Finding Freedom in Structure

Tim Ferriss says one of his rituals is to wake up every morning and have 30 grams of protein. It’s automatic and gives him a kick start to his day. Besides the physiological benefits of protein consumption, Tim and Ramit argue that there’s something powerful in having rituals – it provides focus and structure to one’s life. I think this is really counter-intuitive because habits and rituals often seem like they require massive amounts of self control. They don’t. You have a habit of logging onto Facebook the moment you turn on your laptop. Does that take much control?

We admire early birds who wake up at 5AM, run 2 miles and finish a blog post before others get up from bed. I myself have wondered: “how do these freaks of nature do it? They must be so disciplined.” The truth is that although habits are hard to form, once solidified they actually give much-needed structure in the chaotic lives we lead. Good habits make life easier. Those freaks of nature wide awake in the morning actually depend on their 5AM ritual and other rituals conducted the night before. They know too well that sleeping in one day until 7AM, then 6AM the next, will make them tired and subject to the same mediocre habits that govern most of their peers.

It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve read the 4-Hour Body. And I’ve pretty much had the same diet these past two years: every meal consists of meats, veggies and/or beans. One cheat day a week. I don’t drink calories. And yes, like Tim I consume 30 grams of protein upon waking. People have commented that my diet is boring, or that it must take such self discipline to eat pretty much the same damn thing every day.  The truth is, I need to eat like this now. This ritual makes it brainless for me so I don’t need to expend energy thinking about what to eat next. I find freedom in this structure, as opposed to the dietary prison others assume.

I want to learn from you and ask – what kind of rituals do you have that give you necessary structure in your day-to-day? I’d love to know.

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