‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ Aristotle
From all the information I’ve been gathering, if I were to take the practice of minimalism seriously I would have to adopt some new habits and implicitly let go of old ones. The main goal is to make the best use of my time. More if possible.
- Early to bed and early to rise (“Makes a man or woman miss out on the night life.” Morphine): Doubtless the hardest to implement (at the beginning), specially for someone who’s always been a night howl. Since early January I have been getting out of bed no later than 5am. It does feel good to wake up and start the day early. I didn’t discover this ‘truth’ now but rather in those consecutive 4-5 days where I ‘suffered’ from jetlag and witnessed the sun rise because I could not sleep.
The day is longer and I accomplish more. Those ‘extra’ hours in the morning are more productive and used to exercise, read, write, play guitar and then cook breakfast for the family. It’s new habit I have been getting most value from and I’m not going back on this one. Watching the sun rise every morning is also a huge bonus.
My eldest sometimes joins me in welcoming the day and it’s awesome to count cars with her, identify the birds by their sound and watch the course of the sun.
- Meditation: This is the 1st thing I do in the morning (after using the toilet) and spend 5m every day doing it. I use an app called ‘Calm’ and follow a guided meditation programme focusing on breathing and bringing awareness to individual parts of my body. Call it meditation, or considered breathing it’s pretty much the same thing.
- Exercise: This is the 2nd thing I do in my day. As a new year’s resolution I started training to run the Gold Coast Marathon on the 3rd of July. Some of you have heard me say “Epah, running makes no sense at all, except to chase a ball”, but now I am keen to run and exercise more. I now exercise every day after sitting on the front veranda welcoming the day (shocking, I know). I run 3-4 times/week followed by some upper body strengthening exercises, while on the other days I do more of the upper body strengthening. Stretching is essential and I’m planning to have a 1 hour body massage every month -had my 1st a few days ago.
- Diet: Whatever we put in our bodies will have a big say in how it treats us. Before embarking on this minimal trip, I had made a new year’s resolution not to intake any fried food that wasn’t home cooked – though the fried food at home as been minimal. We have been cooking extremely healthy meals with an ever more inclusion of organic (Biologicos) ingredients. We have been cutting on fatty and fried foods and including more fruit and veggies. Breakfast has been porridge based, which I always considered to be infantry food but that can easily become gourmet by adding fruit, nuts, a bit of yoghurt and cinnamon – some people also add a tea spoon of honey.
I have also let go of other habits. Here’s a list of the things I stopped doing:
- Buying coffee on my way to work and the occasional croissant;
- Buying the occasional lunch. I now bring lunch from home every day;
- Going to bed after 23h00m;
- Paying parking. I park further away from the office so the car is outside the “Congestion Area”. It also has the bonus of adding about 3km to my daily walking tally;
- Playing games on the tablet or phone and have significantly reduced my time online on social networking sites;
- Reduced my media intake almost entirely. I haven’t consumed news on TV, online, radio or paper for several weeks now, except for my daily online reading of “A Bola”. If there’s something worth knowing about it’s going to be there or someone will tell me about it.
I do not feel the need to know immediately world news. If I only know who won the American Presidency a week or two after the fact it’s not going to affect my life at all. Only news from mine does that.
Anyway, these changes in my daily practices are doing a lot to improve my health and also provide a way for me to have more enriching and creative time – I am getting a lot of value from these new routines and Cat seems to like the change she sees. Happy wife, happy life.