You can do it!

Toddlers don’t give up on walking no matter how many times they fall. Would it make sense for them to say: I can’t do it? Not at all. They just can’t do it YET. They don’t give up, regardless of all the failures. There’s a lot that we can learn from children, especially resilience.

Before the world influenced our thought patterns and self-doubt, we were creatures of adventure, experimentation and playfulness. We kept messing up until we got things right. We weren’t afraid of what people thought. We only realized how disgusting sand tasted after we gobbled down a handful.

I want to talk a little about how we can learn to overcome failure. About how that influences the way we tackle problems and chase our ambitions. About the way we thrive in discomfort. And how a little change in mindset alongside some consistency, will help us flourish.

I’ve spoken about the concept of growth mindset in my previous blog post; The Journey IV. I thought it would be important to bring it up again because of how we’re constantly faced with difficult tasks and exhaustive schedules.

Challenge accepted

How often have you faced a challenge and thought: “This isn’t for me, I can’t do it”. Well that’s okay, you can’t always overcome obstacles when you encounter them immediately. Don’t ever give up on yourself though and say that you can’t do it. You just have to keep trying until you get it right.

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

Henry Ford

That it one of my favourite quotes. When you realize that there’s always going to be challenges, your approach to them can start to change. You don’t always have to resist and try to run away. You can develop the ability to embrace challenges and learn to accept them.

Life can oftentimes feel quite paradoxical. In the book “The Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts, he mentions a concept called the ‘Backwards law’. It talks about how we always end up getting what we’re running away from. And what we chase just gets further away from us.

“What you resist, will persist.”

This obviously doesn’t speak about pursuing goals and passions, but rather attaching yourself desperately onto certain emotions. Chasing what feels good as ‘pleasure’. Avoiding what feels bad as ‘pain’. We don’t realize that we can’t enjoy one without the other. The Yin and Yang of life. We should try be more accepting of the fact that life is meant to be challenging, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it.

Seek Discomfort

The only way to grow? Out of your comfort zone. What does that imply? Seeking frightening and uncomfortable experiences!

This isn’t masochistic per say. It means training your mind to embrace discomfort. Re-wiring your neurons to effectively deal with all the struggle. That’s why cold showers and waking up early in the morning are such holistic habits. They help your brain adapt to the inevitable sufferings of life.

I’m just trying to help you understand the concept of acceptance. When you’re truly able to accept your feelings, they no longer hold you down. Which is why it’s so important to learn to accept pain. It’s an inevitable aspect of life.

Look at all the major events that have shaped who you are today. You were most likely ‘going through the most’ or have had to struggle intensely. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and scared. It’s okay to fail and make mistakes. Just accept that and learn from it. Seek to be better each and every day.

Mindset

The previous sections essentially fosters a growth mindset. When you start seeing setbacks as opportunities to learn, the world becomes your school. You need to watch the self-talk and the negative thought patterns. You need to tell yourself ‘not yet’ for the skills you don’t have or the goals you haven’t achieved.

The pathway to success is filled with failure. Sometimes major, sometimes minor, oftentimes both. But that’s the quickest way to grow. To just keep trying and to avoid repeating the mistakes that have held you down.

How many times does life have to teach you the same lesson before you actually learn?

The more time you spend gaining experience, the better you get at tackling the problem. That brings me to another crucial concept; consistency.

Consistency

I bring this up again and again and again. Because it truly is the most important skill-set to obtain. You need to be consistent to grow in any aspect of your life.

Whether it’s love, friendship, work, academics or business, the key lies in being consistent. You don’t even have to take it from me, look around you at everyone who you consider ‘successful’. They had to show up and do the work repeatedly, not only when they felt like it.

What differentiates the ordinary from extraordinary isn’t just talent. It’s the hard work, dedication, seizing of opportunities and deliberate practice. That means always trying. No matter how many times you screw up, no matter how many times you fall, no matter how many times you get hurt; don’t stop.

You can do it. You are capable. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are worthy. You will achieve greatness. You will make an impact. You will get through this; faster, stronger and better than ever. YOU CAN DO IT. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially not your own voice.

DON’T EVER GIVE UP!

“He who sweats more in training, bleeds less at war.”

Spartans

The 5 AM Club

The way you start your day, powerfully shapes how productively you’ll live it.

This post will be very closely linked to The Journey II. I’ll speak about the importance of waking up early and how a powerful morning routine can help you make everyday, legendary! As previously mentioned, this will discuss a lot of The 5 AM Club (5AC) by Robin Sharma, so it’ll be similar to a book review.

Essentially I’ll discuss the values I’ve found most useful and how it has truly helped me amplify my days. Through asking questions about why we should wake up early, then answering them by discussing the benefits, I’ll hopefully convince you to wake up earlier. Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a ‘morning person’, you are what you do repeatedly.

Before I dive into the routine on how we can make the most of our day, I’ll talk about some of the wisdom I’ve learnt from the story in the 5AC.

Give more, take less. There’s just something profound about being generous or charitable, whereby the more you give the more you get. I’ve genuinely become a firm believer of that (a key pillar of Islam is to be charitable), and it’s emphasized quite a lot here. From my own experience, giving to those who are less fortunate or just being generous to those around you, instills gratitude.

When you’re grateful and content, you’re no longer chasing accumulation or greed. This is something I’m extremely thankful to my parents for, they’re genuinely the kindest people in my life. I know gratitude is repeated a lot in my posts, but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most important values to me.

Another piece of wisdom is being relentless in your dedication. The moment you feel like giving up and calling it quits, is the moment you should try your best to stay put and push forward. This teaches something called grit; that the ability to persevere and work hard outweighs talent. [Grit by Angela Duckworth is an incredible read for those interested in resilience and passion]

“The soreness of growth is so much less expensive, than the devastating costs of regret.”

The final point, is to just acknowledge that there’s more than just mindset to focus on. There are 4 interior empires to balance for success and fulfillment, which sort of relates to The Journey V. They are:

  • Mindset
  • Heartset
  • Healthset
  • Soulset

I won’t go into too much detail since I’ve already discussed it previously, but keep in mind that, starting your day by working on each of those components is key to having a legendary day, everyday.

Mindset would revolve around your self-talk and pyschology. Heartset is having the ability to be forgiving and compassionate to the world around you, as well as dealing with the traumas and heartbreaks of your past.

Healthset is ensuring you exercise sufficiently and stay in optimum health. Finally, soulset is about your ability to cultivate your character. Your authenticity, bravery and courage, what you stand for. So these are the four interior empires that we need to focus on each and everyday for longevity and fulfillment.

Let’s start with why? Why should we wake up at 5 am everyday?

1- Okay I’ll first start with something simple; it enhances the state of ‘flow‘. This can be considered the peak mental state where our perceptions become heightened, our originality increases and we’re able to access new levels of processing power. For me, this state is most easily accessed when I play soccer for example. It’s when you enjoy doing something so much (albeit challenging), that you forget about everything else, lose track of time and find an optimal way to focus.

2- Another simple reason would be to obtain a Gargantuan Competitive Advantage (GCA). Just think about all that you can achieve if you’re up before everyone else. I’ve been feeling like I’ve lived multiple days in one since waking up at 5 am. How does this give me a GCA? Well because I have time to focus on finding clarity within myself, before rushing and diving into the chaos & compulsion of daily life. Waking up at such an early point of the day, allows you to sit in stillness with yourself, plan for the day, focus on your core values and overall prepare before everyone else.

3- In case you still need another reason, it develops your willpower. We need to truly understand that willpower can be developed, like a skill, through relentless practice. Which is why I believe there’s no such thing as a morning person. The more you fight the urge to stay in bed, and get up at 5, the more you stretch the willpower muscle. This in turn, makes it easier for you to increase your self-control, and once the habit is formed, it becomes second nature. (Remember how I keep talking about cold showers? This is another reason why.)

“Consistency is the DNA of all mastery.”

General theory of self-discipline: To regularly do what is hard but important, when it feels most uncomfortable, is how warriors are born.

These are just some of the reasons why I think it’s absolutely critical to wake up at 5 am, let’s dive into how we can actually structure the morning to make the most of those early hours.

The 20/20/20 formula

  • Move (Intense exercise)
  • Reflect (Pray/journal/meditate)
  • Grow (Read/listen to audio-books)

This technique is essentially the way to kick-start your day, by structuring the glory hour (first hour of your day) into 3 x 20 minute slots. For the first 20 minute slot, build up a sweat. Exercising releases brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF), which is a protein responsible for growing neural connections. It essentially helps build the brain circuits, which allow hormones such as dopamine and serotonin to travel. Basically, the more BDNF in the brain, the better.

The hormone cortisol (which is responsible for stress), is also highest after you wake up. Therefore, starting your day off with exercise not only helps strengthen your neural connections, but also aids in releasing endorphins and other feel-good chemicals which help reduce cortisol.

The second slot should be used to reflect. Reflection in the sense of identifying your values, your core characteristics & your WHY. It’s also a great time to be thankful and to pray, as this develops contentment and happiness throughout the day. Meditating can also be done, focusing on the present moment and clearing your thoughts out early off in the morning.

Another thing to do would be to plan the day and visualize how you’d like the day to go. Journalling as I love to recommend, is perfect for this slot too, and you can check out the post I’ve already written on how to journal.

There a lot of things we can do during this period of reflection and I often spend more than 20 minutes on it. The point is to take this formula and maneuver around it, however you seem fit. It also doesn’t have to specifically start at 5 am, start slow at the hour you usually wake up and then work your way down.

Slow consistent steps, yield staggering results.

The final slot of the glory hour should be used to grow. The point here is to learn and gain knowledge. This time can be spent reading a book, listening to podcasts / motivational audios, or even reviewing your goals. This adds another aspect to the GCA, considering you’ll be progressing in some form each and everyday.

It’s also imperative to stay away from your phone during the first hour of your day, to avoid unnecessary distraction and stress. The next point will be discussing how to actually implement this habit.

The benefits of the glory hour are as follows can be seen the info-graphic below.

The habit installation protocol

The diagram below illustrates how the automaticity point of habits are formed. The first 22 days is called the destruction phase. This is essentially the phase in which an old habit must be destroyed to allow space for the new habit.

Remember: habits can’t be erased they can only be replaced.

The second 22 days is called the installation (or confusion) stage, this is where the habit is starting to settle in. This phase is also quite confusing because it’s still difficult to keep up with the habit and the urge to quite becomes stronger than ever. It’s critical to push past the mental challenge and keep going forward, as this builds on grit.

The final stage is called the integration phase. This is when things slowly start to make sense and the routine approaches automaticity. After 66 days (of continuous discomfort and resilience), the habit would’ve become second nature and comfortable.

It’s highly recommended, to keep at any habit you truly wish to incorporate into your life, for at least 66 days before calling it quits. This at least gives you the opportunity to truly see whether you’re capable of the change or not.

“All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

“First you create your habits, then your habits create you.”

Once a habit is established, what next? Start with the next habit and keep growing! I’ll move onto the Islamic perspective for this habit.

Islamic Perspective

Once again, there’s always an Islamic benefit to the habits I try to install. Waking up at predawn to pray Tahajjud before Fajr (the compulsory morning prayer), is an absolute game changer. Starting your day off with remembering God and being thankful, allows for you to experience a fulfilling and gratifying day.

It has been stated in many aHadith, that the rewards of praying at the earliest hours of the morning (or final third of the night) is especially significant. Specifically because you need to be in a state of Wudhoo (ablution), therefore it requires you to cleanse yourself. You would also need to pick yourself out of bed at a very difficult time, which is very rewarding. This results in piety and God-consciousness (Taqwa), which also leads to more discipline.

“Be vigilant in standing up [in prayer] at night, for it was the practice of the pious before you. It is a means of gaining proximity to Allah Ta’ala, expiation for transgressions and a barrier from sins.” (Tirmidhi)

I’ve hopefully managed to convince you after this lengthy discussion & the previous post, to take your sleeping and waking patterns more seriously. Some of the key takings from this post are: To give more and take less. Remember that joining the 5AC gives you a GCA, allows you to enter the state of flow more readily and teaches you grit.

The four interior empires need to be worked on each and everyday; your mindset, heartset, healthset & soulset. The 20/20/20 formula includes moving, reflecting and growing. That the habit installation protocol requires at least 66 days before automaticity. And finally, to understand that there’s an islamic benefit for waking up early to pray and remembering God, which has incredible rewards.

I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from the book:

Own your morning, Elevate your life!

Loneliness

I’d like to speak about a topic that everyone has inevitably experienced at some point. Loneliness. Now, the premise of this post will be more than just being comfortable in your own company, but rather that empty chest feeling that creeps up on you without you ever realizing it. No one goes through life unscathed, that’s why I believe it’s important to speak about things that may be uncomfortable or even daunting. Because if we’re all going through similar experiences, why not help each other deal with it?

Enjoying some quality alone time by yourself is without a doubt an extremely healthy habit. When we give ourselves a safe space to ponder and let thoughts flow, it provides with insightful reflection and wisdom in return. An example of this would be, going on a walk somewhere in nature and enjoying your own presence within the present. Some of the greatest minds of our time such as Beethoven, Darwin, Dickens & even Steve Jobs have taken daily strolls to enhance their creativity and let ideas flow. (This doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy quality time alone, it’s just an example of how you could) However, even if we have a healthy relationship with ourselves, it’s too often we find a hollowing pain within, yearning for connection.

I generally refer to a term called the empty chest feeling (ECF). A little bit of loneliness that creeps up on you out of nowhere, regardless of how well everything seems to be going. Sometimes it could be out of boredom, our minds’ way of dealing with the fact that we’re all going to die some day. Just think about how much we do to distract ourselves, from the very idea of death. There’s a reason I love the quote “Memento Mori” so much, it translates to “The art of dying”. Ironically, what we’re willing to die for, is ultimately what we should strive to live for.

The ECF is part of our nature I believe, from an evolutionary perspective. To drive social interaction and bonding, as it was more effective for us to work together & build pacts. From hunting and protecting, to building and expanding. The instinctive feeling to connect, drove us to stick together and do better. But at this point in time, when we’re the most connected to everyone around us, why do we find ourselves still struggling with meaningful connection? I think it’s to do with the very nature of being connected with yourself. Remember that no one else can completely fill in the void within you, unless you learn to fill it up yourself.

So what can we do when that empty chest feeling appears, even when we’re comfortable being alone?

Accept it, write it down & let it go! That may sound way too simple, but honestly if you’ve read my post about journalling , you’ll realize how important I think writing down is. But what’s vital here is the first aspect, acceptance. When we consciously accept how we feel, we’ve automatically allowed ourselves to deal with it. Always remember that as humans, we’re not meant to be feeling ecstatic and over the moon at all times. Things do fall apart, we mess up and sometimes life sucks. But that’s okay! If you didn’t have to struggle or experience crappy emotions, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy and appreciate life either. So when a bit of loneliness creeps up, tell yourself: “I love you and I’m listening”. I know there’ll be mixed reactions around this, but it’s something that personally works for me and I can honestly tell you that it makes you feel some type of way.

Having purpose and serving others, is another way of healthily using that feeling to your advantage. When you find something that drives you, something that gives you a reason to wake up everyday, something that has a positive impact on your community, you start feeling a sense of purpose. Start measuring your own success based on the effort you put in & based on the impact you’ve had on others, instead of results or material success.

This post included a lot of what I’ve written about previously, but these are important and relevant points that should always be reiterated. Forming a healthy relationship with yourself sometimes just won’t cut it, which is why we need to look at our species more holistically and be driven by our contributions to society. So taking that together with healthy strolls, learning to accept your own emotions and being there for yourself, would therefore be a better game plan. I’ll leave with a quote as usual:

“You find yourself, when you lose yourself in the service of others.”

-Ghandi

How to journal

So a frequently asked question that I usually get is: “How exactly do you journal?”. There isn’t a very complicated answer, but I’d like to emphasize the importance of writing your thoughts & goals down, and how it can help with every aspect of your life. Some of you may already have a method that works for you, but I’ll discuss the technique that I’ve found most efficient for me and how you can integrate it.

One of the things that I mention quite often, is organizing your thoughts and de-cluttering your mind. This is something that I think journalling helps the most with. Instead of juggling with several different thoughts and reminders in your mind, having a safe space to let them out and analyze them can do wonders for you. Not only do you become more productive and goal-oriented, but you also notice what’s holding you back and things that aren’t generally supporting your well-being. These are some of the useful times to write your thoughts down:

  • When you have a busy schedule & need to prioritize tasks
  • When you’re trying to learn something new
  • Planning projects or events
  • When you’re feeling overwhelmed or going through a difficult period

The points aforementioned are but a handful of the times journalling could be useful. It’s important to also write down when things are going well or when you’ve achieved certain goals, since these will serve as self-motivation. Journalling overall can serve as an incredible tool for personal growth and insight, especially when you read back on entries after a few weeks or months. You have a chance to gain from your experiences and learn from your mistakes even more deeply, since you have a much clearer image of it. A time capsule of your own life.

As mentioned in The Journey II, I find writing down most effective in the morning before I start my day. This gives me clarity for the day ahead and helps me achieve the goals of the day. This also works well at night before you go to bed, so it really depends on what works for you. I do have different journals for different reasons, but this will focus more on a general “mind dump” journal. The 4 main writing points are as follows:

  1. Empty out your mind
  2. Summarize your previous day
  3. Write down your objectives for the day
  4. Talk about what you’re grateful for

These 4 points integrate with the previous bullet points as well, whereby you could empty your mind out by writing down any specific thoughts you have. Don’t feel shy with this, let it all out as you deem fit, so that you’re not keeping yourself occupied with unnecessary thinking. The second thing I enjoy writing about is my experiences, this would generally be a summary of the things I did, the people I’ve met and how I’ve felt about it. It’s like adding a diary aspect, where you could read back on those moments and maybe feel nostalgic. Putting your objectives for the day into perspective is also vital, since this would give you a better understanding of how to manage your time and get as much done. Finally, I can’t emphasize the importance of starting your day with gratitude and positivity. It’s honestly one of the best things you can do for your soul, since it allows you to appreciate what you have more and enables you to deal better with tragedies and losses.

Some of these may sound repetitive and obvious, but it’s truly been life changing for me which is why I advise it so much. As with every other habit for success, consistency is key. Doing this on a regular basis and reflecting on the entries would make it even more valuable, since you’ll be able to identify thought & behavioural patterns. Remember that you’re writing for yourself, so it doesn’t have to be an essay or anything strenuous, just enjoy the quality time you deserve with yourself.

The Journey IV

Growth Mindset 

Today’s topic shall be about mindset, particularly what it means to have a growth mindset and how to think about stress. I’ve been asked about how I deal with stress & anxiety, considering how strenuous the degree I’m undertaking is. (I’m studying chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town). So I’ll also discuss certain techniques that could be useful when feeling overwhelmed by life’s adventures. 

Let’s first differentiate between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset assumes that our intelligence, abilities & characteristics are static givens. Meaning they’re biologically fixed and that our innate skills can’t be changed. Contrary to that, a growth mindset emphasizes the ways in which we can constantly change and adapt when faced with challenges, and has a completely different outlook on success and failure. The diagram below clearly illustrates the 2 different mindsets.

A mental technique that I’ve learned this year is  “Not yet”. Whenever you encounter a new challenge or something that you’re currently unable to do, tell yourself not yet. It’s the best way to keep optimistic whilst embracing the challenge. When you can convince yourself that no matter what it is you’re trying to achieve, you’re just not there yet, the hope stays alive and the dream lives on. I’ve tried this several times and it’s been extremely powerful, especially when pushing for things that seem impossible. Basically don’t ever tell yourself that you can’t. Just not yet :). 

Adding on to the topic of growth mindset, complimenting people for their effort and dedication instead of the results or outcomes.  Part of having a growth mindset includes realizing that it’s about the journey not the destination. That is especially true when it comes to academics. Parents & teachers need to realize that the effort and dedication students put in, matters just as much or even more than the results produced. The skill of pushing yourself and working hard is something to be admired and can help you in every aspect of your life. 

Stress and anxiety often occur as a result of uncontrolled thought patterns. Essentially overthinking. From my own experience of dealing with intense project weeks and exams, I’ve learnt a few tricks that helped me get through them. The most important in my opinion, is staying present. When you have a deeper understanding of the Now, you’ll learn to accept that overthinking is just thinking about things that don’t really exist. When you have a certain amount of time to get something done, give it your best within the present moment. There’s no use worrying about how little time you have left or how much work there is to do. All you have is right now, so use that to your advantage. Cultivate a belief system and program your mind to make the most of the time you currently have. When you can filter your energy and time into that, instead of overthinking, you’ll be able to achieve all that you need. There’s also no use in stressing over things out of your control, so whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, always start with recognition. Once you learn to acknowledge the feeling, accept it, write it down and let it go. Clear your thoughts and get back on the grind. Watch a motivational video or do something that’ll help distract you in a positive way, such as exercising or reading. 

Another trick I learnt, was changing my mindset towards stress. I like to think of stress as my body’s way of getting me ready to take action, gearing up. Whenever you realize you’re stressed, think of it as a reminder to get things done. When you form a healthier relationship with stress, it definitely helps you deal with it better. 

I’ve discussed the difference between a growth and fixed mindset, where the former allows you to constantly seek challenges to grow & the latter makes you feel threatened by obstacles and difficulties. How we should change the way we compliment people and focus more on the effort, rather than the results. How stress can be your friend and just a simple change in perspective can go a long way in dealing with the infamous feeling. I’ll end off with another brilliant quote that I love:

“We suffer not from the events that occur to us, but rather our perception of them.” 

The Journey III

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

The most recent book I’ve just read is called Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, thanks to a very special friend of mine. As part of my own learning, I decided to write a little about this topic so that the concepts can stay ingrained within me. Part of this post will cover the meaning of EQ, and how it can help us in our daily commutes. As well as other forms of beneficial concepts to aid us with understanding ourselves better & how to deal with other people. 

What is Emotional intelligence?

Let’s start with a definition. From the research I’ve conducted, it’s the ability identify & acknowledge one’s own feelings (& emotions) as well as that of others.  So this links back to what I talked about in The Journey I, being a better interpreter of your own emotions & learning how to accept them. What I loved so much about emotional intelligence is that it teaches you how to connect with people. Unlike the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), EQ emphasizes on more than just your own measure of intellignce; but rather how intelligent you are with dealing with yourself & others. In developing EQ, a key factor to consider is empathy. 

What is the difference between empathy & sympathy?

Empathy: Is the ability to understand someone else from their point of reference (putting yourself in their shoes).

Sympathy: Is the understanding of what another person is feeling.

The short video I have posted here is a perfect way to understand these different terms. Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection. 

One of the most important traits you can have as part of your character is being empathetic. Understanding how to make yourself vulnerable in order to connect with other people & feel what they feel. When dealing with conflict or confrontations, the best & easiest approach for me would usually be: How do I want to be told this? This question shows how important it is to understand yourself, in order to understand others. When you know what works best for you in difficult situations, you’ll be prepared to figure out what works best for others too. Being emotionally intelligent allows you to make the best possible compromise when juggling with difficult emotions. 

How much should you compromise for a relationship?

Discovering yourself is just as important when it comes to forming healthy relationships. The answer to that is a bit more complicated but there are a few tips that I’ve gained from a great monk that I’ve watched, Jay Shetty. “The problem is that we have a list for the person we want to be with, but we don’t have a list for who we need to become.” Before rushing into relationships you need to dig down and find out what you really want from a relationship. When you have that self-awareness, you’d know what you’re willing to change and what you’re not, in order to be with someone else.

Another point that I believe is crucial for this point is self-love. If you think of the love you have as a bar, like a health bar in video games, our instinctive behaviour would be to try and fill that up. If for example, you’ve only managed to fill that bar up halfway by yourself, you’d often seek the rest of the fulfillment from other people or relationships. When they aren’t able to complete it for you, that’s when a sort of lacking starts to appear and you feel like there’s something wrong or missing. If  however, you’re able to fill up that bar completely by yourself, then everyone else in your life would just be adding to an already filled up bar. Allowing for an overflow of love and compassion.

To tie the laces,  I’ve mentioned how important empathy is for genuine human connection, as well as differentiating it against sympathy. Why we need to be self-aware before jumping into relationships, & how important self-love is for that same task. I’ll leave with a lovely quote that I’ve found to be very true:

”The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of your relationships.”

The Journey II

After receiving such lovely feedback from the previous post, I thought I’d keep this consistent with new insights. In today’s post, I’d like to speak about something almost every successful person you know has, a solid morning routine. Emphasizing on the ways to kick-start your day and keep your productivity boosting.

Morning Routine

Ever since I was in primary school, I remember my dad constantly nagging me to wake up early in order to prepare for the day. It was something that just made no sense to me at the time, with me rebelling by staying in bed for longer and getting annoyed. As I transitioned through high-school, that mentality stayed with me & I was still grumpy and dreaded getting out of bed any earlier than I really needed to. Things started to change as I phased into university life, when I started staying on my own.

I learnt that waking up early enough to make the 8 am lectures wasn’t all that fun. I needed to wake up early enough to make something to eat, fetch the other people in the lift club, and STILL try to find parking on campus. Which as we all know can be an Olympic sport on its own. There was a lot to be done at the earliest hours of the day & I couldn’t slack around if I wanted to keep things in order. 

After I tried approaching my mornings with more positivity, the outcome of my days completely changed. I was so much more productive & energetic when I looked forward to waking up early. The key to having a successful day I realized, was having enough time to comfortably structure & start the day.  Starting your morning earlier, means you’re creating more time during your day, to make the most of the 86400 seconds you have. (This entails getting the healthy amount of 7-8 hours of sleep)

Herein are a few of the habits I’ve implemented into my morning routine:

Morning pages: A technique in which you journal at the start of your morning to clear your mind of any lingering or cloudy thoughts from dreams or the previous day. It doesn’t have to speak about anything specific, it’s used to express yourself & allow your thoughts to have an outlet. 

Praying (Gratitude) : This is just something that personally grounds me & allows me to keep going. Think of all that you are grateful for and start your day with thankfulness, it’ll only make you appreciate life more holistically. A personal motto of mine is : “The more you give, the more you get”,  all I can say is that it hasn’t failed me. 

Meditating: Definitely don’t need to speak about how beneficial this has been. Clear your mind and connect with yourself for a few minutes. Treat every moment like it could be your last. 

Showering: This may be obvious to some of you, but also something many people tend to underestimate. Starting your day off with showering goes a long way more than just cleansing your body. It’s a way to cleanse your mind by allowing the free flow of ideas & letting go of any residual thoughts.

Eating: DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST! I know damn well you’ve all heard this a million times before, yet still try to carry out a full day without breakfast. It’s extremely vital to eat a wholesome meal & to stay hydrated before setting out on adventuring. It sustains your energy levels & keeps the blood sugar level consistent. It also allows for your mind to stay well-nourished. 

To-do lists: This to me is one of the most structuring aspects of the morning routine. Setting out your objectives for the day. When you have a to-do list, you make yourself feel a little more responsible for the task at hand, because you have physical proof of it. Start off with simple things, such as making your bed, and tick that off at the very start of your day. It allows you to feel motivated considering you’ve already achieved a task for the day, and it’ll keep you boosting to want to tick off the rest.

There are a lot of other helpful tricks that can help you achieve stupendous results on a daily basis. I’ve discussed some of the techniques I’ve found useful to me; writing, praying, meditating, showering, eating & setting up a to-do list. The aim is to figure out what combination works best for you, and keep consistent with it. After a week of this, you’ll feel the difference and get addicted to early mornings! 

Choose the latter, live as though everything is a miracle. Wake up with a smile on your face and feel grateful for having another beautiful day,then tell yourself you’re going to have a spectacular day. It won’t let you down ;).