green coffee cup on a nightstand next to a blanket

We all have routines, but the key is to intentionally develop your routine to set you up for success.  There have been many books written about “habits” and how to develop “healthy habits.”  Habits are part of routine and a fundamental building block for intentional living.

What is intentional living?

The best definition I have for intentional living is living with purpose and in service to what matters most in your life, realizing that long-term happiness can only be achieved through service and contribution to a purpose greater than you.  The basis for this definition has been proven through study after study.  Service to a cause greater than ourselves is fundamental to happiness and a powerful antidote to depression.

An intentionally developed routine will allow us to win the day before it begins.

The morning routine is important for establishing your mindset.  The evening routine can set you up for tomorrow’s success and allow for a good night’s sleep.  Sleep is a critical aspect of intentional living.  Hal Elrod wrote a book called The Miracle Morning.  In the book, he gives examples of routines that can set you up to “win the day.”  Your routine will be different from my routine, but here is mine to give you an example:

  • 4:30 –
    • Rise & shine.
    • Drink 24 ounces of H2O because sleep dehydrates the body.
    • Squeeze 1 lemon into the water.
    • Drink 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized).
    • Let the dogs out.
    • Stretch the toes and roll out the feet on a spike ball.
  • 4:45 –
    • Meditate for 20 minutes minimum.
  • 5:05 –
    • Write in journal – Often I write a paragraph of gratitude. Sometimes I write a letter to someone and other times I write an article.
  • 6:00 –
    • Review my personal goals. Visualizing the achievement.
  • 6:15 –
    • Kids are up by now, so I hang with them for breakfast, usually making a shake.
  • 7:00 –
    • At least 30 minutes of exercise 4-5 days/week

I do have to alter this routine a day or two each week, due to travel or some other situation, but for the most part, I do this every day including weekends.

From my experience, the majority of morning routines go something like this:

Alarm goes off and “snooze” is hit.  At the last minute, we fly out of bed to get the kids or ourselves ready.  Hop in the shower, grab a coffee, and rush out the door to begin the day.  There was nothing intentional about that routine.  All reactions.  Day in and day out of this type of living leads to depression and dissatisfaction with life.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Just a few simple disciplines practiced every day can lead to a much higher level of satisfaction with your life, while failure is a few errors in judgment practiced every day.

This was a lesson from my earliest mentor Jim Rohn.  Former Navy Seal, Jocko Willink coined the phrase “Discipline = Freedom.”  It is absolutely true, but is one of those sayings that “says easy, does hard.”  At the end of your life, if you looked back, what would you want to have accomplished?  How would you want to have lived?  What is the legacy?  Now, what will you start doing today to make your vision of a life well lived become reality?  It is within you to achieve that vision and it starts with a routine that frees you up to make your mark.


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