This is the time of year when I start looking into the New Year and begin thinking about what I’ll do differently in the coming year. If you do the same thing year after year, you’ll get the same results. That’s why I am always looking for new things to try that will upgrade my life.
Last year at this time, I was having the same conversation with myself. It’s why I decided to sign up for the Optimize.me program that is put out by Brian Johnson.
I was introduced to Optimize by my podcast guest Bryan McFarland. From there, I subscribed to the stoic lessons, plus ones, etc.; and I was getting a lot out of the content. Bryan told me that they were running a special on their 10-month program. I took a look at it, and I liked that there was a video aspect to it as well as worksheets. It felt like just the thing I needed to do in 2022 to see growth in my personal development–it was a gut feeling type of thing that I’m trying to pay more attention to.
Before we continue–important–this recap is based on my experience and takeaways. When you are reading, please filter it through your lens and how you might be able to apply it to your life and/or business.
OK, so the program has a series of videos, worksheets, and group coaching calls every week. I wasn’t able to join the weekly coaching call because of my schedule, but I found a lot of value in the videos and worksheets.
Here’s a laundry list of things I picked up from the course. I’m sharing here because I hope these concepts will help bring awareness around some of these ideas, and you can incorporate them into your own personal development if they speak to you.
1. Flip the Switch
One of the first things we covered in the course was flipping the switch. Basically, it means that when crap happens, you bring yourself back to center … and you don’t let the problems of life consume you. Flipping the switch is simply a mindset shift to, “I can deal with this.”
When I start feeling overwhelmed, I ask myself what I have to do to stop feeling this way. For me, it’s been to get out of bed, exercise, and take action on my business. When I put in a good day’s worth of work, exercise, and eat well, I feel better. Taking a deep breath, and incorporating a “bring it on” mindset helps too.
This concept isn’t really groundbreaking, but it has helped me. When you start feeling overwhelmed, instead of letting the feelings take control, ask yourself what you need to do to center yourself again.
2. Breathing the Right Way
I have always been a mouth breather. I didn’t know it was a bad thing until I took the course. When you breathe through your mouth, you’re not able to fully oxygenate your blood. Instead, you should be breathing through your nose.
When I catch myself breathing through my mouth, I switch to breathing through my nose. Even though I don’t remember to do this all of the time, I’m already seeing a difference. I measure my blood oxygen levels with the Whoop band, and I’ve seen my percentages increase.
Breathing through your nose puts more oxygen in your bloodstream, and that’s a good thing for your health. This can be an easy health change for you to make … bottom-line is that when you notice that you’re breathing through your mouth, switch and breathe through your nose.
3. Awareness of Personal Growth
Sure … I’ve always been into personal growth, but I have a greater sense of it now. I’m much more aware of how important personal growth is. Also, I’ve got a lot of new tools and mindset shifts that I can incorporate into my life.
There were lessons that focused on every aspect of life. Now I’m more aware of what I’m eating, how much I’m moving, the way I feel, etc. Overall, I feel that I’m more equipped for growing myself 1% better every day.
One thing we were told to do in the course was to name the better version of ourselves. Brian called this your Optimus You. I named the better version of myself LEW because it reminds me to focus on how I want to show up across love, energy, and work.
4. Setting Intentions
In the course, we talked about setting intentions for each day, and that really resonated with me. So, as part of my morning routine, I write down my intentions and how I want to show up across LEW.
Here is what I write:
Love: warm, present, encouraging
Energy: abundant grateful, zestful
Work: confident, calm, ambitious
I choose to journal these same things every morning because it really cements it in for me. The basic idea for you to journal about your intentions is to remind yourself (daily) about how you want to show up in the world.
My goal is to hit 7,000 steps every day and do 30 minutes of brisk walking. I installed the Google Fit app on my phone to track it. What you track, improves!
Also, this year I started doing Krav Maga two times a week to increase my movement. It’s also really brought me out of my comfort zone. Bonus!
I encourage you to at least commit to walking every day, even if you don’t have time for anything else. Make this a non-negotiable and you’ll see health benefits based on what the studies show.
Not much has changed for me in this area, but they had a full section on eating. I’m pretty good at eating a lot of salads and making healthy swaps, and taking Total Human Vitamins every day.
Actually, that’s not true … I did make a few changes to what I am eating. For one thing, I started eating Perfect Bars. These are healthy protein bars that are refrigerated because of the ingredients. The one I usually eat is chocolate peanut butter … and it’s good.
Another thing I did was swap out my morning coffee for Early Bird. It’s an alternative to coffee … it has caffeine + electrolytes + brain nutrients. Read my full review of the Early Bird drink here.
7. Power Pose
Another tweak I made to my morning routine is to stand in a power pose (think standing tall like Superman) for 5 minutes while meditating and breathing through the nose. I did this to help remind myself to breathe through my nose throughout the day. It’s a great combination of breathing through your nose and standing in a power pose … and the power pose increases testosterone too!
8. Nighttime Routine
Alrighty … I’ve failed miserably thus far at implementing a nighttime routine beyond that of gratitude practice with my girls. Brian has a full section of the course dedicated to implementing a digital sunset an hour before bedtime to help ease yourself into sleep. While I haven’t been able to put it in place yet, I absolutely grasp the benefits logically, and I’ve been playing around with an easy digital sunset 15 minutes before bed to form the habit.
9. Gratitude Practice and Celebrating Wins
I do gratitude practice every day and celebrate my wins … but I’ve really doubled down on this practice, especially with my daughters. We do a nighttime routine together, and I ask them every day what they are grateful for. And when they are doing something important, I recognize it.
Side note – celebrating wins is crucial.
10. Greater Belief
I have a much greater belief that life can be hard, and we need to be equipped for it. I’ve often said that personal development is how you train to go through hard things in life. The course confirmed this, and I’m even more committed now to doing the Morning Upgrade podcast and writing blogs.
We’re only on this planet for a short period of time, so we should be fulfilled while we’re here. Going through the Optimize training gave me a renewed belief that the path I’m on is the right thing. It’s better equipped me to support you now and later down the road as the mission of Morning Upgrade grows.
In the course, Brian talked over and over about OMMS…obstacles make me stronger. When you develop the mindset that challenges in life are there to help you grow, you’re much more likely to be able to push through them.
I’m trying to get to the point where, when I face challenges, I automatically flip the switch and push through the issues. Over the past few months, I’ve had some hard situations to push through. Instead of letting the challenges of life trigger me, I’m asking myself what I need to do to resolve them and then taking action.
12. Coaching Others
When I’m speaking to other people, as in my Mastermind or with my kids, I’ve taken more of a coaching approach with them. I find myself going into what I’ve learned in the course. Not in a preaching sense, but more in a “Have you considered this?” approach.
You generally don’t want to “should” on people. Instead, share what’s worked for you based on your experience.
I hope the things I’ve learned in the course help inspire you to make changes in your own life. I hope it’ll get you thinking about how you can make small changes that will add up to big wins over time.
Life is a collection of experiments and experiences … go get ’em!