Today is going to be the greatest day of your life.
“Why? How? What? Are you crazy?” you might be thinking incredulously.
Yes, today IS the best day because it’s the day that you have control over. You can’t do anything about the past. You can’t control the future. But you can do the best you can today.
For me, today is going to be incredible because it’s Day One of the TT Summit in San Diego. By the time you read this I’ll be up and doing item #1 (see below) in preparation for doing the 2nd item on the list (see below), before going off to deliver my 40 Big Lessons from my 40 Big Years presentation to our attendees that have traveled from all over the world.
It doesn’t get much better than this. Wish you were here.
If you can’t be with me today (insert sad face!), there’s still something I can do for you. You’re about to discover 3 simple – and FREE – things that you can do today to make your life easier and your world a better place.
Because let’s be frank…
No matter how much you want a new car, a bigger house, or a pretty piece of jewelry, you and I both know that the best things in life are free. Good health, time with our loved ones, relaxing with our pets, and the simple comfort of a cup of coffee in our favorite mug at the kitchen table on a quiet Saturday morning…you don’t need to live in a palace to appreciate these things. It truly is the little things in life matter the most and bring us the greatest joy.
There are many great things that money can’t buy. For example, some of us have health issues, due to misfortune or genetics, that can’t be fixed no matter how much money we throw at them. Some mornings we get up on the wrong side of the bed. Murphy’s Law applies to us too. Yes, even TT readers – and TT Trainers! – have bad days.
On days like those we should turn to scientifically proven rituals within our control that are guaranteed to improve our wellbeing. Here are 3 habits you can do every day for a better life. I should know. I’ve dramatically improved my life by making these a habit.
1) Give Gratitude
Being grateful should not be limited to Thanksgiving. The NY Times reported that “having gratitude has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.”
It’s tempting to let one’s cynical nature reject the idea. I almost did. I grew up relatively poor on a farm just outside of Stratford, a small city in Ontario, Canada. We lived frugally, wore hand-me-down clothes, and clipped coupons for groceries. This upbringing left me with a scarcity mindset until my early thirties. That’s when I was first introduced to the concept of gratitude outside of a religious environment. It seemed hokey, and my cynical nature wanted to reject it. But I gave it a try and added daily gratitude journaling to my habits. It’s become one of the most important parts of my life, and will add to yours as well.
If you don’t already have a copy of the Gratitude Journal we created, please get one here. It takes just a few minutes to fill out. You’ll simply list the people, things, and activities that you are grateful for, and the achievements you made each day. If you are going through any type of health, financial, or marital struggles, I promise that gratitude journaling will give you the right perspective on life.
2) Meditate for Minutes
How much would you pay for a pill that promised less anxiety, more focus, improved patience, greater creativity, and a better memory, all without side effects? All of these benefits are freely available to you through meditation.
It does not take long, nor is it difficult to experience the benefits. As little as a minute of slow, deep breathing calms you down and lowers blood pressure, and just a few minutes per day delivers an incredible return on investment.
Admittedly, it’s not an easy habit to keep. I started and stopped several times before finally making meditation a daily habit in 2013. It’s now been almost 1,000 days in a row that I’ve meditated. The secret is to effortlessly incorporate it into your daily routine, and that will likely mean doing it within the first thirty minutes of waking up.
Sit comfortably, either in a chair or on the floor (with your hips elevated on cushions to make it comfortable). Bend your arms, palms up, touch your index finger to your thumb, close your eyes, and breathe slow and deep. It’s okay if your mind races. If that happens, return your focus to your breathing. When I began meditating, I counted the number of breaths, and tried to do one more breath each day. Do whatever it takes to get started, and eventually you’ll come to love the internal benefits of feeling calm and being better able to control your emotions.
Start with just a minute for the first few days. If you can go longer, that’s fine. Next week aim for two minutes. Build up to at least five minutes, and preferably 15-20 minutes per day. It will make a world of difference in your physical and mental health…for free.
3) The 3 E’s: Exercise, Eat Right, & be Early to Rise
One of the greatest meals I ever had was at a Chianti winery in Tuscany. I’ll never forget the texture of the tagliatelle pasta or the tenderness of the wild boar meat in the ragu. But tempting as it might be, however, we can’t eat like that everyday. It’s fine to enjoy one or two meals of your favorite food and drink in moderate amounts each week, but history proves a rich diet is a recipe for gout, diabetes, and an early death.
Fortunately, as proven by my dear friend Diana Keuilian, delicious, fat burning, comfort food meals made from nutrient dense, organic ingredients. Just wait till you see the cake that she made for my birthday celebration at the TT Summit…I’ll show you on Sunday AND give you the recipe, too!
When it comes to exercise, you don’t need a $5000 treadmill or $2500 weight machine or even a $50 set of used dumbbells. You’ll look and feel better – and younger – from a simple program of bodyweight exercises, such as the TT Bootcamp workout that I’ll be putting our attendees through this morning at 8am PST.
(BTW…stay tuned for Monday…when I’ll share most of the TT Bootcamp workout that I delivered in person…including the 40th Birthday Version of my legendary Punisher Squat exercise!).
Eat right and exercise. Those are two of the most important pillars of good health. The third is sleep, and here’s a BIG lesson to help you get more energy from your shuteye. My longtime mentor, Mark Ford, once gave me this simple tip…that I ignored for years, much to my detriment. Don’t make the same mistake. Start following this as soon – and as consistently – as you can. The wisdom is simple and it works:
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
When I started following Mark’s advice it was like finding the missing piece of my daily energy puzzle. Gone were the 2 o’clock energy slumps, the Monday morning blahs, and the desire to hit the snooze alarm. It works. Of course, some night’s life, leisure, and love will keep you up later than your normal bedtime, but don’t sleep in! Get up at the same time as usual the next morning and have a nap to catch up on sleep. It’s the better way.
So there you go my dear friend. Those are just three of the BIG lessons I’ve learned in my 40 years. I wish you were at the TT Summit to get the rest of them, but if you hold tight till Monday, I’ll bring you a few more … plus that workout.
We’ll miss you this weekend. So until next time, stay strong and keep on pushing on!
Your friend and coach,
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
PS – The biggest lesson of my life…
…comes from the Stoic Philosopher, Epictetus.
Several years ago I found The Art of Living and it has become the most influential book in my life, even more than Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
Through Epictetus I learned the 3C formula that I follow everyday, and I’ve summed up that wisdom here:
FOCUS on what matters: Your thoughts, words, and deeds. Control what you can, Cope with what you can’t, and Concentrate on what counts. Make the right decisions, right now, for the right outcome for your right life. Stay strong and push towards your goals and making a better future for your family. You can – and WILL – do it.