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Ryan Smith


10 habits I'm working on in my 30's

Habits are the foundation for change. We are creatures of habit. Habits can be built. In my experience, good ones can actually take years to form. I simplify and keep working at them, no matter how many times I fail.

    1. Wake up at the same time every day.

    The older I get the more sensitive I become to staying up late and sleeping in. I can feel off for days after a 2am-12pm slumber. Even staying up past 11pm and sleeping in until 8:30 seems to take a toll. I go to bed around 10pm most nights. I would love to say I wake up at 5:30am every day but to be honest I have trouble maintaining a 6:30am wake up for any lengthly period of time. I may try again some day, but for now 7am seems to be the best fit for me. I suppose I'm just a person who needs more sleep. But hopping out of bed right away is critical.

    2. Weightlifting.

    My dad is in his 60s. Despite being a runner in his 20s and a guy who walks a lot, He's still overweight and diabetic (my possible future). He has a drawer full of insulin shots and meds. With one weightlifting session a week (body by science) on Sundays (muscle church) he was able to control his blood sugars in a way he hadn't been able to do in 20 years. His doctor had to scale back his medication and to this day he's amazed at the effect of something so simple. He has an open mind, but most people struggle with the cognitive dissonance of knowing that their whole life could be different if they had started sooner. He still eats donuts and chocolate kisses but it doesn't matter so much.

    Everyone should do some form of resistance training. As you age your body slowly loses muscle (sarcopenia). Your metabolism slows, fat accumulates, and you get weaker and weaker until a preventable disease kills you ( but not after rendering you sick and helpless for a large chunk of your life. Weightlifting 1-2 times a week can prevent all of this. Running on a treadmill cannot. Many people view weightlifting as vanity, or unnecessary, or extreme. The only thing extreme about it is the changes you will experience. Get stronger, live longer, feel better.

    3. Learning to articulate my philosophy.

    I don't like to argue. When people bring up politics, religion, or philosophy I typically won't push back with my own beliefs or opinions. This in itself is probably a good habit. Arguing is a waste of time. But I feel like I need to learn how to communicate my philosophy without arguing. If all the balanced and sane people don't speak up every once in a while, we're all screwed.

    4. Eating clean.

    The American gut is like a garbage pit. I spent most of last year feeling bloated even though my wife and I eat decently well. My kids are a train wreck. Mostly sugar and hotdogs. We decided to change the family diet - eliminate all dairy, gluten, sugar, and chemical additives. This isn't strictly enforced in all cases, just with the food we buy and keep in our house.

    The result is a healthier gut (your first brain), feeling less guilty about food, and overall more energy and wellbeing. Not to mention less meltdowns from the kids (priceless). We might even avoid cancer if we're really lucky.

    It's easier to eat clean these days. There's a healthy additive free alternative to just about everything, and the internet has made these cheaper and easier to find.

    5. Morning routine.

    Everyone talks about the morning routine. Once you start and stop a few times you can really distinguish the benefits. I've experimented with lots of different routines but found that simple is best. Out of bed at 7 am, a glass of water, 10 minutes of deep breathing, shower (with a cold rinse), coffee, and read until work. Every day, even on the weekends.

    6. Less caffeine.

    One cup of coffee a day. Then have a cup of decaf if I'm really feeling needy. Too much caffeine is fun at first but it causes anxiety and I get easily distracted. Plus the whole not being able to fall asleep thing.

    7. Read instead of staring at my phone.

    My dad is a power reader. He's read on his kindle for something like 2300 days in a row. Sometimes Im amazed at what he reads through (birthday parties, family dinner, concerts). I don't take it that far but i'm in a creative field (marketing). I need constant input for my mind - so I read. The problem isn't desire, its habits. For a long time, my phone replaced my reading habit. I tried having kindle on my phone but that never really worked for me. Now I carry my kindle with me everywhere. I also check books out at the library, one at a time. When i'm driving I listen to audible. Most days I'm reading 2-3 books at once. Right now I'm reading Stephen King On Writing. If you're reading this, theres a high chance you'll love it.

    8. Free-write every day.

    I could never make myself write until I discovered the concept of free-writing. You just open a doc and spew unfiltered thoughts onto the page for 10 minutes. It was free-writing that inspired me to finally learn to type. I've had many adventures in free writing since I started. Like trying to write 1 million words in a year ( I only made it to 130k), or using a voice recorder and transcribing it after the fact. Up until yesterday I would open a notion dock and bullet point whatever was on my mind. Sometimes it's a journal entry, a goal, or working through a work problem. Most of the time it seems i'm writing about writing! Now Im free-writing into Notepd. If you want to learn more about free-writing read Accidental genius by Mark Levy. It's a secret weapon.

    9. Meet with one person a week.

    I'm not a group hangout person. I like quality time with one other creative person. I try to meet with one person a week and have a good conversation. Sometimes I cold email
    interesting people I don't know who live in my town. I landed my last two jobs this way.

    10. Stop eating snacks before bed.

    I don't eat anything good after 8pm. My favorite used to be toast with peanut butter and melted marshmallows. I can drop two or three of them with a whole glass of whole milk without skipping a beat. This is why it's best to have a zero-tolerance policy. A cup of tea and a glass of water with an episode of the office might be boring, but it beats heartburn and IBS.

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