by Tony Gjokaj July 27, 2020 10 min read

Depression in my life resulted in me always wanting more. I would learn so much believing that it would make me happy, only for me to never doing something with the knowledge I gathered.

Until I finally jumped toward exercise, towards personal development... and towards the creation of Reforged. I started diving into various success stories, listening to many podcasts, and even listening to a lot of interviews.

I began to notice a pattern from these successful individuals.

Based on my personal experience and observations of many entrepreneurs, athletes, CEOs, and more... I have found that happiness or fulfillment is a result of seven practical steps - seven habits (if done consistently) that will allow you to be better in what you aspire towards.

So with that, let's dive in!

Focus On The Process Over Everything

Before we begin, I want to note that you should always focus on the process over the results. We tend to always focus on the results rather than the process... but the magic happens in embracing a specific process that helps you pave the road to reach your goals.

Once you have this process down, you are able to reach further into improving yourself: you will embrace new opportunities, you will take new risks, you will see your purpose in life even clearer than before.

The Seven Habits to Happiness

The seven steps to happiness are steps that various entrepreneurs and athletes utilize in their own way to build the path that they want.

From cold showers to meditations and journaling, there are a plethora of ways to accomplish what you were meant to do as a human being: consistently improve.

Here are the seven steps we utilize to control most of our happiness and satisfaction:
  1. Have a consistent morning and evening ritual.
  2. Learn something new every day.
  3. Accomplish three goals per day.
  4. Exercise 3-5 days a week.
  5. Eat 4-6 nutritious meals per day.
  6. Journal or Document Your Journey to Growth
  7. Get 6-8 hours of sleep daily.

These seven steps have allowed me to find my purpose, find happiness, and find life fulfillment on embracing my journey to becoming better.

Now that we have the steps lined up and ready to go, let's talk about each.

I. Have A Consistent Morning and Evening Ritual

There are two parts of our day that we have the most control: our mornings and evenings... what we call our rise and our fall rituals.

Rise - Morning

When we rise, we have the opportunity to wake up hours before our actual obligations (work, kids, etc), and focus on improving yourself or doing things that make you happy.

According to Northwestern Medicine, having a consistent morning routine reduces stress, helps with health, and even provides better sleep.

These can be as simple as morning exercise, journaling, meditation, podcasts, and more. Based on personal experience, whenever I woke up at 5 am and had work at 8 am, I would do things that helped me improve myself.

When it comes to a morning routine, here is a simple checklist you can utilize:

  • Wake up 2-3 hours before your morning obligations (work, school, etc).
  • Do two-three "you time" habits or activities. This could be reading a book, journaling, meditating, morning exercise, listening to a podcast, etc.
  • Get some fresh air. If you take in the sunlight as early as 7 am, there are various hormonal and health benefits of doing so (we will mention later).

When I would follow this, and then come into work... I would feel like I've accomplished many tasks (and took care of myself).

This allowed me to give it my all.

Fall - Evening

Our evening rituals allow for more "you" time, preparing for tomorrow and even taking advantage of the downtime you have here. During this time, less technology should be used, or blue-light should be minimized. This will allow you to have better sleep.

According to one study, having a regular bedtime routine can help manage a plethora of poor sleep challenges and issues.

When it comes to having an evening routine, here is a simple checklist of what we recommend:

  • Prepare for your sleep routine 30 minutes to an hour before bed.
  • Limit caffeine 4-8 hours before bed. Caffeine promotes wakefulness, so it's better to limit intake hours before bed.
  • Limit blue light and technology 1-2 hours before bed. If you can't make sure you utilize night shift on your phone or blue light glasses.
  • Read a book or plan out tomorrow before bed. This allows you to unwind.

If you have a consistent sleep schedule, you have the ability to optimize your sleep quality and sleep pressure (which we will talk about later).

For more on sleep and morning/evening routines, you can read our article here.

II. Learn Something New Daily

One thing you can always do (even if you have a super hectic day) is to continuously improve. According to the Harvard Business Review, learning something new can help with stress, mental roadblocks, and more.

Based on your interests, focuses, and passions, - there is always something new to learn. This could be new research, opposing views, or even diving into a unique avenue of focus. 

You should always look towards learning something new every day, whether it is from podcasts, books, courses, and more.

Think about this: learning 1% more every day for 100 days makes you 100% better than what you were today.

III. Accomplish Three New Goals Daily

Learning is always better when you do some doing. Focus on accomplishing three goals every day, allowing yourself to do things that might just be out of your comfort zone.

If you read our Building Habits Like An Entrepreneur post, you know that entrepreneurs take small steps to make their vision a reality. They set their obnoxiously high vision or goal and then take small baby steps.

For this to effectively work, you should do things that you've never done before. If you want to try a new exercise like the Front Squat, practice it today. If you want to read a chapter in your new book, accomplish it.

Always work on moving forward.

IV. Exercise 3-5 Days Weekly

Exercising is a huge factor in our lifestyle here at Reforged. We believe that fitness is the analogy of life itself: triumphs, tribulations, and a lot of trials. Yet each time we go into the gym, we are better, stronger, and more resilient.

Personally, 3-5 days of weekly exercise for the past 10 years has completely changed my mind, body, and eliminated my past anxiety completely.

Exercise and Mental Health

Exercising at least 3-5 days weekly (30-60 minutes of exercise) will help with not just physical health, but with mental health. Simply put, exercise alleviates anxiety and depression. We recommend a combination of both weight training and cardiovascular exercise.

"Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal."

For more on exercise and mental health, you can read our article here.

Exercise and Sleep

According to a systematic review, exercise is a powerful intervention for poor sleep quality. This means that exercise can produce better sleep, improve mood, appetite, help with anxiety, and a plethora of more things.

We will talk about sleep more shortly.

V. Eat 4-6 Nutritious Meals Daily

Focusing on eating 4-6 nutritious meals per day allows you to get plenty of vitamins and minerals in.

Here are some simple recommendations you can follow for nutrition:

  • Eat protein with every meal. Shoot for 0.8-1g of protein per pound of body weight. For reference, a 4oz chicken is around 25g of protein.
  • Drink 1 gallon of water per day. If you need more, get into the habit of drinking water. Keep a hydro flask on you at all times if you have to.
  • Eat 2-5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This will allow you to optimize a healthy intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For reference:
    • 1/2 cup of fruits = 1 serving
    • 1/2 of stalky greens (Broccoli) = 1 serving
    • 1 cup of leafy greens (Spinach) = 1 serving
  • PFFT Method. The PFFT method allows you to portion control your meals into nutritious ones.
    • Palm = Protein (chicken, fish, red meat)
    • Fist = Veggies (broccoli, asparagus, etc)
    • Fist = Carbs (Rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
    • Thumb = Fat (Olive oil, oils, sauces)
    • Do this for 4-6 meals daily.
  • Fill in any missed opportunities with supplements. Some supplements are there to fill in any gaps in your diet.
    • If you don't eat fish frequently, supplement with fish oil.
    • Not enough veggies? Supplement with greens or a multivitamin.
    • Don't get enough sunlight? Supplement with Vitamin D

If you cover each of these, you should be in a great spot with your nutrition goals. As nutrition has a large impact on happiness, mood, and energy, it is imperative that you eat well!

For more on nutrition, you can read our Flexible Nutrition article here.

VI. Document Your Journey

Journaling and documenting your journey towards growth and development are literally everything to us at Reforged.

Journaling allows you to set goals and improve your overall wellbeing of life. Documenting your journey allows you to express yourself and build a community of supportive people wanting you to achieve your goals.

This has everything to do with developing yourself, which is why we believe it is an essential practice.

Journaling

According to Positive Psychology, effective journaling can help you reach your goals and improve your quality of life. In fact, the post above mentions over 83 benefits towards journaling.

Here are some things it will benefit you with:

  • It helps manage depression.
  • It allows you to understand yourself better.
  • It can give you an optimistic perspective of life.
  • It enhances creativity.
  • It can improve communication skills.
  • And hundreds of more benefits.

I personally carry a planner and an observation & thoughts journal wherever I go. If I think of something unique, or if something I've noticed stands out (there's a pattern), I write it down. As odd as this sounds, it has allowed me to build a lot of empathy and understanding towards myself and others.

When it comes to journaling, here are the things I typically journal about daily:

  1. An interesting event or story that happened in the day.
  2. Something I learned
  3. Personal observations or thoughts.

Doing this every day since the beginning of the year has shown me how interesting life is, even on the days that we are going through the motions. In addition, it has also helped me build self-awareness and control over my moods.

Writing is an important practice, whether it is a personal planner, taking notes, or writing your thoughts. In fact, it's a pretty euphoric feeling looking back at your old notes and seeing your path... and seeing how far you've come.

I believe it's essential to everyone... and even if it's one sentence to start, you should do it.

Documenting Your Journey

Document... don't create.

- Gary Vaynerchuk

As we continue to dive deeper into a social world, it's not about how knowledgeable you are... it's about your path.

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, documenting your journey allows you to have thousands of pieces of content in your arsenal.

Today, documenting your growth is everything on social media. If you've been in the fitness industry, you know that people love watching lifting videos. It shows consistency and progression that motivates others to do the same.

You don't need to be smart, you don't need to educate. Just do. Show your growth and development.

If you apply this towards your career path or your interests... you can really grow a large personal brand and following.

Some of us may hesitate while reading this, but here's what happened when we started documenting the growth of Reforged:

  • Various partnership opportunities.
  • Great fan base, and a very friendly community to be around.
  • Potential job opportunities and projects
  • More sales.
  • More people invested in the brand - inspired and loving the free content.
  • People who purchase from us also follow my personal brand for an inside scoop on the business.

Documenting your journey will build you potential opportunities and it might just change your life for the better. People get on social to socialize. Do your thing!

VII. Get 6-8 Hours of Sleep Daily

Lastly, we get to the importance of sleep. Getting proper sleep is paramount to both physical and mental health. It aids in reducing fatigue, helping with heart and hormone health, and improves focus & mood.

While I typically recommend 6-8 hours of sleep daily, you should focus on shooting for 8 hours - ALWAYS. According to one study, 6 hours of sleep for the course of two weeks is equivalent to being sleep deprived for 48 hours straight.

Circadian Rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is simply your 24-hour clock that runs in your brain. It cycles between sleepiness and alertness (a sleep/wake cycle).

The circadian rhythm typically performs optimally in these ways:

  • Having a consistent sleep and wake cycle. Having a consistent sleep schedule allows you to build better sleep quality.
  • Get some sun around 7-8 am. Sunlight produces Vitamin D and serotonin. Serotonin produces melatonin (sleep hormone).
  • Falling asleep around 9-11 pm, and waking up around 5-8 am. Since our sleep is also dependent on our melatonin and serotonin levels, these are fairly optimal times to acquire both.
I used to be a night owl until I found out that I slept 100x better from following the steps above.

Optimizing your circadian rhythm allows you to not only improve your sleep quality, it also improves your length of sleep. Overall, we recommend finding what works best for you... but if it could be better, try these things out.

For more on melatonin, serotonin, and sleep pressure, click here.

Sleep Pressure

Now to get proper sleep, you should consider every other factor we mentioned above. Learning more, doing more, exercising, and following a consistent morning & evening ritual allows you to build sleep pressure.

Sleep pressure is the level of which our brains need sleep. When you expend more energy, the pressure is applied.

You can build sleep pressure in the following ways:

  • Have a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Go outdoors and get sunlight daily, especially in the early morning.
  • Exercise frequently.
  • Learn something new daily
  • Eliminate blue-light or reduce technology before bed.
  • Follow our guide to sleep quality here.

Again, if you follow all of the previous steps, you should build sleep pressure at a consistent time. Synergistic benefits by following each step. Funny how that works.

Follow the Steps

If you follow these seven steps, these seven habits... you are going to set yourself in a great spot when it comes to happiness and fulfillment.

This is ever so important with your daily goals and goal setting: when you're in your early 20's, we typically feel like we are lost. Yet, these seven steps will eventually allow you to find what is important to you.

Remember this: your pain is your purpose.

If you follow these Reforged Warriors, I guarantee you will reach an opportunity to reach a greater potential.

While we believe that health and fitness will open these doors to opportunity, it's up to you to keep these doors open.

Any questions, comments, or thoughts? Throw them below or direct message me on Instagram (@ibtonyg)!

Until next time Reforged Legion. Go out there and seize the day.

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He has been in the fitness space for over a decade, previously coaching individuals in body recomposition and strength training. His goal is to connect others with the knowledge they need to reach their greatest potential.


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