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How to Hold Yourself Accountable and Become the Best Version of You

The sun keeps shining even if the clouds do try to hold back its glow

Every morning I have my alarm set for 5 AM. I wake up and have two pints of water before doing a 20-minute stretch routine followed by a breakfast of two eggs, scrambled, crispy kale, avocado, and toast. I'm then showered and out the house for a 7:05 train to work. Once my half-hour journey is over, I head to my favourite coffee shop for a black Americano and a read of my current book.

Work starts at 9 AM, but I'm always there early to set up for the day. Come 17:30, my work day is over. Some days I go to a yoga class between 18:00 and 19:00, and others I get my train straight home, but mostly I go to my coffee shop and have a small cortado while I work on my latest essay for my website. Once I return home, I make my tea for the night, always meat-free and as organic as possible before having an early night to be well-rested to maintain my routine the next day.

OK, so, that isn't my life as it stands, but it's where I want to be to make my life as productive as possible and give me the foundations to get the most out of my days to build my several passions into a lifestyle.

Yes, my alarm is set to 5 AM every morning, but I find it a struggle to get up at that time every day, and more often than not I end up in bed until around 6:15–6:30 and rush around often not fitting in breakfast before I get to work, where I spend extra money on food making up for my lack of motivation. I acknowledge that I haven't started my day off how I have wanted, and often this has a knock-on effect for the rest of my day in terms of productivity, expense, and general mentality. 

It's easy to have an easy life, to not put in that extra time, energy, and work to just glide through life letting your health, goals, and contribution decrease. For some, it's a lack of motivation; for others, it's a fear of pushing yourself to improve and failing; and, for a lot of people, it's simply because they've gone 20, 30, or even 40 years of not having that routine. But I think of an episode of The Minimalist podcast regarding finances. In that podcast, they talk about investing in your future and the ways of doing this, and yes, if you start putting money away or investing money when you're 20, you're going to have a hell of a lot more money to do what you want when you're 65, as opposed to starting to invest and save when you're 40, but if you do start at 40 you're going to have more money than if you start at 50. The point is it's never too late to change your daily routine to invest in your health, productivity, or mental well-being. The most difficult thing is getting started. 

My problem in the past is that I set these goals and come up with these routines which, once I stop doing them for a few days, I think that I've failed, so I give up all hope and go back to my old ways of simply accepting that it's not me.

The key is, yes, to acknowledge that you've not kept that promise to yourself, but tomorrow there's another opportunity to win, and if tomorrow comes and you do stick to your routine then, hell, celebrate that, feel good about it, and say, "Well done, you." Don't wait untill you're doing it each and every day to celebrate the fact you've reached your ideal life, otherwise you're setting yourself up for a big disappointment once you then miss a day. Celebrate the small wins you have on your journey because it's certainly human nature to put ourselves down after the smallest of losses.

If I manage to keep to this routine two or three days a week at the moment then I applaud myself; I make myself realise how much of a change that is from the old me, and, when I don't manage to stick to this routine, yes, I feel bad and, yes, I put myself down, but I remind myself that Rome wasn't built in a day, and Rome also wasn't destroyed in a day despite what some think. So you miss a day of your routine, it doesn't mean that all your hard work the past three days or even 303 days counts for nothing.

Small gradual changes will get you on the right path to sustainable goals, not a complete overhaul.

Just get started!