I believe that if you’re alive to read this, you still have a mission to accomplish.
You may not realize it, but you have a light to shine.
Without it, someone else lives in the dark.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson
But many of us aren’t shining very brightly.
Stress and health problems dominate our lives. Overflowing inboxes and paperwork paralyze us. Incessant entertainment crowds out any original thoughts. A plethora of surface relationships prevent us from having deep, meaningful ones.
We’ve dimmed our lights because we can’t overcome the challenges of modern life.
We barely have enough energy to get ourselves through another day, much less empower someone else.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
There’s a lighted path we can follow too.
After a decade of research and more than three years of coaching, I’ve discovered the roadmap that’s available to all of us.
The destination is a specific set of core habits, and the vessel is a God-given superpower that allows us to develop them easily.
As we progress in our journey, we’ll find a light that gets brighter and brighter, eventually illuminating the way for ourselves and plenty more.
It starts with the Habit Pyramid.
The foundation is built upon strong habits for personal health. Once we’ve established these, we can confidently add the other layers. Developing a consistent daily schedule helps us to live at our personal best, free of distractions and missteps that can steal our attention. Forming strong relationships allows us to experience the power of community, drawing both inspiration and constructive criticism from others. Living in alignment provides us with peace, confidence, and endless motivation.
The Father made your body, Jesus paid for your body,
the Spirit lives in your body. You better take care of it. -Rick Warren
1. Get 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
Short-change your sleep, and you’ll negate just about every other positive health action you take. Sleep deprivation causes us to gain weight, suppresses our immune systems, and makes it harder to learn and remember. Not exactly a trio to strive for. Plus, getting enough sleep improves our mood and energy levels. For maximum benefit, aim for a consistent sleep schedule where your bedtime and wakening are within the same hour every day.
2. Eat paleo.
This has nothing to do with trying to replicate the diets of our ancestors, and everything to do with being fit, strong, and free of disease. Remove the processed foods, grains, and dairy, and watch your waistline shrink and your ailments disappear. Replace them with vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy oils, and grass fed or wild meats, and you’ll feel better than you have in decades.
3. Exercise regularly in short, intense bursts.
You can’t exercise away a bad diet, so don’t try. Often, extended exercise raises cortisol levels, doing more harm than good. If you’re getting started, just walk – to the end of the driveway, around the block, and eventually through the neighborhood. Once you’re ready for something more, aim for 20-30 minutes of interval training three times per week. This type of workout alternates short bursts of intensity (sprints, push ups, cycling, or other ‘all-out’ activities) with rest for multiple cycles. It’s both extremely efficient and effective.
4. Avoid sitting all day.
On average, Americans spend 9.3 hours a day sitting, and it is literally killing us slowly. It makes us fat and wrecks our bodies. The alternatives? Get a standing desk. Stop watching tv. Get a timer to remind you to take activity breaks.
Daily Schedule Layer
Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. -Proverbs 4:26 NIV
5. Establish a morning ritual to start your day.
The 24-hour day is the perfect interval upon which to plan and anchor. The simple act of rising can be used to kick start a chain reaction of positive activity that provides momentum throughout the day. If we get off track, we can trust that the sun will set and rise again, providing endless opportunities to start new.
6. Develop a consistent schedule and workflow to provide structure.
Maintaining a famously rigorous schedule, Benjamin Franklin intuitively knew what science had not yet proven: self-imposed discipline is incredibly powerful. Today, we have the benefit of scientific study as well. Time and time again, it’s been proven that both creativity and productivity thrive with consistency and structure.
7. Establish an end of day ritual to relax and prepare.
Few investments return more than a half hour of thoughtful closing to the day. Sleep is more restful when the mind is calm and relaxed. Deciding the priorities for the next day can also have a powerful impact on morning focus and avoiding distractions.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17 NIV
8. Identify reliable sources for inspiration, encouragement, and leadership.
Often called mentors or a personal board of directors, key relationships are essential to continued success. Once we’ve exhausted our body of knowledge, we can leverage the experiences of others to continue growing. These lessons can be gained with personal contact – or even by reading interviews and biographies. As Charlie T. Jones said, “you will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
9. Permit and empower others to keep you accountable.
Like guardrails for bumper bowling, this only works when we’ve prepared in advance. By letting others know of our strengths, weaknesses, and goals, we can avoid the gutter. As the canaries in our coal mine, they can warn us before we fail in. Partners can remind us of the higher standard we’ve aspired to reach and give us feedback when we’re coming up short.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10 NIV
10. Live in complete alignment with your faith and purpose.
When we’ve mastered our personal health and schedule and developed meaningful relationships, we’re well-positioned to discover and focus on our unique purpose. Plugged into that power source, we’ll experience an abundance of motivated energy and an unshakeable peace and confidence in His power.
Christine Caine is shining brightly. So are Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony did too.
What could we achieve if we added our light to theirs? What problems could we solve? Who could we help?
I’m ready to find out.
Are you with me?