I recently took off the month of December. It was an amazing decision that finally gave me some uninterrupted time to focused on my family and myself.

This time off afforded me the ability experiment with a lot of changes to my daily routine. The end goal being a more balanced and focused day-to-day me. With the idea that an improved “me” allows room for improving all other areas.

I tried about 13 different things that range from focusing on exercise, to eating habits and patterns, diet, meditation, and more. A lot stuck, and a lot didn’t however, the ones that stuck I find truly awesome.

High protein breakfast

This was the easiest to pull off and has had the biggest return. I’ll let you google all the benefits, but the punchline for me is I’m never hungry and have lost weight.

I start the day with ~40 grams of protein in the 300-450 calorie range and do the same again around lunch.

I eat breakfast around 5:30 am and usually ravenous by lunch. Now, I’m barely hungry come noon. This has not only made me eat less but also healthier. Plus, I eat a lot of foods that I love.

I kept this habit and even extended it to lunch at the office. I have to pack and lug my lunch into the office, but I somehow manage to survive.

Ice cold morning showers

I’m not talking warm, cool, or only “kinda” cold. These are shockingly cold showers, the kind that make you gasp for air and borderline going into shock cold showers.

Why? I initially explored (well, stumbled across an article on Medium) cold showers for their health benefits. If you google this you will typically see a list of somewhere between 7-11 amazing advantages. I asked my doctors about this, they had never heard of it. So I don’t do it for the health reasons, I do it for simply how it makes me feel during and after the shower.

When I step out of that shower each morning I feel a level of alert and alive I cannot describe. It’s awesome!! It’s a rush and almost a high for the next hour or so and I feel more alert long into the day.

I guess those Polar bear clubs had a great idea!

Finally going to the gym

This is an obvious one however, I always struggled finding a way to squeeze this into my hectic schedule. When choosing between time with the family, my kids, my wife, or work, this always got pushed.

Over the course of December and now into the new year I have a great habit of going to the gym about 3 times a week. I’ve even taken the momentum from December and found creative ways to work it into my schedule now that I’ve taken on a full-time client for the next several months.

  • A simple routine of about 20 minutes of exercise each morning (not exactly each morning yet, but getting close)
  • One awful morning of getting up at 4:30 am in the morning to hit the gym before work
  • Two trips to the gym on the weekend

This took me from zero trips in the gym pre-break to doing a heck of a lot better now.

Daily meditation

I know there are a lot of formal methods of meditation to choose from. I’ll maybe someday get into those, but I wanted something a little more light weight to start.

So I keep it simple. I make sure each day to reflect on the following

  1. How am I progressing on my goals
  2. Why am I thankful
  3. What can I improve about me, as a father, and as a husband

Doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes and I make sure to write down my reflections. Writing it down somehow makes me feel more committed and allows me to read back through previous days.

#The payoff I previously kept my habit of getting up early in the morning and reducing almost all alcohol from my diet. With these new habits, I’ve never felt better. Even better is with this direction and momentum I feel it providing positive impact on the other aspects of my life.