I had a great habit a couple years ago of walking in the mornings. When I say walk, it was a fast paced 60 to 90 minutes all over town. I’d come back covered in sweat and out of breath. I also came back with determination and clarity about my goals for the day. I was healthier and happier after the walks. Things happened and I got away from that habit. Here’s how I’m restarting it.
First, I’m starting small. I leave the house with the intention of a 20 minute mosey instead of a 60 minute power walk. As this becomes a habit, I’ll lengthen the duration and up the intensity.
Second, I make it as easy as possible. My sweats and sneakers are all set so I can grab them and go without walking up anyone in the house.
Third, I have a secondary goal in mind. For today, I wanted to take the above picture. On other days, I went to see how a neighbor’s new landscaping was coming in. On another, I walked by a house for sale my wife mentioned.
Fourth, I combined walking with another morning task. One of the things that got in the way of me walking is that I also started writing in the morning. By walking to get the above picture and plotting out in my head what I was going to write, I was able to accomplish both goals. By combining a couple of tasks, usually one that you want to do with one that you should do, you are much more likely to get both done. Another example is when my wife and I used to go out for Indian buffets for Sunday brunch. That was before kids by the way. We really enjoyed it be a buffet is heavy on the calories. Therefore, we combined walking with the brunch by walking to the restaurants.
Excerpt from Greater Than, on sale at Amazon for 99 cents today and tomorrow:
My wife once told me about a man who was given a tour of Heaven and Hell. In Hell, many gaunt and miserable people sat at long tables filled with wonderful food. The people were trying to eat with three-foot-long chopsticks. The food would drop to the floor before they were able to take a bite, so they starved. Apparently there is no five second rule in hell and you can’t eat with your fingers. I asked. My wife said, “No.” In Heaven, they sat at the similar tables with similar food and similar three-foot-long chopsticks. They were happy, singing and well fed. What was the difference between Heaven and Hell you ask? I’m so glad you asked because the rest of this chapter would be rather dull if you hadn’t asked. The difference was that while in Hell the people were trying and failing to feed themselves, in Heaven they were feeding each other. Each person would put a bite of food on the long chopstick and feed it to the person across from them.
What do we learn from this story, other than it is sometimes permissible to eat with your hands? First, yes, working together is a wonderful thing. Kumbaya and all that. Second and why I’ve brought it up in a chapter about the importance of your reactions, is that the situation in both Heaven and Hell were both exactly the same. The difference was the reactions people had to their situation. The more positive and proactive your reaction, the better the final outcome. The reaction of people literally made the difference between Heaven and Hell.
I was listening to a pod cast with James Altucher. He explained one of his daily tasks that I thought was worth sharing. Every day he writes down ten ideas. He may write down ten ideas about how he can grow his business, ten ideas how have a better relationship with his wife or even ten ideas on how Coke could make its products better. It doesn’t matter, just write down ten ideas.
There are two big benefits from this. First, James does this to keep his problem solving skills fresh. Second, this is a way to force yourself to stretch your own ideas. If you spend a few days writing down ideas on how to solve your client’s problem, you are going to come up with some new and good ideas. Sure, you will come up with a lot of tired or even bad ideas but that is ok. This practice is similar to the 20 ideas in 20 minutes I’ve written about and have suggested to my clients in the past. Those that actually do it have pushed themselves to new levels.
I think the ten a day will be a little less stressful and longer lasting. I start today.