I’ve been on my grind this month. No booze, working hard and hitting the gym heavy. It feels fantastic and now I want to share some of my daily habits with you. It took me a while to perfect my daily to do list so hopefully you find some value in this.

Every night I sit down and plan for the next day. I make a detailed schedule and TO DO List. Of course, I don’t always stick to the exact schedule, and I don’t always get everything done. But I always make sure I check the following six things off my list.

Gratitude

Every morning I have a ritual. While I’m sipping my first cup of coffee I think of three things I’m grateful for. This is extremely easy for me. I could easily name 50 things at any given moment. But I just make it quick and simple. Just think of three things.

This can be literally anything. For example, today I walked into a cafe and the pretty young girl working there smiled at me. Then she whispered to her friend “dep trai.” Which means “handsome man.” This made me feel good! I’m grateful for that.

I was grateful that today my schedule was packed with things that I wanted to do. Not things I had to do. I am self employed and living life on my own terms instead of being trapped at a dead end job I despise. I’m grateful for that.

As I was sitting at this cafe, I saw a huge lizard climb up a palm tree outside. Suddenly, it jumped off the tree and scurried through the grass. It was like some shit out of National Geographic. I thought to myself WOW how cool is that? Where I’m from there are no palm trees and no lizards. What a great experience. I’m grateful I got to see that.

This simple ritual is an easy way to start off the day on a positive note. It’s impossible to feel depressed and grateful at the same time. Next time you are feeling down in the dumps, start thinking of things you are grateful for. It can be anything. Big or small. Whether it’s the fact that you’re filthy rich and retired or maybe it’s just the delicious bowl of noodles you just ate. Give it a shot sometime.

Create

In my “to do” list it says “CREATE.” This is basically work time. But if you’re retired then I guess you can call it “mental stimulation.” All men need some sort of goals or purpose in life. Maybe you have a job you enjoy or maybe you are building a business. Maybe you’re just trying to learn a new skill such as martial arts or photography.

At the moment, my “create” slot is filled by writing. This is the career I’m pursuing at the moment. I schedule time to write in the late morning after I’ve had a coffee or two. I set the bar low with a minimum of 1,000 words which is easy for me. But this usually ends up being 3,000 or even 5,000 words when I’m in the zone. (Or chugging coffees.)

If you’re retired or living the dream of passive income then I salute you. We all hope to be there one day. But I still think it’s important to do something every day for mental stimulation. Maybe you can learn a new language or take up chess. Or try to build a website, monetize it and then sell it a year later. Whatever you’re interested in.

 

expat life in Thailand cost of living

Meditate

After a solid block of work (create) time then it’s time to decompress a bit. My mind is usually racing and my body is tense from sitting at the computer for several hours. After a quick stretch, I will sit down to meditate.

I’ve been trying to meditate for several months now. It’s still hard for me… But I’m slowly getting better at it.

I usually set my alarm for ten minutes. Then I sit quietly and focus on my breathing. It’s still really tough to quiet my neurotic thoughts but I’m slowly improving. I find that after meditating I feel refreshed, as if I just took a nap. It’s good to take a little time to clear your mind each day.

After a while you start to notice positive side effects. For example, when something stressful happens you can sit back and analyze the situation instead of just reacting off emotions. I have a bit of an explosive temper that has gotten me into trouble in the past. I find meditation helps with this. You might find it helps you too. If you meditate then please leave a comment and let me know how you’re doing with it.

Fitness

After my quick meditation session it’s time for fitness. Three days a week I lift weights. On off days from the gym I’ll just take a walk. I like going to a park, putting on the head phones and listening to some great audiobooks as I take a stroll.

If hardcore strength training isn’t your thing, (it should be) then you can go swimming, do yoga or play some kind of sport. The point is you should get some sort of physical exercise every day.

Living a sedentary lifestyle is terrible for your body and your mind. We all want to look ripped for the ladies and be strong enough to knock a mother fucker out if necessary. But more importantly, we all want to feel good. You need that daily exercise to give you energy and virility.

Some days when I’m feeling down in a funk I’ll hit the weights hard for 45 minutes. Then on the way home something strange happens. Suddenly I’m smiling at people. Laughing and joking around with the locals. Singing along to music. Those endorphins start rushing through my buddy and it’s like I’m high on life! 😀

good fucking books

Read

I make sure to read for at least thirty minutes each day. I enjoy reading so it usually goes for an hour or more, but that 30 minutes I get in no matter what. I have the kindle app on my phone so I’m carrying around a bunch of great books in my pocket. Click here for one of my favorites reads, As A Man Thinketh by James Allen.

I read a quote somewhere that said, “we only grow because of the people we meet and the books we read.” Some of the smartest, bravest, most successful human beings who ever lived have shared their timeless wisdom in books. These books are available for us to instantly download for a few dollars. What an amazing time to be alive!

Don’t like reading? Here’s a tip. Try audio books. Whether you’re in the gym, in a taxi, commuting to work, walking in the park, shaving, cooking, taking a shit, you can listen to an audio book.

Relationships

This is a big one. I’ve been neglecting this part of my life for a while and I’m trying to improve on it this year. Every day I do something to strengthen my relationships with the people I love.

For example, I recently wrote down a list off all the people in my life that are important to me. Then I made it a point to text one of them every day. I will just shoot them a quick text and say “what’s up! Long time no speak. How’s life?” Then we usually have a quick chat and catch up and things.

Could be family, could be close friends I haven’t talked to in years. Sometimes I’ll just surprise them with a Skype call and they’re always happy to hear from long lost Skins.

I’m a loner out here. I don’t really have any close friends and I spend most of the day trapped in my own little world. There has been days, weeks, even months when I haven’t talked to anyone besides food vendors or girls who don’t speak much English.

There was a period of time when I felt like I was slowly losing my mind… Spending all your time alone or speaking broken English with bar girls is not the most mentally stimulating lifestyle. I think quality social interaction is important for your mental health and well being.

Thankfully, I built an awesome forum full of like minded guys to chat with. Click here to join us!

Maybe you like to play sports with a group of friends. Or maybe you just want to drink beers and argue about politics with other expats. Whatever it is, you should make an effort to build some quality relationships. If you are somewhat introverted in your home country, it’s very possible you will become a complete loner when you’re in a foreign country. Try to avoid becoming a hermit by hanging out with cool positive people.

So that’s it guys. Six simple habits I do every day. The beauty of this list is that I can bang it all out in three hours if I need to. Of course, I usually spend a lot more time on these activities. But even if I do the bare minimum I feel like I’m living a healthy, positive and productive lifestyle.

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-Skins