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Maximizing mornings:

Mornings set the cue for the rest of the day. If you slouch around, sleep in, or spend half an hour scrolling through your phone, you’re setting yourself up for failure in the rest of the day. Here’s our Three Things to get you off to a good start:

-Get Going: The most important thing to do in your morning is to get started. The hardest moment is getting out of bed. If you hesitate, give in to the temptation, and give yourself slack right off the bat, you’re setting a tone of laziness for your whole day. Wake up, get up, and get going quickly. That sets an efficient, productive mode for the day right at the get-go. The best thing to do is get up, start moving, and make sure you shower before you start tasks. Showering is a reset cue for most of our bodies, and it helps to clear the head and get the body activated. If you don’t shower every day, try getting into a routine where you just wash your face. It’s the most important thing to wake up before you start the day.

-Get focused: One of the big things to make sure you’re doing once you’re up and about is staying focused and alert. Avoid your phone and other devices for at least an hour, if possible. You’ll distance yourself from the “need” to check things, you’ll avoid slipping into a drone scrolling state, and you’ll let your mind catch up to the business of the day. Again, you’re setting the tone for the next 12 hours. Make it a point to stay clear-headed, and keep the obsessive technologies at bay.

-Get active: If you’ve got the time, working out early in the morning is an incredibly good habit to get in. You’ll spark your metabolism, and burn off more fat that you might later in the day. It’s also a no-fail way to get your heart and brain fully activated. Plus, it’s great self-discipline. Make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruit and get a good amount of protein in your breakfast to refuel for your busy and productive day.


Self-discipline: taking control of your lifestyle

A lot of us spend most of our time feeling swept off our feet. We feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done, and we lack the energy and focus to do our tasks well in the moment. Self-discipline is the key to taking charge of your life, regaining a sense of control, and building up your accomplishments on a daily basis. Here’s our Three Things to do to boost self discipline and start taking charge.

-Get off the Gadgets: Limit your use of electronic devices, and break the addictive hold they can have on your life. Sooner or later, we all start feeling that irresistible urge to check. Check facebook, check messages, check whichever app is your particular Achilles’ heel. All that checking creates a sense of anxiety, an obsessive compulsion which makes the best of us high-strung and discontent. Plus, it’s a major time suck. Feeling like there aren’t enough hours in your day? If you add up all the little 5-minute distraction sprees, you’ll be amazed to see how much time you waste on a daily basis. Most American adults are exposed to an average of 8.5 hours of screen time every day, according to the New York times. Some of that might be unavoidable, if you do work that requires a computer or phone. But you should do everything in your power to cut away the excess. Research is showing that screen time leads to poor sleep, restlessness, anxiety, and other feelings that really cut into your power to make the most of your days. Put the phone down, and keep yourself from checking. You can find apps to help you out, or just set yourself some goals-no internet until noon, or no texting before 9 AM or after 9PM.

-Delineate your Diet: Remember that your body is like a car. You’ve got to keep it fueled, and you’ve got to make sure the fuel lines are clean. Cut out junk foods-for good. It’s also a good idea to stop snacking. If you’re eating proper meals, you shouldn’t have any midday hunger pangs. Focus on eating right three times a day, and make sure you don’t stray. Stay away from greasy, processed foods, candy, sugary drinks, and caffeine binges. If you’re propping yourself up on substances you think make you more productive, like coffee or snack bars, that’s a sign something larger is wrong with your lifestyle. Get at least 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and make sure you start early. If you include a few good servings with breakfast, you’ll be helping your body stay alert and energized through the midmorning and midafternoon slumps.

-Garbage in, garbage out. That’s a philosophy we stick to here at …Then You Win. Garbage in, garbage out essentially means that what you take in or absorb are going to dictate what you put out. A lot of us have “guilty pleasures”, whether it’s trashy food, or trashy TV, which we excuse. That might seem harmless, but think about your media intake just like you’d think about your diet. If you absorb lots of trash, that’s what you’ll put out, whether it’s in your writing, your conversations, or in your artistic practice. Feed your brain like you feed your body. Make sure that everything you absorb is raising your game, not dragging you down in the muck.


Body and mind: happy together

The Ancient Greeks were some of the first humans to write about the importance of holistic health-thinking of body and mind as one, interconnected unit. Make sure you’re taking care of your whole self, and build on the connections between mind and body for a better sense of overall well-being. Without further ado, here’s our Three Things to work on for mind and body health:

Get fueled: Make sure you’re fueling your mind and your body all day long. Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet. That’ll keep nutrient-rich blood flowing to your brain throughout the day, and keep your body from lagging. Feed your brain as well! Get an hour of reading in every day, and make sure you’re consuming media that makes you think, and is intellectually stimulating.

Get active: You want to make sure you’re staying active all day long. Start off  the day with  a run or some yoga before breakfast, and make sure you shake up the work day with some stretch breaks or quick yoga poses to make sure you’re not slumping in the middle of the day. That’s key for helping you think clearly and avoiding that bogged-down feeling you might have at the office. When you’re exercising, make sure you’re paying attention to your mind-body connection.

One of the best things you can do is turn off the music. We know that sounds a bit boring, but if you’re listening to music, you’re not listening to your body. Silence is your friend; breathe it in, breathe it out. Explore your breath, and let it inform you about how your body is feeling-what’s hurting, what’s feeling good, when you need to let up or kick in. That’s super important for cardio exercise, when listening to music can distract you from the natural rhythm of your body. If you’re working against your body, you’re not getting proper exercise.

Get outside: Fresh air is great for your body and mind alike. Fresh air energizes the body by introducing more oxygen to your lungs, and giving your body a germ-free environment to flourish. All that extra air does wonders for your brain function as well. Make sure you’re getting at least an hour of outside time every day. Try introducing a walk after dinner, rather than watching TV or sitting around inside.

It’s also a great idea to take your workouts out into the world. Gyms are great for strength training, but there’s no reason to have to get your cardio fix indoors. Take up running, biking, or kayaking. Kayaking is actually one of our favorite ways to get your exercise outdoors. It’s a great cardio workout, and it also builds lots of upper body and core strength at the same time. Plus, being out on the water is a great time to get in touch with your breath and your natural rhythm, away from all the noise and chaos.