Start With Art

Over the past few weeks, I have formed two new habits to kick-start my day. One of them is Exercising. I had tried it before, but I was never disciplined. Two things have helped in changing that: 

  • I have a designated trigger to exercise - brushing my teeth. Choosing a daily activity as a trigger to another one is a proven technique to form a new habit. As soon as I am done brushing, I know that the next thing I have to do is exercise. There is no struggle to find the time or the right mood, since the moment after brushing arrives every day.

Recommended reading on forming new habits: Leo Babauta's book Zen Habits.

  • I ignore my mind - What I mean by this is that I get on the exercise mat on an autopilot mode. I don't let my mind rationalise and tell me to skip a day. There are days when it tells me that I am tired or taking a break just this one day wouldn't hurt. But, I have learnt to ignore it. It sounds simple, but is powerful. I have written about it earlier in the post The One skill to stick to your resolutions.

My exercise regime isn't too fancy by any measure. It resembles the popular 7-minute workout with a fair measure of stretching exercises on top. Additionally, I do a few stretches specifically for my upper back since I spend most of my waking hours on a chair.

But, this post is not about exercising. It is about what I do next - 

I read a book.

It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it has become one of the most important activities of my day. I call this start with art - Begin your day with reading a good book for whatever amount of time you can spare. I do it for about an hour and it has improved my life considerably. Allow me to explain how.

A good book fills me with inspiration and a desire to do something great myself. There have been many times when I read a page or two and the sheer beauty of the language spurred me on to write something of my own. I would then promptly close the book and sit down to write at a furious pace. New ideas would crash against the walls of my brain racing each other to be the first ones to appear on the blank page. 

Reading a nice book lifts you up and propels you into action. I recommend reading good literature in the morning. Life stories of great men and women isn't a bad choice either.

You could have chosen 'doing' versus 'consuming' art. If you can do that, go for it. But, my morning reading is like a cup of coffee which flicks on a light inside me. This 'consumption' makes the 'doing' easier.

The end of my exercise triggers the start with art. And my sheer love for reading has come in handy to form this habit. If you need suggestions, here's my reading list.

Give it a shot. You have everything to gain. And do tell if it works for you. Do you find yourself filled with more energy and endeavor to grab the day by its balls and carpe the fucking diem? I would love to hear if you have any other method to start the day that works for you.

Cover Image via Unsplash

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