We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; We fall to the level of our training. – Archilochous
Greek philosopher Aristotle once quipped, “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit.” I firmly believe that how you do one thing is how you do everything. We get rewarded in public for what we relentlessly practice in private. At the beginning of the year, I set multiple goals to enhance and build my self-discipline muscle. 2022 is, by far, my most disciplined year ever.
‘Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.’ – Abraham Lincoln
Here are the goals have been able to work on diligently and strategies that have kept me going:
Joining the 5 AM Club
Earlier in the year, I re-read Robin Sharma’s The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life, wherein he introduced the concept of the 5 AM club (The Morning routine of highly productive and successful people). Sharma described the morning routine used by his clients to maximize their productivity, activate their best health and bulletproof their serenity in this age of overwhelming complexity.
Joining The 5 AM Club is the one behaviour that raises every other human behaviour. This regimen is the ultimate needle mover to turn you into an undefeatable model of possibility. The way you begin your day really does determine the extent of focus, energy, excitement and excellence you bring to it. Each early morning is a page in the story that becomes your legacy. Each new dawn is a fresh chance to unleash your brilliance, unprison your potency and play in the big leagues of iconic results. You have such power within you, and it reveals itself most with the first rays of daybreak.
After reading the book, I started waking up at 5 AM daily, and it has made all the difference in my path to achieving my goals and aspirations. I usually schedule the hardest task of the day in my 5 AM routine, such as long-form writing, studying for IT certifications etc.
“Looking at your phone first thing in the morning is like inviting one hundred chatty strangers into your bedroom before you’ve showered, brushed your teeth, fixed your hair. Between the alarm clock and the world inside your phone, you’re immediately overwhelmed with stress, pressure, anxiety. ”
The TIME Framework
My morning routine is also based on a framework I discovered in English author and former Hindu monk Jay Shetty‘s book, Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day. Shetty recommends following a morning routine that is based on an acronym for TIME:
Every morning make some time for:
- Thankfulness. Express gratitude to someone, someplace, or something every day. This includes thinking about it, writing it, and sharing it.
- Insight. Gain insight through reading the paper or a book, or listening to a podcast.
- Meditation. Spend fifteen minutes alone, breathing, visualizing or with sound.
- Exercise. You can do yoga as most monk do, but you can do some basic stretches or a workout.
My daily routine is based on the TIME framework, and I try to plan my day using the framework.
I started learning how to swim for the first time on October 2021, and since then, I have averaged 10-14 hrs of practice time in the swimming pool. I start my morning workout with one hour of swimming (80 laps). I started poorly, but with the power of consistency and understanding the power of “NOT YET,” I kept at it. With self-discipline, perseverance and consistency, I have come to love swimming, and it is one of my favourite activities of all time.
According to my Strava Stats, I have spent 254 hours and 58 minutes in the pool covering over 312 KM in distance in the past 365 days. One of the reasons that have been able to swim this much is that I gamified my swimming. I use the Fini DUO mp3 player while swimming, which allows me to listen to music, audiobooks, podcast and listening to french learning materials while swimming.
I started meditating during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020. I started poorly as usual, but with time I got consistent with it, and it is presently one of my favourite activities for each day. I am presently on a meditating streak that I have not broken since December 27, 2021. I meditate using the Calm Meditation app. I meditate every morning for at least 25-30 minutes using the following guided meditations: Daily Jay – Jay Shetty, Daily Calm – Tamara Levitt, Daily Trip – Jeff Warren.
As of November 25, 2021, I have mediated daily for 25-30 minutes each morning. I did not start out like this as there were lots of false starts but with consistency, perseverance and the end in mind; I have stayed consistent.
I started using the Five minutes Journal during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and it is one of the most effective tools that have made me more consistent and effective daily. Each page in the five minutes journal include the following:
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus
I fill out the five minute journal after meditating and it centers me in quest to have a great day.
In January 2021, I set the following goal:
Goal: Listen to 365 podcasts by December 31st, 2022.
Strategy: Listen to one podcast per day.
As of November 25, 2021, I have listened to one podcast every day. I schedule my podcast listening time every morning while I am working and creating content.
100 Books Reading Challenge
I set the following goal in the beginning of the year
Goal: I read 100 non-fiction books by December 31st, 2022.
I am on course to read the 100 Books as stated. The 100 Books Challenge is a goal have been experimenting with since 2016 and I started documenting my progress from 2020 onwards. Here is my progress report from 2020 to date:
I ran six full marathons (42.2 km) and three 10 KM races in 2022. Here are the marathons I participated in and the finish times. I ran a personal best of 3 hours forty-four minutes at the Beneva Montreal Marathon, and I have run two other sub-four marathons, taking the sub-four times to three in 2022.
- The 2022 BMO Vancouver Marathon – 5:00:31 | Vancouver, British Columbia | May 1st, 2022
- The 2022 Tartan Ottawa International Marathon – 4:37:39 | Ottawa, Ontario | May 29, 2022
- The 2022 Servus Edmonton Marathon – 4:00:20 | Edmonton, Alberta | August 21, 2022,
- The Beneva Montreal Marathon 2022 – 3:44:14 | Montreal, Quebec | September 25, 2022
- The Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2022 – 3:56:14 | Toronto, Ontario | 16 October 2022
- The Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon – 3:55:18 | Hamilton, Ontario | November 6, 2022
- 2022 Toronto Waterfront 10K – June 18, 2022 | 50:02
- 2022 Toronto Carnival Run 10K – July 23, 2022 | 47: 45
- Oasis Toronto Zoo 10K Run – September 17, 2022 | 46:28
According to my Strava running stats, I have run 457.3KM for over 43 hours and 50 minutes in 2022.
In June 2022, I set a goal of participating in my first triathalon in 2023. I started cycling in a bid to achieve this goal and I have been cycling to almost everywhere since I set that goal. According to my Strava cycling stats, I have cycled for 78 hours 56 minutes and covered a distance of 815.6 KM since I started tracking my cycling in June 2022.
I have gone as far cycling for three hours non-stop and it is becoming one of my favourite ways of thinking, listening to audiobooks and long podcasts.
If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all. – Michelangelo Buonarroti
It has not been easy executing most of this goals from joining the 5 AM club, learning to swim, meditation streak (334 days non-stop and counting), Gratitude Journaling,
365 Podcast Listening Challenge, 100 Books Reading Challenge, running Multiple Marathons and cycling. It has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, there some goals that I have not been able to follow through on such as the Magazine Reading challenge.
What have discovered and learned during this my year of self-discipline is that: The hardest part of achieving any goal is starting. As author Les Brown often said: “You don’t have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great”. It is going to be tough but with persistence, endurance and a will to be great..everything is possible.
“Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve.” – Napoleon Hill
Achieving some of these goals have strengthened my resolve to aim for higher aspirations such participating in a triathalon, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, qualifying for the 2024 Boston Marathon among other goals. As Italian sculptor and Renaissance man, Michangelo once quipped ““The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
All the Best in your to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.