Five Things Healthy, Successful People Do Every Morning
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Five Things Healthy, Successful People Do Every Morning

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Five Things Healthy, Successful People Do Every Morning

I grabbed you with that headline, didn’t I? Who doesn’t love an article that’s basically an easy to follow, streamlined list? Lists are absolutely everywhere these days. They are the little black dress of blogging, journalism, infotainment, and everything in between. Lists are an especially popular format for articles on health. They’re often a set of completely impractical instructions that don’t work for people with jobs, kids, or other responsibilities – in other words, “people.” The author has the freedom to be totally rigid and unrealistic because A) they’re not you and B) the main point of the article is to get you to click on it. So they can get away with telling you to wake up at 5 AM every day or commit to yoga or kick start your day with hot lemon water, because their job is already done. Lets discuss the top five Big Ideas that are going around.

1. Claim: Wake up early

2. Claim: Stay up Late

We’re kicking things off with two opposing ideas that I see everywhere. There is so much conflicting information out there and headlines such as, “10 reasons why night owls are more productive” and, “Why successful people start their day at 5 AM.” The truth is there is no right answer. I know people who thrive on waking up early. They love to exercise and meditate in the morning and get their day started early and then they’re in bed by 10pm. But I also know people who stay up late, writing or pursuing their creative endeavors late into the night.  Whether they are nightclub singers or writers, they shine in the evening and hours and sleep until 10am or 111am each day. And they are successful. Your body will tell you what it wants. Listen to it. Don’t try to force yourself to be the way you are not.

My whole life I have been a person who is extremely creative in the evenings. But ask me to edit a frame of video in the morning and I’m a total disaster. I used to feel shame at not being able to get up at the crack of dawn, ready to take on the day. When I learned to accept it and stop judging myself, I became attuned to my body’s natural rhythm. I found so much freedom and productivity. Now I know how to live my life so that my creativity is maximized rather than suppressed. For me, there is some sort of magic in the evening hours. It allows me to write a song or a book or edit a film with no mental blocks. Others thrive in the quiet hours of the morning and this is when their inspiration comes. So be your authentic self, listen to your body, and whether you wake up at 6am or 12pm, you will be better off by doing what’s right for you!

Verdict: Follow your innate sleep patterns for optimal health and success.

3. Claim- Drink warm lemon water every morning for ultimate health, wellness and energy.

Warm lemon water is the new Brangelina: totally overexposed and inescapable. There are so many articles about why you should drink it first thing in the morning and all of the health benefits. If you like doing that, that’s great. But I don’t. Here is why: I have a sensitive stomach in the morning. I can’t drink coffee, tea, or even take vitamins on an empty stomach. All of these things hurt my stomach and I have always been this way. So drinking warm lemon water for me is a challenge. I don’t deny the health benefits, but what benefit is there if I feel sick to my stomach? That’s not healthy either. I recommend drinking a full 8-ounce glass of water to kick start your metabolism and get all your organs pumping. There are many other benefits. Drinking water first thing in the morning also purifies your colon and increases the rate at which new muscle and blood cells are produced.

After my non-lemon water, I make a smoothie loaded up with healthy superfoods. The smoothie is as filling as a meal but with fewer calories. Here is a great smoothie recipe to start your morning:

ChocolateAlmondShakeChocolate Almond Butter Shake:

1 banana
1 scoop almond butter
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1-2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 scoop of supergreens
3-4 ice cubes
Honey or stevia to sweeten

Blend.

Sprinkle some cinnamon on top for extra antioxidants!

This makes a perfectly healthy smoothie- if you want to get even more power out of your smoothie, some additions I often make are maca powder, pro-biotic powder, spinach and/or kale. These do not affect the taste too much.

After my smoothie, then I’m ready for my warm lemon water.  But without having food in my stomach first, it’s a no-go.

Verdict: If you like warm lemon water in the morning, drink it. If not, don’t stress. Drink non-lemon water, make a smoothie, and then when you’re ready, have some warm lemon water.

4. Claim: Exercise Every Day, Every Other Day, Do Yoga, But Don’t Do Hot Yoga, But Do Cardio As Long As You Don’t Jog, Cross-fit is the new black on and on…

Where to begin with this one? If you don’t like the current conventional wisdom on the best types of exercise, just wait a few months for the next wave of articles to completely contradict it.  Whether exercise is something you love or if it’s something you view as a necessary evil, we’ve all had days where we’re just completely unmotivated. And you know what? That’s okay! It’s okay to not stress your body every single day with intense physical exercise.  Despite the popularity of infomercials you see for 30-minute high stress, intense workouts, those aren’t healthy to practice on a regular basis. Your body is not meant to be pushed into its “fight or flight” mode and have its muscles stressed to the max everyday.

Personally, I used to be a firm believer that yoga was the answer for my body. I still  believe in all of the health benefits of yoga for the mind, body and spirit. But after I injured my shoulder in a car accident, I had to stop because the downward dog pose exacerbated my injury. That’s when I discovered Pilates, once of the most beneficial types of exercise one can do. Pilates, combined with running short distances, has been the most effective for me. But the point is to find what exercise works for you and your body and try to practice it as often as you can. Stop listening to what everyone else says (including me) and find out what you love to do. And when you miss a day, or even a week (gasp!), don’t beat yourself up. We all get busy or tired. Anxiety and dread are definitely not beneficial to your health.

Verdict: Yes to exercise, but don’t kill yourself over it and stop judging yourself for every missed workout.

5. Claim: Positive Thinking Works: Your Body Achieves What Your Mind Believes

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggonit people like me."

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggonit people like me.”

Yes, I know you don’t want to hear this one. It sounds like complete new age hippie nonsense. I get it. I’ve got an angel and a devil on my shoulder too. The angel says, “Think positive and good things will happen.” The devil says, “Shut the f**k up and stop listening this BS.” Right? Most of us have it. It can also be confidence related. The old Al Franken SNL skit comes to mind, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog gonnit, people like me.” A lot of this self-help nonsense can seem like a punchline. But as I laugh along with you, I also believe in it. Thinking – and speaking – positively is so important. If you are trying to build a business and you believe it will fail- then you are right, it will. This is why it is absurd for a doctor to tell a cancer patient, “You have four months to live.” The patient believes this. Their mind then tells their cells that this is so. And so the body then accepts this as truth and the patient dies in four months. The doctor wasn’t psychic. It was the patient’s belief. This is not just a parable by the way. This is exactly what happened to my dad.

On the opposite side of the same coin, there are stories of accident victims who ignore the doctors who tell them they will never walk again and then wind up walking out of the hospital. One such individual is Morris Goodman. After a plane crash, Morris was paralyzed, unable to breathe, talk, or swallow on his own. Although doctors did not believe he would ever walk again, Morris was determined to prove them wrong. “I believed with all my heart and soul that I would one day be normal—not hooked to machines, not silent, not fed through tubes, not pushed in a wheelchair.” Eight months after the crash, Goodman walked out of the hospital against all odds. Now dubbed, “The Miracle man,” he attributes his miracle to his steadfast belief that he would get better.

“I believed with all my heart and soul that I would one day be normal—not hooked to machines, not silent, not fed through tubes, not pushed in a wheelchair.”

Eight months after the crash, Goodman walked out of the hospital.

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/morris-goodman-miracle-man#sthash.otF6nCzz.dpuf

“I believed with all my heart and soul that I would one day be normal—not hooked to machines, not silent, not fed through tubes, not pushed in a wheelchair.”

Eight months after the crash, Goodman walked out of the hospital.

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/morris-goodman-miracle-man#sthash.otF6nCzz.dpuf

Our whole history has been shaped by inventors who ignored people who said their idea was an impossibility. Everyone told Henry Ford that his idea for the first “horseless carriage” was impossible. But once he invented the automobile, he changed the world and became one of the richest most successful men of all time.

Think these examples are too extreme? Look around at the people you know. Look at who is healthy and who is not; who is successful, who is not. And then think about the things they say. Do they exude true confidence and conviction? Or do they seem insecure with little belief in themselves?

Of course, if you’re going through a difficult time, don’t bottle it up. It’s healthy to cry, yell, scream, and get angry. Then move on. Wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt is not a healthy or successful way to live your life. The point is: why not be positive? Just try it for a week and see what happens.

Verdict: We still think positive thinking works!

Ultimately, I say it’s great to read health articles and then test them to figure out what works for you. Your body will tell you what will keep you in your best health. It’s also important not to commit to something extreme with a “do or die” mentality. Strive for progress, not perfection. Long-term health is a marathon, not a sprint. (I read that metaphor in an article, “Top 10 Reasons You Should Start Running.”)

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