One of the hardest things in life is controlling it. Too often, we hear people say, ‘live your life, don’t let it live you’. It’s a good line, but day to day, having to figure out ways to make that a reality is tough. Between work, family, friends, and the everyday challenges we face, taking back control to find the path to what I call ‘Efficient Living’ is tough.
Two years ago, when I began to formulate how to bring Pramek back to the public, I realized I had to embody it more than I was. I was so tied up in writing and researching that I had done what people always do – I had slacked off on the physical side. But, I realized that in doing so, I was ceding a part of my life to not be out of my control. Controlling the body and controlling the mind are one in the same – they are symbiotic. But, they can quickly become parasitic, as the body hurts the mind is distracted, conversely, when the mind is distracted, it tends to skip the physical upkeep needed and causes problems.
The vicious cycle…and here is what I did to break that cycle.
1. Wake up 30 minutes early.
It seems simple, but the bed is a detriment to your day…it makes us waste time we are awake, it makes us run late. Wake up 30 minutes early and get out of bed, turn on the lights, and control when your day begins.
2. Make your warm up 20 minutes of your early wake up.
When you’ve woken up early, start your day with your warm up. I use the warm up in our videos, working the toes to the nose and out to the fingers. Get your body off to the right start in 20 minutes, and if you have a nagging injury or something that is sore or not clicking, take that extra 10 minutes to work on those spots.
3. Take control mid-day.
The middle of the day is the most stressful for me, as I reflect on what I’ve done but what I have to do. I take the physical part of this stress out with another warm up. Fit it in…go to the company bathroom and close the door, do your warm up again. Focus on your tension areas, like your shoulders and neck. Do not let the day control your body so you can focus the mind.
4. Actually end your work day prior to the gym in 10 minutes.
Never work out angry, and never work out unless committed – you never want to start working out in a state you can overexert yourself. Make part of your workout something more…make it mental. When you take your protein powder, your pre-workout, before your stretch, before class prep, make a list of the day…5 things you have accomplished, and 5 things you didn’t. List them out on paper. I never let my day control my class or work out.
I would go one step further, and do this before playing with kids, eating dinner with family or friends, anything that you need to focus on and need to do so in a clear mind and body. You will be surprised how your mind changes when you’ve listed out the day…you can relax knowing you have the next step….
5. Reapproach your list before bed.
Do not let the day control your sleep – it’s the most important part of functioning properly. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but sleep – everyone must sleep or they can’t function. Before bed, take your list back out, and then look at the 5 things you didn’t accomplish. In 10 minutes write brief notes about what to do tomorrow to fix those 5 things first thing in the morning when you get to work.
This is a small part of a book I am writing right now…but part of quality of life is controlling your life enough to ensure quality. These are five small…small…things you can do, but you will notice immediate results.
Taking back control of your day is never easy…it’s tough. We are conditioned to let life live us, but when we take back control in these 5 things, we can begin to develop a habit of changing our lives to reduce stress, enjoy it more physically and mentally, and most importantly, controlling out lives.