Yesterday I listened to Joe Rogan’s conversation with Steven Pressfield (author of the War of Art). It’s a brilliant, wide ranging conversation on many things. What stood out for me, was their discussion on why it’s important to have rules for yourself.
I’m a big fan of having rules for my life. In fact, the rules I have for myself are now becoming deeply ingrained habits. When I describe them to others, I often get a surprised look. I mean, I get it – it really does sound like a lot when I say them out loud. But, it also doesn’t seem like a lot to me, because I’ve become normalised to it.
- I don’t drink alcohol.
- I sleep over six and a half hours a day.
- I eat within an eight hour window (usually between 1PM and 9PM) – fasting for sixteen hours
- I drink a maximum of two cups of caffeine a day, and never after midday
- I drink at least two litres of water every day
- I take supplements every day (vitamin c, multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin d, quercetin, zinc and magnesium)
- I eat over 120 grams of protein a day
The above rules are virtually non negotiable. I hold myself accountable to them and track them daily.
I say virtually non negotiable, because I’m not perfect. Shooting for perfection isn’t realistic. It’s also not how I want to live my life. The 80/20 is where you find the sweet spot for most of the rewards – but with the flexibility to have some fun and stay sane too. It took me a very long time to learn that.
My life is so much better for having these rules. I feel great. I’m in good health. I’m at a weight I am happy with. I have better mental health. Overall, they help contribute to a happier and more productive life.
But, what’s important is I know my rules. I know why I have each one. I don’t have to go through the mental gymnastics each day – wondering and debating what types of things I should probably do. I don’t have to wait for, or rely on hitting rock bottom to find the motivation to do these things. I just do them. It’s who I am.
So, whilst on the surface it looks like a lot of discipline, it’s actually incredibly liberating. As Jocko Willink says, Discipline = Freedom.
I’ve also started to re-read Daily Rituals: How Artists Work this week. What another great reminder of how important rules and routines are. It’s not a coincidence that some of the most successful and productive artists of all time had self-imposed daily rituals and rules for their life.
So, here’s the big question. Do you have any rules for yourself?
If you don’t, consider coming up with one rule that would help you live a happier and more productive life. Commit to it. Track it. Keep plugging away until it literally becomes who you are. You may just find this becomes an inflection point that leads you towards many other positive changes in your life.
And as usual, if you want any help with anything like this, hit me up.
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