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Wake Up! It’s More Than Just Opening Your Eyes

Harness the power of the smaller things in life, that can have the biggest impact on your habits

Oscar Niemeyer’s Edifício Copan, São Paulo, Brazil (2015)

Most of us begin each morning begins with a ritual of some sort. It can range from coffee, to music, to cooking, perhaps packing kids off to school. Mine, well, it has gone through several variations, only to land on something we all may be taking for granted.

In between day and night, we are an evolving species. Yet, we’ve evolved to forget that we live with nature’s ritual: the circadian rhythm dictated by the sun rising and setting everyday. I use it as a way to reset myself. I glance at my watch each morning that I wake up. It’s somewhere around 5.30 to 6.00am.

On looking closer at the watch face, everything had reset to zero. It reminded me that I had a new chance to start all over again. I could easily stay in bed until much later, but I choose to open all the blinds and curtains, and bathe in the summer morning light and the sounds of nature.

It starts with pulling the clunky, wooden draw out of my shabby-chic chest of drawers and rummaging around, until I can just feel the new, multi-coloured keyring that I had attached onto the silver key. It’s from a trip to South Africa, and I had found a good use for it now — instead of being displayed in my ex-museum of a bedroom.

Reaching for the heavy curtains that cover the back-door, I open it inwards. The clean rush of the morning air hits my warm face, and my ears are filled with the sound of perfect silence.

Sometimes, you need to identify the positive things in life and take advantage of what you have — and be grateful that you have them.

The most simple thing I have been doing lately, is waking up early and sitting in the garden. I’m grateful for my apartment, because it has a garden. I take advantage of mine, no matter how overgrown it tends to get.

I share the first hours of my waking life each day in the company of busy bees seeking nectar, and sometimes some red robins that land in the garden.

If I don’t get up early, I will end up suffering from a different type of FOMO. It’s something that everyone can do, it costs nothing and you get a myriad of benefits. It allows you to start the day way ahead of many other people. I’ve put myself in sync with nature’s rhythm, so I can clear my mind and set the path for the day.

This all stemmed from discovering how simply adjusting your lifestyle is enough to help with many ailments that normally require medication. Where possible I’d choose to use my lifestyle to help, saying that straining my foot did send me searching for Tylenol.

Getting up early is one of many ways to actively reset. It can yield great results. Every day for the past year has been a different experience for me. I found that wearable tech brings me accountability that counteracts complacency.

But from time to time we subconsciously get trapped in these vicious cycles that cloud our judgement and thought processes. Just when we thought we nailed it, something throws us off our paths.

Perhaps I had grown complacent in the fact that I could reset at anytime, but the danger was that I was dragging it out for too long, or simply giving up altogether. I was a victim of this, having reset many many, many times before, only to then start accumulating physically and mentally.

This time there was a marked difference. What kept me going this time is developing and building that routine and habit. It all came down to the following:

You are what you do, what you say, what you think, and therefore what you choose to consume.

Learning that I had to build my routine from nothing, everyday, pushed me further in wanting to equal or do better than yesterday. I was only as good as my last meal, walk, and step count. I was now truly responsible for my health and well-being, as I could see it unfolding each day.

I built in accountability to myself by taking advantage of technology, for instance. Where I lacked in human voices to remind me that I was still making progress, a nudge on my wrist worked. And boy, I felt bad when I couldn’t complete the goals I set on a daily basis.

It helped me compete with myself. Each night I go to sleep, knowing that at midnight the previous gains were assigned to history. And each morning, I was fully aware that I had clearly woken up from a life of mental hibernation.


Choose to use what you have, to advance yourself
If you have a space, go and discover it. It may be a small balcony or a garden, but it might be the best place to gather some great thoughts and get a different perspective on life.

Instead of sweating out at the gym, in a sterile environment that you have to pay for, you could try to work out at home, practice yoga and seek to re-connect with yourself in your own space.

Learning not to be complacent
Humanity hasn’t even discovered half of what is possible or what exists. If we choose to quietly sit yet not seek any new knowledge or thoughts, then none of us can help the world advance in a positive way.

Reading a new book, listening to podcasts, discovering new subjects or even looking at an alternative point of view can help you develop new ways of looking at life, that you may never have thought of.

You are accountable for your actions. 
It starts with you. You are the difference between success and failure — and you can decide what both of those points mean to you personally.

Choose growth over stagnation
Just like the garden, it can get overgrown just as the mind gets cloudy. But, when we start trimming away at bad ideas and negativity there are green shoots that you need to bring to the surface and nurture.

Choose to nurture the good 
The power of starting with nothing, is that it is powerful. It can bring creativity and variety to the surface, where the unconventional becomes normal, and gives you the chance and opportunities to truly feel free to be yourself.

Remember that each day, nature is constantly there as the silent helper, to remind us that new chances exists.
And with each night, it brings everything to a conclusion, so you can recharge yourself and be ready for all the other great opportunities that will start to present themselves.