A Good Life is Habit Forming

6 min read

Overthinking is overwrought. Just a few simple habits will make a great difference throughout the day.

That’s the premise of Amy Landino’s book, “Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life.”

The award-winning YouTube creator, professional speaker and best-selling author co-founded the video marketing firm Aftermarq. She and leading millennial expert, top-rated marketing and brand strategist Chelsea Krost talked about tangible tips and practices to rejuvenate careers and personal life.

“I start with my why,” Landino said. “Goals and resolutions are awesome, and I’ve got a bunch. But if I don’t know why I go after the life I want, none of it matters.

“I’m also extremely focused on the good habits I’ve developed both in business and personally,” she said. “The small things I have built over time make big things happen.”

Krost has these goals top of mind:

  • Personal Self: Wellness, self-love, patience, relish the simple things and prepare for family expansion.
  • Professional Self: Launch new podcast, create next LinkedIn course, create greatness with coaching clients and collaborating more.

“It’s less focus on goals and resolutions,” Krost said. “I want more focus on gratitude, appreciation and being present.”

Getting overly concerned about preparation will help ditch new habits. The time to begin is now. Tweak as you go, but you have to start in the first place.

“Step. Away. From. The cellphone,” Landino said. “We need to be in tune with our thoughts and take breaks from digital tools. Then we can think about the things we want and why. There will be so much more clarity behind deciding on which habits are worth starting.

“Sustaining habits is all about knowing why they matter to us,” she said. “From there, execution will happen when you take reasonable first steps — not too much at one time — and schedule them to happen. Make appointments with yourself.”

In her words, that’s “calendar blocking for the win.”

“It takes time to figure out what you’re passionate about,” Landino said. “Passion can only push you so much when the journey gets tough.”

Internet Exile

Krost favors short-term cord cutting.

“I am all about a tech detox every now and then — especially on the weekends,” she said. “It’s so important to reboot and recharge.

“If you’re going to seriously commit to something new, take serious time to do a think tank and evaluate every piece of the puzzle,” Krost said. “Don’t rush the process to the point where you get overwhelmed and don’t follow through. Preparation equals success.”

Landino urges people to rewire themselves to master their mornings and take charge of the day. Accept the morning rather than fight it. Start each day with an exclamation mark, adding accents along the way.

“It doesn’t have to be a rewiring, just a change of priorities,” she said. “You don’t have to be a morning person to start the day on your own terms. When that matters to you, you will master your mornings.

“One big tip I am a firm believer in is to stop sleeping with your phone,” Landino said. “Leave it in another room. I have a cellphone-free bed. Seriously. It’s the best. Good night, phone. I need to fall asleep.”

That helps clear her mind.

“Being without my phone for 30 minutes before bed and not looking at it in the morning — other than to turn my alarm off — lets me have a lot more clarity of my priorities and mindset in the morning. It makes me much more excited to get out of bed.”

For Krost’s batteries, it’s communication to the death.

“I started to not charge my phone on Friday nights last year — when I can,” she said. “This way, at some point it dies on Saturday, and I am simply off the grid. It’s rebellious, freeing and it brings me total peace.”

To help master the morning, know before you go to bed what things need to get done the next day. Then you’re more accepting of them and ready to get going when your eyes open. On rare occasions, you might have dreampt up inspiration through the night.

Habit Forming

Of course, Landino wrote the book about five simple habits.

“The first habit is to decide,” she said. “The power of decision making is what will move you forward quickly in life — especially if you don’t spend too much time dwelling or going back and forth.

“In the case of your morning routines, decide why this is important to you, and be extremely honest with yourself,” Landino said. “Sometimes our why isn’t pretty to other people, but it’s enough to get you out of bed when the alarm goes off.”

Deciding has no snooze alarm.

“Making a decision intentionally and quickly is a powerful habit,” Landino said. “The better you get at it, the more clarity you will have.”

The second habit is to defy.

“It’s inevitable,” Landino said. “There are going to be obstacles that mess up our morning routine. These range from internal — mindset — to external — live-in family members.

“When you practice anticipating and preparing for obstacles that will come your way, you get better in the mornings and throughout the day,” she said.

After decide and defy comes rise.

“No one needs to be told how to put their feet on the ground and walk away from their bed,” Landino said. “We know how to do that. But when you take the necessary self-care steps, that process is easier.

“The big idea here is to get the sleep you need — and good sleep,” she said. “Factor in the time it takes to get that, respect it, and follow through. Waking up early doesn’t matter if you don’t get healthy sleep.”

Rise naturally leads to the fourth habit: shine.

“No matter what you choose to do with your mornings, choose your best routine,” Landino said. “You need at least one thing for movement, one thing for mindfulness and one thing for mastery. That’s a good morning.”

Community Building

Putting all that together leads to Habit 5: thrive.

“These are the steps we take after a good morning that help us fulfill the priorities and goals we have,” Landino said. “Create a community like Chelsea has. Leverage calendar blocking. Connect with new people. Reflect on your accomplishments.

“If you care about taking your life to the next level, it only starts in the morning,” she said. “You need to follow through on those good vibes the rest of the day.”

Krost is fluid with her mornings.

“One habit I have formed is to start the day outside in nature, usually with a cup of coffee,” she said. “I ground myself in the morning by walking barefoot in the grass in my pajamas. Immersed in nature is my happy place.

“A good morning — not in a rush — sets me up for greatness,” Krost said. “A bad morning — that starts with a rush — can really throw me off for the rest of the day.”

Daily rituals help put the mundane parts of starting up on autopilot. As you unthinkingly do rituals, you can set your mind on the most important things coming up.

“Rituals are so important,” Landino said. “If nothing else, you show you can follow through. Sometimes we just need to prove to ourselves that we can keep up with something small so we can move to something big.

“These rituals help you discover the things that you love the most,” she said. “If you like to read and you never have time, having that ritual will make you feel more in tune with yourself and more fulfilled knowing that you’re doing what you love.”

Specifically, Landino has her favorite rituals to help her thrive throughout the day:

  • Skincare and stretching. Best face forward at 4:30 a.m. I count this as movement.
  • Morning pages, Daily Stoic reading and lemon water for mindfulness.
  • Coffee and goal review.
  • Eat the frog. My first big task of the day for mastery.

Morning stretch

Krost has mastered her own rituals:

  • Coffee, water and protein.
  • Start my day outside moving with yoga, stretching, walking and playing with my dog.
  • Pull an Animal Medicine Card — today was butterfly — or check my horoscope to give me insight and perspective.
  • Make a daily checklist.
  • Play mood music, vibe out and lock in.

“Prepping yourself the night before is the best,” Krost said. “You wake up feeling so much less stressed and already empowered to take charge of the day.”

One secret to getting more done in less time is envisioning what you need to do and how you’ll do it. That takes away the excuse for last-minute preparation. Jump right in and move the elephant out of the room.

“Have unequivocal focus,” Landino said. “If you want to get something done, stop trying to get millions of things done. Get rid of distractions. They slow you down more than they enlighten you.”

For consistency in blogging or vlogging, create a realistic schedule and stick to it.

“Reverse engineer the goal,” Landino said. “If you want to post videos one time per week, outline all the steps and then schedule them. Batch whatever you can so you can get off the hamster wheel and stay creative.”

Krost advises taking one day a month to commit to 30 days worth of content. This includes graphics, quotes, blogs, video, selfies, polls and themes such as #MondayMotivation.

Bulk post prep is everything when staying consistent, not to mention it gives you back so much time in your day-to-day routine,” she said.

Productivity blocks

People spend too much time thinking rather than doing, which kills productivity. They let perfection be the enemy of good and never get anything done.

“Outside opinions kill everything,” Landino said. “We allow other people to decide our destiny because avoiding confrontation seems better. It’s easier, not better.”

Krost’s antidote to paralysis by analysis is to research, prep, execute, review, refine and repeat — knowing “everyone has to start somewhere first.”

“Go after the life you want,” Landino said. “Can’t stop. Won’t stop. If you have staying power in what you care about, you will find the success you desire. This has always been true for me because I refuse to give up what I love.”

To that, Krost added her own mantra: “You are thriving. Release anything that doesn’t serve your best self. The opportunities ahead are limitless. You are your only limit.”

Jim Katzaman Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services. A writer by trade, he graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He enlisted in the Air Force and served for 25 years in public affairs – better known in the civilian world as public relations. He also earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Public Affairs. Since retiring, he has been a consultant and in the federal General Service as a public affairs specialist. He also acquired life and health insurance licenses, which resulted in his present affiliation with Largo Financial Services. In addition to expertise in financial affairs, he gathers the majority of his story content from Twitter chats. This has led him to publish about a wide range of topics such as social media, marketing, sexual harassment, workplace trends, productivity and financial management. Medium has named him a top writer in social media.

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