This morning, I woke from over nine hours of sleep feeling incredibly rested. And I paused and reflected on how amazing that is—how that much sleep totally changes my emotional stability, my patience, my energy levels, and my productivity during the day.
Now, this wasn’t an anomaly for me. I get nine or so hours of sleep every night. And it’s incredibly rare that I ever sleep less than eight hours. It’s been this way for me for years now. It’s a non-negotiable.
Just like seeing my therapist once a week is a non-negotiable. Quite frankly, I couldn’t do the work that I do without it. And eating relatively healthy is a non-negotiable. Too much sugar, and I’d crash and burn way before I could finish all my work. And having free time in my schedule is a non-negotiable. And having accountability and support calls with certain colleagues each week is a non-negotiable.
Because, if I didn’t do all of this, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. And I certainly couldn’t do the work that I do.
Years ago, I made a list of all of the habits that a successful person—in my subjective definition of that term—would do. Things like sleeping a minimum of eight hours a night, being in a loving relationship, owning a beautiful home that inspires him, working with a therapist, working with an energy healer, having housecleaners, having a team to support him, forming an LLC, hiring an accountant—stuff like that.
Now, I’ll be honest—at the time, some of these really felt like pipedreams. They weren’t realistic in any sense. But they were the time of support I truly felt I needed to be my ‘successful’ self. To be emotionally balanced and productive and happy. So I set out to start making them happen.
I changed the way I eat. I changed the way I slept. I adopted habits that made me feel good. And something really amazing happened. I started to feel more like myself. Because I was giving myself a context that helped me thrive. As I am. Not as somebody else. Since it was according to my subjective definition of success.
And a compound interest thing kind of happened. At first I was the guy who prioritized his food and sleep. And then, if I was the guy who could prioritize his food and sleep, surely I could give myself free time during the day. And then if I was the guy who could prioritize his food and sleep and have free time during the day, then I could be more productive. And then if I was the guy who could prioritize his food and sleep and have free time during the day and be more productive, then of course I could create programs I really wanted to create. And so on and so forth. Until my habits became self-reinforcing. And everything from my sleep schedule to my relationship to the work that I did made me feel more like myself.
And when I compare my lifestyle today to the one I had say six or seven years ago, I’m floored. Because I’m a different person. Quite simply from the habits that I keep.
Habits change lives. They’re the routines that we’ve created and cemented over time. In actuality, they’re the actual ‘living our lives’ part of our lives. The stuff in between the big monumental moments. The stuff we forget to even look at.
If I didn’t have an amazing support network—including a loving relationship, incredible family, great friends, insightful colleagues and team, and therapist—then I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am today.
If I didn’t have an incredible self-care routine—including my ideal sleep schedule, eating routine, physical activity, meditation, baths, and free time to explore new interests—then I wouldn’t be able to do the work that I do today.
If I didn’t have the profound containers—like a home that inspires me, work that I love, partnerships (romantic, platonic, and professional) that hold space for my growth and even this blog, then I wouldn’t keep evolving.
And it didn’t happen overnight. Most of it—like living in this home or having this business or even getting engaged in Italy and married in Aruba—felt impossible. But I didn’t need to know how I was getting there. I still don’t need to know how I’m getting to where I’m going. All I need to do is figure out what are those habits and routines of that person, and then slowly—as able—add one in at a time. That’s it. And life takes care of the rest.
It’s amazing what a new set of habits will do for you. It just might change your life.