Discipline for Dreamers
How do grand visions of success and impact become a reality Through the small daily disciplines of the dreamer!
Big ideas are easy. Making them real takes an incredible about of persistence, practice, and progress. Below is my daily program of disciplines and practices that ensure I am maximizing my impact and avoiding burnout.
My Daily Discipline Program:
Having a productive day starts the night before.
9pm - Phone goes on airplane mode (Sunday-Thursday).
This ensures adequate time for the mind to unwind. Bright lights and interactive content before bedtime lead to trouble going to sleep. 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep is needed to optimal brain function. This is why parents of young adults deserve some slack. Friday and Saturday nights are a good time to cathc up on shows or social media.
9:00p-9:20p - Read at least 10 pages of a book for five days a week. Paper book, not eBook. I usually read entrepreneurial themed non-fiction and biographies, but also fold in some fiction to stoke the creative parts of the mind. Then Light Out!
5:30a - Wake up.
Gentle cell phone alarm.
5:31a - 30 minutes of sitting meditation six days a week (Sundays off).
I light a candle, crack the blinds and practice Zazan/Shamatha Vippassana-style breath awareness. As thoughts arise (and there are usually many), I return my attention to my breath. Starting the day in a place of stillness and relaxation sets the tone. I've found daily meditation allows my to better see opportunity throughout the day. I also find myself less reactive and more in control of my schedule. When travelling I prefer to find a nice vista location to sit in the morning. I sit thirty minutes a day unless I have a busy day, in which case I sit for an hour.
6:15a - One page of journaling five days a week (Saturdays and Sundays off).
The primary intention of journaling is to regularly articulate what I am grateful for in my life and to strategically plan my days around specific goals. Everyday I write three gratitudes, three goals (ten year, one year, one month), one daily task, and one weekly task. I also free-flow for a paragraph or two. At the end I send a "love note" (which means I reflectively send energy of gratitude to someone in my life).
After journaling I activate my phone and enter my daily tasks into Wunderlist.
Wunderlist is a task management app. I use the star feature to highlight my one goal for the day. I try to stick to one goal a day. If I have time for more I go through my lists, but only commit to one a day in most cases. Nothing kills momentum quicker than falling out of integrity with our commitments to ourselves.
Drink a smoothie.
I take care of my body in the morning by enjoying a plant-protein based smoothie. Protein in the morning is the best way to stabilize metabolism. It also reduces the cascading effects of stress hormones on the system which can be triggered by skipping breakfast or loading up on fruit sugars and carbs first thing in the morning. Protein first!
Consume twenty minutes of an educational or inspirational podcast five days a week.
Sometimes in the shower... sometimes in the car... but I always make time to consume content that is going to keep pushing my limits of knowledge. Audio is a great format because you can absorb it while in motion. I usually listen at 1.5x speed (unless it is a meditation series :) ) so that I can take in more information.
I also have some weekly intentions (different than goals in that I may miss them). Here are a few examples:
Get outside once a week for two hours. Forest hike. Beach day. Park playing with the kids.
24 hours unplugged once a week. No phone or laptop. A tough one, but something that always pays off with a deep sense of restoration and creativity on the other side.
Two to three 30-minute sessions of cardio workout. Distance running. Basketball. Swimming. Anything to blowout the endorphins and clear the decks of my mind. Great during more stressful periods.
Here are a few a few additional tips:
Give all goals and disciplines a limit and sunset. Allow yourself the chance to renegotiate with yourself at the end of trial period, but once you commit stay true to your word until the end of the period.
Use SMART goals.
Give yourself a Sabbath. Build in time off. Seven days a week is a recipe for failure and personal accountability challenges. Take a day or two to rest.
Two great books on the topic of small daily disciplines as the key to long-term success are The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen
This is my program. Tell us more about your daily disciplines in the comments below!