when out at a function or when having guests.
Go to the gym 4 out of 5 days, focusing on running, swimming, biking and yoga.
Write a short To Do list for the next day the night before.
Get up before anyone else is awake.
Be kind to myself.
Do my chores in the morning.
To date, I would estimate that I'm operating at around 85% efficiency with respect to doing every one of these things on a daily basis.
The result, though, is nearly 100% increase in effectiveness, output, and daily satisfaction.
Maybe this is a slight exaggeration as I am generally a fairly high achieving, happy, driven guy but the hyperbole is intentional because the difference has been that profound. What struck me the most is that these were not big changes but a handful of small changes. I couldn’t believe that a collection of small changes could have such an enormous impact.
Prior to implementing these changes, I typically tried to get 8 hours of sleep, did go to the gym regularly, and naturally wake up fairly early. But as a result of these small changes, I have lost nearly 20 pounds, I am training for my first sprint triathlon, I have filled two journals with daily writings, and I feel on top of my obligations.
In short, not only does everything feel better, everything actually is better.
I am sharing this with you because I am curious if anyone else wants to give this a try for 30 days to see if they get similar results? Note, I saw results much quicker….in just over a week. Do you need some accountability? Shoot me a note and we can stay in touch.
Written by: Austin Meyermann, Founder and President of Hunter Crown, LLC
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