In our culture, we are taught that our value is identified by our level of success and achievement – usually our level of financial success.
It’s an old idea, leftover from earlier days, but it still lingers. It’s the underlying assumption that you have to put work and your career before everything else.
This outdated concept has been tied to the idea of what’s considered a success, how you achieve success, and what’s valuable to us as individuals.
But, there are so many problems with this messaging and this way of thinking.
When everything else takes a back seat to one area of your life, those other areas often get neglected. They get overlooked. They typically start to fall apart.
The truth is, there are countless ways to be a success. From excelling as an athlete or weekend warrior to lesser-known ways like loving and nurturing your family, providing public service, strengthening your relationships, serving in the military, building your education or career, and much more.
To be successful, it takes energy, it takes focus, it takes consistency over a period of time and it all starts with our mind and body. For that, we need to make time to take care of ourselves.
Make time to take care of yourself.
We know this, but those underlying cultural messages are still there. We still absorb them from magazines, TV, social media, our social circles, etc.
These negative messages can still influence our unconscious beliefs about ourselves and how we go about our day, our week, our month, our year.
Often, because of these ideas we’ve absorbed over the years, we neglect ourselves and we lose energy, we lose focus and we start to fall apart.
We write ourselves off in some ways and focus on a couple of “important areas” in our life while neglecting most other areas
Because these messages are still out there—even though I know better—I find it helpful to proactively work against them.
Here are a few ways I’ve learned to take care of myself better – especially with a busy schedule.
#1. Create a morning routine - and stick to it!
Morning routines or morning rituals are big right now, and they can be such incredible tools.
Most of us have a morning routine. The problem is our morning routines aren’t as developed as they could be.
A well-developed morning routine allows you to get up earlier and spend some time on yourself before starting your normal day. If done correctly, your morning routine will get you energized, focused, and feeling confident.
Four major categories well-developed morning routines can help you work on are the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual areas of your life. Some examples of each category are as follows.
Physical: Everything you can do with your body or physical space. Examples: exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, drinking water, or taking needed supplements like a multivitamin.
Mental: Your mind, including thoughts, beliefs, values, goals, hopes, dreams, desires, and plans. Examples: Read, set goals, make a list of what is on our mind, create a plan or schedule for the day.
Emotional: Your feelings, emotions, relationships. All things related to your heart. Examples: expressing gratitude, connecting with family and friends, or anyone who makes you feel happy and connected.
Spiritually: You and a feeling of inspiration. Examples: meditation, be in nature, religious study, connect to yourself.
Morning routines can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours. So, don’t feel like you have to include everything in your morning ritual – especially when you’re first starting out.
Here is an example of a morning routine:
- Wake up at 6:00 am
- Drink 16 ounces of water with lemon – 2 minutes
- Do a HIIT workout – 20 minutes
- Stretch – 2 minutes
- Meditate – 3 minutes
- Eat a healthy breakfast – 15 minutes
- Shower & Hygiene – 10 minutes
- Get dressed – 5 minutes
- Review goals & schedule for the day – 3 minutes
- Start your normal day at 7:00 am
(Optionally, you can add a buffer time block to give yourself a little cushion in case you’re running late. Ex: 10 minutes buffer time.)
This is just one example and you should always create your own morning routine that fits your personal needs and time schedule. But keep in mind if you’re limited on time, you can still get a good morning routine within an hour.
#2. Exercise before you start your day.
Get your blood flowing! We all know the benefits of exercise, which can range from helping with weight control, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. But exercise also helps combat depression, lower stress levels, and elevating mood. Exercise gets you energized and ready for the day.
Morning workouts also mean you’re less prone to distraction. When you first wake up, you haven’t started your normal day yet, so you’re less likely to get phone calls, text messages, and emails.
With fewer distractions, you’re more likely to follow through with your workout and get it done.
What you do for exercise can vary greatly from someone else and what works for them may not work for you. What you do, doesn’t matter as much as getting your heart pumping and a good sweat going.
You might go for a run, hike, go to a CrossFit class, workout at your local gym or your home gym, stretch, do yoga, or finding your own short workout that works for you. To get started, your workout might be a bodyweight workout you do at
The important thing is to get a workout done, get your blood flowing, and sweat going before starting your normal day.
#3. Get a grip on your nutrition.
If there is one thing that can help you optimize your peak natural performance, it’s your nutrition. As the saying goes, “you can’t outwork a bad diet”.
A good nutrition plan keeps you energized throughout the day, it improves your mood, your focus, and can help you reach your health and fitness goals while reducing the chance of several health risks.
There are a number of diet strategies available today which range from The Zone Diet, The Paleolithic Diet, If It Fits Your Macros Diet, Ketogenic Diet, Slow Carb Diet, Vegan Diet, and more.
If you’re starting out on your nutrition journey, don’t get too hung up on a specific diet plan. Instead, focus on eating nutritious, natural foods, and balanced meals. Once you have a good foundation set and are used to planning and eating healthy foods, then look into a set diet plan that can help you get to the next level.
It’s amazing how much better you feel and how much faster you can make progress on your fitness journey once you have a solid nutrition plan in place.
What do you do to optimize your peak performance? Let us know in the comments below!