Hitting the reset button

First up, a happy new year to you! I’ve been offline quite a bit since the end of the year – a conscious decision – so this is my first post in a while.

I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, but recently (around mid-December) I realised that I was wasting too much time on pointless things like TV & social media, and when I sat down and really thought about it (actually, this probably happened on one of my morning runs!), it became clear when this slow drift started to happen.

You see, before I began marathon training in June of last year, I had been meditating daily for well over a year. The practice of meditation helped me not only quiet my mind, but also focus my time and energy on things that mattered most.

As anyone that’s trained for a marathon will know, the training becomes all consuming – it takes over your life – and the only way I could fit it all in was to find more time in my day. And so my meditation practice slowly faded away.

With the marathon well out of the way, a new business launched and going great guns, and a realisation that my mind was getting back to being really busy and thinking about the future, in mid December I decided to start meditating again. I’m now on day 28 and feeling much better for it.

There’s a few other things I’ve started doing too. First up, I’m back to journaling every day again – something else that stopped with marathon training. Now my morning routine consists of getting up around 5.30am, meditating (I use the Headspace app), exercising – usually a run – then making breakfast, brewing some delicious Sacred Grounds coffee, and journaling.

This was my routine before the marathon, and I really feel that it’s beneficial for my physical & mental wellbeing. The other addition this year – and for this one credit goes to my good friend, and recent podcast guest, Chris Marr – is that each morning I’ll read from the Daily Stoic and reflect on that day’s reading. This stuff goes back to Roman times, but it’s as relevant today as it was back then, maybe more so!

I’ve introduced a couple more ‘hacks’ designed to make my life better. In no particular order these are:

  • All notifications on my iPhone are switched off, other than a couple of apps we use as a family to communicate. To be fair, I started doing this back in the summer last year and it’s amazing the difference when you’re not being distracted by social media or email notifications. I’ve gotten better at not checking email or twitter, although I could still be better. That’s a work in progress; and
  • I’ve deleted Facebook off my phone & iPad, so I can only check it when I’m on my MacBook. I’ve been using facebook less and less, so deleting the app was the next logical step. This weekend I missed a couple of messages, which was a little annoying, but nothing too important. I’m wondering what else I can delete?

So at the start of 2018 it feels like I’ve hit the reset button. I’m more present, more in the moment, less dependent on that damn phone screen.

Are you making any changes at the start of the year? I’d love to hear what your routine looks like in the morning!

Why I write a daily journal

I wrote about my morning routine recently. A few people spoke to me about my daily journal.

It’s something I started doing in December last year. I’d journaled on and off for several years, but without any real structure. Then I came across a post by Michael Hyatt, which inspired me to write daily and to use a structured template. I’ve continued to adapt the template over the past year, and I’m sure that process of iteration will continue.

Writing every day has been beneficial for me. Ever since I was a child I’ve loved writing, so deciding to keep a journal has allowed me to do something I love every day. Also, like so many people in this always-on, 24×7 world we now live in, I’m a busy guy. Writing helps me to make sense of it all. It’s a chance to sit back and reflect on the day before. That’s been hugely valuable.

There’s a section in my journal where I write about what I’m thankful for. I like taking time to think about this – it might be people in my life, things that have happened, or perhaps it’ll be the simple things in life that we take for granted. Food, shelter, love.

And every day I write about how I’m feeling. My journal challenges me to tune in to my emotions. To empathise with myself. Again, that’s helped me over the past year.

Journaling is a daily task that I look forward to. I brew myself some coffee, sit by the window, and take my time to write. It’s meditative, I’m fully present in the moment, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and what’s important to me.