Article of the Month

My Life is My Message - Foundational Habits of Stephen Melnick
By Stephen Melnick

My purpose in sharing this with other people is to hope that others may benefit from looking at how I have created up to 3 hours a day of time to myself to enjoy things that I truly doing and do productive activities I might not find the time to do. I find after I complete my early morning schedule that no matter what awaits me afterwards I am better prepared for it. There is a feeling of wholeness and completeness and I am ready to deal with my family and/or work situations and/or life situations.

I hope by looking at how I have been able to implement changes that you will get some ideas or motivation to create your own foundation habits. For each of us, our life is our message. So what are the rules you live by and what is your message?

My clients' favourite reply is "I do not have the time". I would like to do an exercise program but I do not have the time because I am too busy. It is too hard for me to make changes. This is almost the same reason (excuse) most people make for not implementing a change or a goal.Yet the average American spends almost 5 hours per day watching television (average 34 hours a week 1). The average American over 65 watches an average of 48 hours per week of television. Why it's practically a full time job!

Ultimately we have to make the time to do the things which are important to us. Somehow successful people always find a way to create the time to do things and other people just get stuck in habits that either they are unable or unwilling to change. One of my favourite quotes on time is from Earl Nightgale:

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."

Earl Nightingale

For myself, I do not enjoy watching any television. During my childhood I came from a home where the television was on from early in the morning to late in the evening. By getting up earlier I know I will have the opportunity to do activities which a are meaningful and productive for me.

One of the most important lessons I learned in life is the need to get up early and start the day out right for me. I usually get up at between 4am and 5 am. Bedtime is usually between 10pm and 12 midnight. I do not take naps or take rests. Using the schedule below I get 3 very special hours to myself everyday. I find this time alone invaluable and the meaning and enjoyment I get out of my time alone cannot be described in words.

I usually make small rule changes and implement the changes over a 30 day period so they become a habit.

Foundation points of my life

1. Get up between 4 and 5am

2. Morning meditation (1 hour)

3. Morning stretching (15 - 30 minutes). Started after age 50 - not able to run without the stretching. Stretching also helps deepen the meditation.

4. Green smoothie for breakfast, and left over smoothie taken to work and sipped throughout the day. This has taken the place of coffee for me and helped to kick the caffeine habit.It also is the foundation of my diet.

5. Run 3 times per week regardless of the weather or where I am . I run between 45 minutes and 1 hour per training session.

6. No Television shows. No news from the television

7. Watching a movie only allowed on Friday night, Saturday night or a holiday or vacation.

Each of the foundation points is a separate topic by itself and will be covered in future articles.

There are still foundation points I am working on implementing. Ultimately I want to get up at 4:00am daily 7 days a week. There are periods where I do get up at 4am daily but I have not been able to make this a permanent habit yet.

I also want to do 1 hour of creative writing daily for my websites and lectures. I find early in the morning is the best time for me to write because I am fresh and have my best ideas. I am working on implementing this goal.

That's it for this article,
Until next time,


[1] David Hinckley, "Americans spend 34 hours a week watching TV, according to Nielsen numbers", New York Daily News, September 19, 2012, Section Showbiz