Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A 40 Day Challenge

Scribing today is a little delayed. My phone overheated by the pool.

The pool is open, and the sun is out!

As I discover what my miracle morning routine is, I've decided to include some time in the sun.

Right now, since I drive late nights, I get to sleep around 2 AM.  Affirming to myself that I can get fully restful sleep in just 6 hours, I set my alarm for 8 AM to get my miracle morning underway.

My affirmations might be working a little too well because I woke up a full half hour EARLY this morning excited to get to my routine.

Trim the beard, shave, a splash of cold water on the face, teeth brushed, and tongue scraped, I get to the first new habit just before 8.  Because I have the time, I've committed to 20 minutes of meditation for my morning silence.

Water, aminos, then silence.

Because I have yet to develop my own affirmations, I've defaulted to Yule Brenner's "I see pride" affirmation from the classic John Candy movie Cool Runnings.  That, and I look myself in the eye (in the mirror) and tell myself, "I love you."

Silly?  It might feel that way right now, but these three words repeated daily are going to pay dividends like you would not believe.

Get a shake ready, dressed in workout attire, water bottle, swim shorts, towel, and workout DVD to head to the fitness center and make a fool of myself working out with Shaun T.

25 minutes and a cool down later and I head to rinse off and change for the pool as it opens. A few laps in the pool. Set up in the sun, I "read" Miracle Morning and drink my green shake.

Go to scribe and... phone overheats.

Tomorrow, the phone stays out of direct sunlight.

I realized this morning that if I push the yoga challenge I started last night to 40 days, the last day will be on my birthday!

Guess who is doing a 40 day yoga challenge!  This yogi!

I took my first class from Lauren last night, and this afternoon I get to take Marie's class for day two!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Don't Break the Chain

I first heard about "don't break the chain" in an article referencing Jerry Seinfeld's use of the method.  With a little investigation I found that he hadn't originated the practice, but adopted it as his own.

The idea is, when starting a new habit, or trying to be more regular with a habit you are already developing, cross off the days on a calendar as you complete your intended routine, and try to string together as many days as possible without breaking the chain, or missing a day.  The other, imperative part is to make sure that if you do miss a day, you only miss that one day before starting a new chain.

How long can you keep the chain going? Can you beat your previous best?  Focusing on your achievements in keeping the chain going rather than the times you miss your routine, is immeasurably helpful in developing and maintaining the correct mindset.

Mindset is everything.

I broke my chain.  Like, really broke it.  As evidenced by the couple weeks of missing blog posts from my miracle morning routine.

From now on I am starting an accountability chain with my miracle morning.  This is the way I want to start my day every day!

Thank you for reading.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Love Yourself

One person in this universe was always meant to love you, no matter what.


Loving other people is simple in comparison.  You know your every flaw, every mistake, every thought, every action.  No love is more difficult or more rewarding than loving yourself.

If you love yourself, if you're made of love, if you are love, only then are you able to love others wholly and completely.

Loving one another is important, certainly.  I feel like this gets covered pretty well in our culture.  From a young age, this is the mantra taught to many of us: Love one another.

When I say my affirmations with myself in the mirror every morning, after I've quoted the character Yul Brenner's "I see pride" affirmation from Cool Runnings, the very last words I leave myself with are: "I love you."

If you want to change the world, change yourself.

If you want to love the world, love yourself.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Own Your Life

This life isn't leased. So, you can't get a new one. This life is yours—not borrowed, let, or loosed. You own your life, so own up to it!

This statement isn't meant to be daunting. That's the wrong perspective. Realizing that you own your life is EMPOWERING! If that scares you, it should! Have courage!

Today is the only today you will ever get. And while tomorrow will be a completely different today, the choices you make in every moment plot the course for every day that follows.

Live today.
Choose your tomorrow.
Own your life.


Friday, May 13, 2016

7000 Miles

I've now put 7,000 miles on the LOV Tank.  That's the name I've settled on for the minivan, for those of you clamoring that vehicles need names.  Why LOV Tank?  This vehicle is on a mission, and not just to shuttle Marylanders around Charm City.  I'm taking superfood, whole food nutrition to the people!

I'm off to put some more mission hours.  The skies have cleared, the sun is out, and the city awaits.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Never Perfect

Perfect is an ideal which doesn't exist in this world, and that's okay. In fact, it is freeing to consider that perfection doesn't exist.

"Better" exists. I can always do better. I can always be better.

I can eat better, sleep better, live better.
I can't eat perfect. There is no such thing!
I can't sleep perfect. It doesn't exist!
I can't live perfectly, and neither can you!

#notperfect #neverperfect

So, why are you waiting for perfection?!
Why are you comparing yourself to a perfect ideal?!

I meet so many people that are paralyzed by the prospect of perfect that they refuse to act, myself included.

Looking for the perfect workout? Stop looking and start working out—though I highly recommend Bikram yoga, if you haven't tried it.

Looking for the perfect diet? Any incremental improvement is going to change your life—Here is your new diet plan: (1) Give up something unhealthy, (2) add something healthy, (3) feel better, (4) repeat ad infinitum.  Is that a perfect diet plan?  No, but it is better than what you're eating now.

I can't tell you where this came from, but I've heard it said many times, and it is hard to argue with: "You have to be bad before you're good, good before you're great. great before you're outstanding." And, nowhere in there does it say anything about perfect.

I'm not a good blogger. ...yet!

If I had to wait to write the perfect blog post before I started blogging, this blog wouldn't exist. I have to wrestle with that every time I post and put myself out there, because there is still a part of me that wants to be a perfectionist.

I'm good at Bikram yoga.  I'm not great, or outstanding, but I'm working towards it with every posture I fall out of, every pose I hold a half second longer, every hair's breadth deeper I get, I am getting better!

My growth stems from taking that part of me that wants to be perfect, and transforming it into a force that drives me to be better, but allows me to be bad at something.

Babies are bad walkers. They are completely awful at walking. True story.

I can't imagine that there is a baby that has ever been born that has waited to take the perfect step before trying to walk. They fail so hard, and spectacularly so.

Grant me the courage to fail like a baby learning to walk!

If you were waiting for the perfect time to start something, to achieve something, to do something... I'll tell you right now, the time will never be perfect. Start now. Do it now.

Be bad.
Strive for better.
Never perfect.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Routine Maintenance

In order to get out the door this morning, I had to cut my Miracle Morning short.  It was my own fault, and I got everything in except for the scribing (this blog), but it has taken me half the day to get back to it.

As a former expert procrastinator, I have to have a constant vigil on my routines.  Allowing myself to slack on a day is a slippery slope for me.  I know this about myself.  There is always a danger, especially when developing a brand new routine or habit, of walking away if you fall off the horse instead of getting right back up on it.

Don't fall off the horse.  It is important to be impeccable with your word, something which I strive to maintain in my life.  It is doubly important when it is your word to yourself.

Maintain your routines like you would your most valued possessions.  A small action repeated daily will have massive effects on your life.

Eat cookies daily?  I don't have to spell out the effect.
Drink a green shake every morning?  Vitality like you've never seen.

Why do I spell out the effects of the green shake and not the cookie?  Because we all know somebody who "eats cookies daily" or who has similarly detrimental routines and habits, but not everybody sees the people who are getting their greens in.  As a hint, it is a majority of the healthy and vital people you run into on a regular basis.

Routine maintenance, maintenance that happens in cycles, be it daily, weekly, yearly.  Cycles are important when it comes to routines.

"I'm going to drink a green shake every day for the rest of my life!"

Blech!  No!  Who would possibly commit to that?!  I would LIKE to drink a green shake every day for the rest of my life, just because I know what that will do for my health and well being, but I can't possibly have integrity in that statement because there are too many variables that could prevent me from having a green shake one day in my foreseeable lifetime.  Just like that, word broken.

"I'm committing to ninety days of drinking a green shake every morning!"

That you can see yourself doing—especially if you like how your shake tastes.  It doesn't have to be ninety, it could be thirty, it could be an intensive three shakes a day for ten days.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that you commit, you are impeccable with your word to yourself, and that you have an achievable and measurable goal.

Then, at the end of ninety days, thirty days, ten days, you reflect, you reevaluate, and you make new commitments or recommitments with yourself.

As an aside, I have green shakes on my mind because I'm day three of just such an intensive today.  My weight had climbed because of poor decisions I was making with food to cope with some temporary stress, and I decided it was time to turn that train right back around.  Down 9 lbs. in three days—healthily, I assure you, as some of that is inflammation and excess water weight—and loving the burst of vitality after a rocky couple of days detoxing all of those bad food decisions away!

I already know after my ten day intensive, I'm committing to 90 days of a green shake a day.  A combined one-hundred days of green shakes.  Can you imagine?  I can, and I'm looking forward to it.

You heard it here first, my newest hundred day challenge.  I have a feeling this will be much easier to achieve than my hundred days of Bikram yoga doubles.

For those that aren't in the know, this blog was originally started to share my experience doing three hours a day of hot yoga for one-hundred days, and I'm proud to say that I showed up, limbered up, and got the T-shirt!

And, yes, I still practice yoga.  It is an integral part of my regular maintenance.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Regular Maintenance

Yesterday marked the beginning of a ten day vacation.  Not a vacation in the typical sense, a vacation from work. In fact I'm happy to be getting hours in doing some rideshare driving (see yesterday's post). Rather, a vacation from some poor food habits that I'm looking to correct again.  Old habits die hard, and I've found eating habits can be especially difficult, especially when combined with stress.

I find that a cleanse can be good regular maintenance. Like the regular maintenance you do for a vehicle, your body needs some care and attention. With all the stress of the last several months, I had been feeling some adrenal fatigue, so it will be good to have a clean reset to combine with my new morning meditation routine (as part of my Miracle Morning).

Not focusing on food gives me a much needed break to reflect on the trajectory of my health and the choices I make.  I come out the other side of the ten days much more than physically transformed.  Expect to see more in this space over the next ten days about this process.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Sunset, Sunrise

The last leg of my miracle morning was interrupted by not giving myself enough time to complete the habit stack.  I'm not making that mistake again.  In other news, I am finally — after a long, arduous process — out driving Uber and Lyft in Baltimore (and surrounding areas)!  The interruption to my routine was to get out the door and take advantage of the guaranteed rates that Lyft was offering from 5 AM this morning.

Last night we left Chincoteague Island as the sun was red on the horizon, just dipping below the landscape.  This morning I got to watch the red ball appear again.  Instead of reflecting on my notable lack of sleep during those intervening hours, instead I saw beauty.  Dawn is finally breaking on my new life in Maryland as Lauren and I are finally able to start settling into routine.  I expect that I will be doing a great deal of driving over these next few months, though I actually look forward to it.

I love meeting and talking to new people!  The morning commute crowd come in various degrees of wakefulness, a few preferring silence, but the majority seem to love a chance to share about themselves and connect with someone new.

Today I learned about the plight of homeless youth without guardians and the specific challenges they face from a woman who had been homeless herself as a teen and is now involved in trying to structure programs to help these kids as she studies non-profit management in school.

Just a couple of days ago I learned which Red Robin is the friendliest in all of Maryland.  It is the mall location in white Marsh, and they use it as a training location.

If you are looking to connect with new and interesting people, I can tell you Lyft is a great way to do it, and bring in some supplemental income at the same time.  If you're interested, there is a referral bonus (for both parties) if you sign up using my code: PRESTON916538

Please feel free to reach out with any questions about my experiences getting started and driving!


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Love is a Verb

"Proactive people make love a verb. Love is something you do: the sacrifices you make, the giving of self, like a mother bringing a newborn into the world. If you want to study love, study those who sacrifice for others, even for people who offend or do not love in return." — Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I can find no higher exemplar of love in my life than my mother.  As this is a day that we remember our mothers, I was pleasantly surprised to find a passage about love and mothers in my morning reading.

Thinking back, it was my mother who taught me a great many things.  Seeing opportunity in obstacles, for example.  I loved to draw as a child — still do — and I clearly recall one of my younger sisters scrawling on one of my drawings.  I was distraught, angry, night inconsolable.  I'm sure any mothers reading this can think of a myriad of ways in which to resolve such a dilemma.  My mother chose to teach me something.  Something now vital to my approach to a great many things.  She showed me that I could take the lines scrawled by my younger sibling and make something from them.  Instead of being angry that my drawing was ruined, it allowed me to be creative, to make opportunity of adversity.

My mother knew me, loved me, understood what I needed, and in that one moment helped me become a better, more resourceful human being.

I love you, Mom.


Saturday, May 7, 2016


Today is the second day of my new miracle morning routine, but my first attempt away from home.  If you missed yesterday's blog post, I blogged about starting a new morning routine to take control of the trajectory of my days.  This morning finds me at the beach with friends!  Chincoteague Island, more specifically.  I've abbreviated my routine a bit after a late start, and dotted reading and scribing through the morning as Jacob fixed brunch and we all chatted on the patio.  Still, I'm calling this miracle morning a success.  What could be more miraculous than brunch on an island with several of your favorite people?!

"Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning; it is affirming." — Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

While yesterday I picked up Chop Wood Carry Water, this morning's reading had to come from my Kindle.  Picking up where I left off, I peruse a few pages of Habits, which I thought appropriate given my new habit stacking initiative, and this passage struck me.  I highlighted it to come back to later, not quite being able to put my finger on why I liked it so.

As a part of a Miracle Morning, you say affirmations — there are studies.  It's legit — but I don't think much focus is given to affirming others.  What affirming actions do we take towards others?  As I think about the people I love and connect with most closely, I see where they affirm me.  This, I think, is foundational to community, to love.  Love is affirming.

This is what I will take with me today as we bike across Chincoteague Island: I affirm others.

What role does affirmation play in your life?


Friday, May 6, 2016

Good Miracle Morning!

It is time to bring my inaugural miracle morning in for a landing here with a little scribing.

The beautiful and talented Yasmin Kahn introduced me to the concept in a miracle morning, and after hearing about it, I knew it was something I was going to have to implement in my life.  I didn't even wait until I had the book.  I did some research on my phone while I was waiting for my Maryland State Vehicle Inspection, and quickly ran across this great synopsis written by Niklas Goeke: The Miracle Morning

How is it that I'd never heard of habit stacking?  This is seriously genius, and I kinda feel like people have been holding out on me.  Conventional wisdom says not to try and develop too many habits at once.  Pick one or two, repeat until they are cemented, ad infinitum.  Habit stacking lets you take a series of habits and develop them as one habit!  Do you even know what a big deal like this?  This might be the biggest, most importantist life hack ever discovered!!  My excitement has overwritten my need for proper grammar — or using real words, apparently!

How does habit stacking work?  If Niklas Goeke is to be believed, it is as simple as "after I... I will...".  You might not even realize how integral this process is in your life.  Without even thinking about it, you probably do this when you make yourself a sandwich.

  • When I go to make a PB&J I will get out two slices of bread, sunflower butter, and raspberry jam.
  • After I get out the ingredients, I will get out a plate and a knife.
  • After I get out a plate and knife, I will lay out two facing pieces of bread.

As a quick aside, does anybody else make sure that the bread in your final sandwich are oriented the same way they were in the loaf of bread?  I'm not saying I'm OCD, but I'm fairly certain I have some OCD tendencies....

  • After I lay out the bread, I will spread peanut butter on the inside face of the first slice of bread.
  • After I spread the peanut butter, I will spread raspberry jam over the facing side of the other slice of bread.
  • After I spread the jam, I will sandwich the two pieces together.
  • After I sandwich the halves, I will cut the sandwich at about 15-30 degrees from the vertical.

In case you weren't previously in the know, cutting at a slight angle from the vertical will make your sandwich much tastier, not to mention easier to put in sandwich bags (fat bottom first).

Just maybe your sandwich habit stack isn't quite so specific as mine, but if you make sandwiches, you have one.

This same principle, having a series of habits you do in succession, is the foundation of the miracle morning.  First thing in the morning, before your day really gets started, you'll already have six or more habits knocked out and a much different trajectory than if you hit your snooze half a dozen times and rushed out the door without a minute to spare.

I'm committed to my miracle morning.  Bonus!  The last part of my miracle morning is scribing, which I intend to do here in my blog!  Expect to be seeing much more in this space.  Much of it will be yoga related, some of it might seem a little crazy, but you know I will always be my most genuine me with you here.

Worrying about the space between this post and my last isn't the best use of energy of anybody involved.  Just know that it has been a journey, and that I am a better person for the experiences.  I love you all.