My Nine Morning Habits That Start My Day off Right

I need this mug!

Here are some of my favorite ways to have a productive day by starting the day with the right habits. I feel the way I start my morning sets the tone for the rest of my day. I can either start my day by hitting the snooze button, rolling out of of bed at the last minute, rushing to get ready and then running out the door with an apple in my hand wearing my pink backpack. Or, I can start my day with good morning habits. Decisions, decisions… I’m more inclined to stick with the latter. Below you’ll find the morning habits I implemented in my life over the years.

 

1. Wake up early

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”.  ― Benjamin Franklin

Surely I know time is a valuable asset. A number of people say time is money, and while I agree to a certain degree, unlike money, you can’t get more time. I can spend $20 and eventually make $20 again. However, if I spend 20 minutes on something, I won’t be able to get 20 minutes back no matter what I do. Currently, I wake up at around 6:00 am even though my alarm is set at 7:00 am. I want to get down to at least 5:15 am, and one of my influences Eric Thomas says he consistently gets up at 3:00 am. For some people that would be a death sentence, but considering what his career entails it makes sense. The world is a quieter place when the sun hasn’t risen yet and waking up early allows me to practice the habits explained below, which in turn help me start the day in high spirits, ready to tackle anything that life throws at me throughout the day.

 

2. Plan the daily goals

I think the quote on my Rock Clock app says it best, “Wake up determined, go to bed satisfied”. I believe it’s very important to plan out my day. If I don’t take a few minutes of my time to map out the direction of my day, how will I know I’m heading towards the right direction? It doesn’t have to be a totally rigid schedule, but a tentative schedule with time blocks to accomplish certain tasks seems to work best for me. When I have a plan for my day, it helps me get started on my goals and priorities immediately and helps make my day more manageable.

 

3. Smile and think something positive

Right before I brush my teeth in the morning, I smile. Usually the first thing that comes to my mind is my niece which is followed by the thought “I’m so glad I and everyone I love made it to see another day”. Smiling does the following

  • Smiling releases neurotransmitters called dopamine and endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy, and they also help lower stress levels. Dopamine is also known as the “motivation molecule”. It is responsible for intrinsic motivation and provides the motivational/internal drive to do things.
  • In addition, smiling boots your immune system. Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which helps contribute to good health and a stronger immune system.

According to some more reading I did, even a fake smile has benefits. I don’t usually have trouble smiling ’cause I honestly believe I have a lot to be happy about, but if I ever have trouble smiling in the morning it’s nice to know I can force myself to.

Lastly, I ask myself these two questions:

  • What am I looking forward to today?
  • How am I going to support my friends today?

 

4. Jot down something in my gratitude journal

The Rock Clock app has another quote I like, “Over the years I’ve realized one of the most important things to being happy… is being grateful”. Dang it, why is The Rock so awesome!? Anyway, he is right. One of the key ingredients to my happiness is about appreciating the things that I already have. By enumerating the blessings I have in my life right now, I was able to become more open to optimism and inspiration and improve my outlook in life. Everyday, I write down at least one thing that I’m thankful for. It’s important to count the small victories.

 

5. Brush my teeth

I was someone who used to brush their teeth after I had breakfast. However, I realized it was healthier and better to brush my teeth as soon as I wake up. Plaque builds up in your mouth while you sleep and since I wear a retainer when I’m sleeping and am more prone to getting calculus/tartar,  I should remove the bacteria buildup once I’m on my feet by brushing my teeth.

 

6. Pray & Meditate 

Starting my day off with calmness and stillness helps keep me relaxed. My prayers and meditation sessions are not usually long, but just a few minutes every day allows me to connect my mind, body, and soul in preparation for the day that’s ahead.

 

7. Make my bed 

“No one’s going to see it” and “It’s going to get unmade by tonight so what’s the point?” were usually the two statements I would say when I didn’t want to make my bed. As a child, I never understood why my mom wanted me to make my bed. Now that I’m older, I know excuses are easy to make, but then again, so is making my bed. A fluff of the pillows and tug of the sheets and comforter literally takes seconds, and is the easiest way to make my entire dorm room look better instantaneously. It’s a small accomplishment and gets my day started off right when I head out the door.

Naval Seal Admiral William H. McRaven said the following about making your bed at the University of Texas in his commencement speech

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”.

Below is a pic of what my bed looks like when it’s made if you’re interested.

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Pay no attention to the Love Live Nesoberi plushes.

 

8. Fuel my body with an awesmazing breakfast

Having a healthy breakfast can help keep me feeling energized. You know the adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? It’s an adage because it rings true, it’s even better since I know how to cook. I can avoid excessive sugar in the morning and have some food that will give me more energy, and help me with my focus and concentration. Focus and concentration are exactly what I need in order to get through my classes!

 

9. Create something

Before I read my e-mails or news articles from The New York Times or Washington Post, go to my class, and anything else I do once I leave my dorm room, I make sure to create something. Whether it’s writing a post for my blog, drawing a quick sketch, producing a musical beat, making a poem, or writing a scene for my play, I make sure to jumpstart my creativity.

 

These are some of the things I do to set myself up for a successful, extremely productive day. Thanks to doing them regularly, I’m able to tackle each day proactively, stay productive, and more regularly say, “Today was a good day” just like Ice Cube.

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Life Lessons I Learned from Prince

I really do love and miss Prince with every fibre of my being. It was always my dream to take my mom to see Prince live (VIP package, of course), but now it will be the only dream I will never be able to fulfill. I knew one day I would be able to have the money to take her, but it’s impossible now that Prince is dead. I know it’s been over a year since he died, but it doesn’t take the sting out of living in a Princeless world. I still remember my brother breaking the news to me on the day he died. At first I started choking up, then I got teary-eyed and it got to the point my words were incomprehensible to my brother since I burst into tears and started wailing. The last time a death was able to get such a strong emotional response out of me was when my grandma died.

It’s safe to say Prince was a musical genius and the master of amazing. He was a beautiful person inside and out. He oozed charm and sexiness. I loved him no questions asked, but what really made Prince an icon was that no matter what people thought of him, he never changed who he was to fit in because he knew he was made to stand out. While his lifetime’s worth of music is what propelled him to super-stardom, what I appreciated the most about Prince was his ardor to live life with passion and a purpose. He’s someone who’s an inspiration for certain facets of my life from the way I dress to my progress as a creative force. In many ways, I am grateful for his existence and grateful I was able to live in the same time frame as the greatest musical artist to have ever lived. Here are some lessons his life and music have taught me.

Be yourself

“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people” ― Prince

Prince made sure he nor his music could never be boxed into one genre or category. He let his music speak for him and wore what he wanted without caring about how it came across. He wore flashy clothing, high heels (seriously, what other man can rock high heels!!?), and eye liner because that’s what he wanted to do. If nothing else, it was hard to ignore him. For a number of men, they wouldn’t dare wear what Prince did for the fear their sexuality would be called into question. The funny thing is Prince got more vagina than those kind of insecure guys ever could. He was progressive during his life and was the definition of daring. He showed me it’s perfectly okay to go against the norm and be unapologetic all throughout.

 

A strong spirit transcends rules

Prince thought we should all strive to be different, to be more than what society says we should be. The things that make you different are what make you awesome and interesting. On paper, Prince’s qualities wouldn’t be what comes to one’s mind when the topic of masculinity is brought up, but when I think of what a manly man is, Prince is one of two (the other being The Rock) who instantly come to my mind. It didn’t really make sense for him to become a sex symbol, but he did become one. Warner Bros. Records didn’t want “Kiss” to be released as a single, but it became his third number-one US hit and won a Grammy award. His music crossed lines and blurred them, he was the epitome of someone who let his art speak for him. He taught me in my life and creative endeavors, the more genuine and honest I am, the more people can and will relate.

 

If you want something, you better pursue it wholeheartedly

Prince didn’t become a multi-instrumentalist or release thirty-nine albums overnight. He knew what he wanted to do and went after it. I realize if I’m serious about my craft, I better get to work every day.

 

Don’t let the naysayers and haters get you down

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“There’s nothing a critic can tell me that I can learn from. If they were musicians, maybe. But I hate reading about what some guy sitting at a desk thinks about me. You know, ‘He’s back, and he’s black,’ or ‘He’s back, and he’s bad.’ Whew! Now, on [1990 film/soundtrack album] Graffiti Bridge, they’re saying I’m back and more traditional. Well, ‘Thieves in the Temple’ and ‘Tick, Tick, Bang’ don’t sound like nothing I’ve ever done before.” ― Prince

He’s absolutely right. His words remind me of another quote I love by Denzel Washington, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t talk about those who can”. Those guys sitting at their desks have it easy, there are people that sit on the sidelines waiting to jeer at you when you fail because they’re too scared to pursue their own dreams. I always tell these kind of people that just because you suck don’t fault the next person for trying. Anyone who’s tried anything knows how hard it is to try. It takes courage to perform, try new things, and putting yourself out there in the spotlight for everyone to see which Prince did. Prince ignored the naysayers because those weren’t the kind of people who wanted to see him improve or grow. I ignore and expunge the people who question my abilities, goals and dreams all because they’re paralyzed by fear and can’t pull themselves up. I have nothing to gain from them, so I don’t waste my time or thoughts on them.

 

Purple is a beautiful color

Currently if you were to Google “purple is a” one of the autosuggestions read “a gay color”. There are even questions on various Q&A websites where users ask something like “Does wearing purple make a man look gay?” By the way, the answer is “yes” if you’re a stupid person. Prince made me want to add the color to my wardrobe and when I think about the fact purple is one of the colors of the asexual pride flag and the hair color of my waifu it gives it more sentimental meaning for me.

 

Life is a party and parties weren’t meant to last

As I am writing this post and embracing this moment in my life, I couldn’t agree more with his lyrics. Prince understood very well that life is ephemeral and it was important to treat it as a party. No, not one of those parties where you get wasted and don’t remember what happened when you wake up the next morning. What are parties usually for? To celebrate something. I’ve learned to take life one day at a time, just being able to wake up in the morning is a victory. I make sure to celebrate the everyday, enjoy the simple things, be thankful I have family and friends, live in the moments, and take in the present because tomorrow is never promised.

 

And those are some important lessons I learned from Prince. The man who inspired an entire generation, the man who inspired me. He will live on through his music and the positive impact he’s had on his fans. The world lost a musician, composer, innovator, talent and icon. RIP Prince, and thank you.

New Theme &++ 4 Year Anniversary

Hello, readers. How are you doing today? Great, I hope.

I’m typing this blog post whilst eating a big bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. “Gross!” you say? Yeah, probably, but attending university has given me an appreciation for it. Anyway, I installed a new theme today. *In Soulja Boy voice* Yasss bish, yasss! It does look cleaner and I can do cool things with it like provide links to my other social media profiles. Speaking of social media, I’m hoping to get a camera by the time the year ends so I can get started on my YouTube and Flickr accounts. There’s a number of stuff I’d like to share with you all regarding myself and my thoughts. I really do need to be more active on here. I see my favorite music artist Charles Hamilton blogs on a daily basis (he has a Blogspot and not a WordPress so boo, I can’t follow him!) and he was one of my inspirations for starting my blog in the first place. I don’t know if I want to blog that often because when I deleted a good chunk of my posts I didn’t think they were all that well-written after reviewing them. I wanted to write better content while giving quick updates like this from time to time. Hm, it’s going to be pretty funny, weird and interesting to see what will happen when I start vlogging since there will be some overlap between my blog and vlog.

On another note, I got a notification from WordPress saying I’ve been on here for 4 years now! Goodness, time sure flies by! I remember I started this blog when I was at my community college and now I’m a senior at my university. I wish I could fly all my followers/readers somewhere so we can have a big ass party. Speaking of my followers, I hope you’re all doing great. Yeah, I know I said it in the first sentence of this post, but I’ll say it again. You guys can comment on my posts y’know. Some of you already do and I appreciate it! I’m not lonely or anything, but since WordPress doesn’t have a message function or anything like that, commenting is one of the ways we can communicate with each other. I like meeting new people so it’d be nice if I could have some idea on who some of the people are who read my stuff.

I don’t have much else to say so here’s a gif of Famke Janssen ❤ looking seductive for no reason.

 

That’s Life!

I had two eye-opening conversations recently, one with my sister and the other with my brother. I told my sister what my childhood dream was: to make the world a better place. I’m 23 now and honestly, despite everything I’ve been through (good and bad), my dream has not changed. The only thing I added to it is “for my niece to live in”. When my niece was born, I was truly happy, but at the same time I started to consider my own mortality. “How much longer do I have to live?”. Before my niece was born, I would’ve been content dying any time, not because I was suicidal, but because I felt I lived a wonderful life. Now, I at least would like to live another 18 years. Why 18? Because I’ll be able to see my niece grow up. It’s something my grandma was never able to do with her grandchildren. Also, I’m sure I’ll be able to accomplish everything I want and need to in that amount of time. Of course, I’d like to live for as long as possible, but 41 is the minimum.

I am happy, I cannot stress that enough. When I look in the mirror, I am pleased with what I see. A number of people deep down can’t say the same thing, so it makes me more appreciative I can. At the same time though, I’ve been sad as well. I talk to my best friend every day and I’m glad I have family and friends I love and who love me. But sometimes I think about things such my favorite teacher who’s dead, and the fact I wanted to take my mom to a Prince concert. My brother’s album title says it all, “We Gon’ Die Anyway“, but mayne it doesn’t make it easier when people who left a great impact on my life aren’t with us anymore. I had to learn it the hard way when my grandma died… Life’s too short to be waking up angry, holding grudges, and being bitter. I do my best to make sure the people in my life know I love, appreciate and care about them. Whenever I get the chance to make someone happy, cheer them up… I’ll never pass it up. It’s very fulfilling. I’m totally aware my actions do have an effect on those around me. If I want to be a positive force in the universe, I need to fill it with as much positivity as I can. I hope my niece will understand what I’m trying to accomplish.

My brother told me what his mindset was regarding people in general… He wishes nothing but the best for everyone and hope they find happiness in their lives.

This brings me to something I’d like to say to you, the reader and my followers. To me, life is a gift. We only get one shot at it. This is your life, no one else’s. At the end of the day, it is you who has to be happy with the choices you make, food you eat, things you do, and the goals and dreams you are pursuing right now. Do not let the thoughts, opinions and judgments of others stop you from doing what you feel and know in your heart is right for YOU! Do what gives you inner peace. Eat the food that makes you feel good. Surround yourself with people who make you feel loved, who make you laugh, who support you, who sincerely bring you joy. Go after what you want, and not because your parents or society told you, but because you truly want to!

Tomorrow Is the Day & I’ve Been Slacking

Tomorrow is the day I go back on campus. If everything goes well and I’m able to get the classes I need for the following semesters, this time exactly next year will be my last semester as a collegian. I’m going to miss spending time with my family, of course (especially my niece). If only they could all live in the same city as me then I wouldn’t even need to pay for housing or food y’know? This semester looks to be filled with interesting classes so I’m hoping I will be a smarter version of myself by the time the semester ends than when it began. I hope to develop cordial relationships with my professors and any financial burdens that may arise be resolved in a timely manner.

On another note, I noticed I haven’t posted anything regarding my play “Love Conquers All Sins” since February. That’s pretty damn pitiful and I honestly have no excuse. I will definitely make sure I spend time daily to write once tomorrow starts. Since I like daydreaming a lot, I actually have all the character designs finished in my head. Now all I need to do is draw them, but I’m still practicing. My blog will be the first place I post them (after sharing them with my brother and sister).

 

Here are the things I hope to accomplish by the time the year ends…

  • Finish and post 4 scenes of my story/play
  • Get all A’s in my classes (I’ll accept one B)
  • Buy a birthday present for my mom
  • Complete 4 art pieces
  • Start applying to become an Anatomy and Physiology tutor
  • See Kid Cudi live with my mom and brother
  • Go to WasabiCon
  • Become an early riser (consistently wake up at ~5:00 AM)
  • Write more poetry

 

A lot of stuff has been on my mind lately. Recently, I’ve been really happy and really sad at the same time. Anyway, that’s all I have to say. Until next time!

4.0 for the Summer Semester

That’s another thing I can mark off my bucket list. *In my Dr. Eggman voice* NOW YOU KNOW WHY I AM THE BEST! Anyway, I really wish this university was closer to my niece, I dislike being away from her and all. But now I’m back in town so I can finally spend some time with her. I’m actually looking forward to the fall semester, I’m taking interesting classes so I’m hoping I’ll be learning a lot whilst also studying to become a tutor by the end of the year.

Honestly, between me and you reader, the more I spend my time at my university, the more I don’t feel like going for my Master’s. I’m still ambivalent because let’s be honest, a Master’s degree does sound sexier than a Bachelor’s, but I have to take in consideration the fact it will also take an additional two years. Two years is a long time y’know. When I think about it, all I want to do is write, draw, make videos, and teach. Of course I am already doing the first two and by the time I graduate, I will also be adding the last two to my daily life.

But enough about school, I have two weeks off and considering I had classes that lasted the whole semester, I deserve it! All my mind will be on is learning and spending time with the people I love!

Being Sick

Yesterday wasn’t a fun day for me. It’s been years since I was sick and the last time I vomited was back on Christmas day. The good thing about yesterday was that it made me appreciate the fact I’m usually not sick lol. I guess it was something I ate, but I spent a few hours in a fetal position because it was the most comfortable for me and took the pressure off my stomach. It was almost 9 pm when gut soup made a quick exit up my throat, out of my mouth and thankfully into a trash bag.

Whatever it was that I ate, my body was like “this food isn’t going any farther”. Whenever I puke, my abs feel like they get a workout of a lifetime. I felt a lot better after though. I just brushed my teeth, flossed and went to sleep. It’s not often I vomit, but when I do, I usually feel better very soon.