In the military, we were ordered to shine our boots and press our uniform every morning. I thought it was superficial. “Why do we need to do that if we’re just going to be rolling around in mud all day?”
It didn’t make sense so I fought the system.
Little did I know how much I suffered being the rebel. Ironically, I haven’t cut myself much slack about it either, as if the little angel on my shoulder were actually an unrelenting drill sergeant spitting in my ear.
“You need to get squared-away soldier!”
Recently, I’ve started to loathe a little less that inner voice about the importance of routine, going through the motions to “Look, act and think like a soldier.”
Despite being tired and beat up at the end of the day, making an effort to “look like a soldier,” is a small goal, but the steps taken to achieve that goal build momentum for success in the thinking and acting stages, that is, actually becoming and being a soldier.
That extra “umph” exercises muscles of self-discipline that buy us a moment, no matter what happened during day, or will happen in the next, to calm the mind, reflect, reset and prepare for the next.
When you succeed on a small task as you start your day, and over and over, it invites positive feedback, whether from receiving and appreciating praise or affirmations from self, others or our environment – a boost of can-do, if anything, on a hard day.
On a good day, when things start to go right, that boost might just be enough to turn into a can of whoop-ass. As they say “Rinse. Repeat.”
Exercised enough, the appetite for momentum grows, and our disposition changes completely. In a chaotic world of uncertainty, where things may not always make sense, the internalization of security, control and confidence ensures us that no matter how out-of-control things may seem, enables us to stay calm and drive on knowing we at least in control of ourselves, and can handle anything that might come our way.
Approaching a daily task with a positive attitude is harder for some, but many agree that one factor as minor as “getting up on the right side of the bed” can make or break your success on any given day.
Since I tossed the army boots, I’ve never really adopted any new routines, but as I catch up in life and have started to do the things I’ve always wanted to, it seems like a hard morning run followed by a dip in the pool or lake (the colder the better) gives way to some pretty amazing results.
Sometimes, it doesn’t seem realistic to do that every day. For now, a quiet stretch or cup of tea will have to do.
What does it for you?