January really slipped through my fingers, I can’t believe that it has ended that fast. This month has been about clarity for me, clarity in what my goals are for this year, clarity in how I spend my time and decluttering my mind for clarity, peace and focus. Each week this month, I have been focusing on one thing that will help me get better, build up my foundation and set me up for success in multiple areas of my life. I have realised that when I don’t do my faith deveotionals, eat, train and stretch, read and do my gratitude hour, I feel that I have lack of energy and something is missing from my day. Here are five daily habits that I have done for years that have helped make a difference to my days.
I was born into a christian family and always attended church growing up. However, I never felt that I had a personalised relationship with God until I was 21 years old. I wanted to take a break from going to church to figure out if this was for me, if I wanted to have a relationship with God and why I wanted to have. I took that break once I got to college before deciding that it was something that I valued. Starting my mornings with my Bible devotionals, prayer and worship is an important part of my day. It’s a time that I get to pray for my day, lay out my worries and listen to God. In 2020, I turned more to my faith as I was scared and the fear of the unknown really took over me. This is my number one habit that helps me plant my feet. Knowing that I have started my day in worship and feeding my soul with love gives me the strength to take the upcoming day with hope.
Training and stretching
As a powerlifter and a lover of any kind of movement, doing a form of exercise is a habit that I have been doing consistently for years. There is something special about training that makes me feel alive. When I don’t exercise for a long period of time, I don’t feel like myself because it is an integral part of my day. Not only is movement a gift but also, it has its physical and mental health benefits – it helps to improve your core stability, muscle imbalance, build strength and muscle mass, helps you perform better in other areas of your life. Exercise has a skill set that can be transferable to other areas of your life. For me, I found confidence through fitness and that grew into something more once I started powerlifting – a strength that I couldn’t have imagined when I first started. With lockdowns becoming a norm right now, the fact that I can exercise in the comfort of my own home safely highlights the gift of movement even more.
Strong I am but flexible I am not. This month, I have intentionally started flexibility training to help me release tension in my calves and help me with become more flexible overall. I have been wanting to do the splits for years but that requires a type of training that I am not used to doing. At the moment, I have been dedicating 15 minutes of stretching after my training and 30 minutes of deep stretching after my walks on my rest days. I aim to keep this up so I can finally do the splits but also transfer this flexibility skill to my powerlifting sessions so I can increase my squat depth. Stretching is also therapeutic is some kind of way, I can clear my mind and focus on just that.
Gratitude hour & Meditations
This is a new habit that I started the beginning of this year. Intentionally sitting down with a journal noting down y achievements and wins from the previous day, what I am grateful for each day, along with my intentions and affirmations for the day is something that I had never done before. I was excited to start this but I learnt earlier on that I had to take time to start this as it was new. I struggled getting this done in the second week because I didn’t have a set time to do this. I was doing it whenever I wanted and that meant that some days during that week I had to play catch up. After working on scheduling time after my shower to sit down and practice this gratitude hour, I feel like I have this locked into my routine. Cultivating an attitude full of gratitude, I love saying this phrase to myself. It keeps me grounded and it has taught me that no matter what is happening outside, I have so much to be grateful for.
Meditations…The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday provides me with some uplifting philosophy and pushes me to dig deeper in the morning. I will forever be a student of life and this book of meditations on wisdom and learning about the art of living from stoic philosphers is something that I’m glad that I started. At the back of my journal, I use these daily teachings as prompts for me to write my takeaways and it has really made me question some things that I do unconsciously and take more effective action. I know that it has only been the first month but I am nervous and excited to see how much my mindset will shift by the end of the year.
Am I the only one that struggled to get back into reading after college and/or grad school? I used to love reading as a child and it has taken a lot of effort to get back into consistent reading as an adult. I went from reading one book in 2018, three in 2019 and 10 in 2020. I’m making progress and I’m hopeful that I will get back to it sooner and later. What has been helping me is reading for at least 20 minutes a day in the evening as I wind down before bed. I find that it relaxing and it gives me time away from my phone and my laptop to slip into either a fantasy world, learn something new or examine my life. I’m currently finishing my first book of 2021 and then it’s purely fantasy and Afro-futuristic books for the next two months. I have Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo and Love In Colour by Bolu Babalola next in line. If you enjoy reading, what books are you currently reading?
This one might seem strange because we should all be eating everyday. Last year, I slipped up when it came to eating my meals regularly and it really showed me that when I don’t have my meals planned in advance, I struggle to hit my macros. Eating is a culinary experience not just for you but for your tastebuds. There is something special to me about eating meals regularly and I’ll call it a habit that has made a difference in my life over the years because as someone who is into fitness, I’ve learnt so much knowledge about the role of food in relation to training. Having a routine, in general and especially in these series of lockdowns, has kept me focused on the things that matter to me and it keeps me grounded. Prioritising eating all my meals each day allows to do all the other habits that are important to me.
There are other habits that make a difference to my day but these five are the main ones that help build a foundation for the others to follow. Placing each of these habits into either my morning routine or my evening routine helps me to start and end my day in peace. If you are aiming to start building a routine or a new habit, start out small. Forget about the end result and focus on the process and getting it right.