0178 – lean / mvp approach to developing a proper breakfast routine

Thursday 1120. Evernote on the way to work.

Morning routines

I need a morning routine. It used to be- wake up and go back to sleep repeatedly, then get on my phone and Facebook/Twitter until I cleared all my notifications and then some. Then I’d have a smoke while taking a dump in the toilet. Sometimes if I happened to wake up earlier, I’d put on some morning music (soft acoustic stuff) and smoke at the window. Then I’d shower, get dressed and head to work.

Sometimes I’d do a word vomit on Evernote, but most times I’d feel like I didn’t have enough energy and so I’d just go on Facebook or Twitter. Actually that’s probably a dishonest answer. I think the truth is that I go on FB or Twitter because I had already gone online earlier in the day, and I would’ve seen something that I found interesting or compelling or annoying, and I’d want to get back to that. Social media use begets social media use, at least for me. If I want to get writing done I have to set aside time for it, or otherwise see it not-happen.

Motivational Videos (again)

I wrote yesterday about motivational videos (or the day before?). One of my favorites is Dream, and one of my favorite lines is by Les Brown. “The lights are cut off, but you’re still looking at your dream, reviewing it everyday and saying ‘It’s not over until I win!'”.

I think that’s an idea that has stuck with me. You have to articulate your dream and then you have to review it every day.

  1. Articulate your dream
  2. Review it every day

And the dream has to be something you can reasonably work towards- if it’s to build a house, then every day you must lay a brick. Or if you don’t have bricks then you must take steps towards acquiring bricks. So on and so forth. The daily review ensures that you’re working towards a dream, rather than iterating and improving your castle in the sky.

Flighty Unreliable Brain

I used to rely far too much on my flighty, unreliable brain. There were multiple mini-interventions, and the last one seems to work where the previous ones had failed. Maybe I should sit down and evaluate the distinction. I will eventually at some point. [1] In the meantime, I just need to keep running. I need to see how far this energy can take me.


I need better morning routines. I need to eat a hearty breakfast. There are all sorts of things in the way of that and I need to tackle them one by one. The first thing is that I simply don’t have a habit of eating breakfast- or rather that I have a habit of not eating breakfast.

This is bad for my body and bad for my brain, it means that I’m very starved of fuel in some way. Glucose or whatever, I haven’t gotten around to properly understanding the finer details. This might be the single most important thing I can do to lead a better life.

The pattern of fixing things- for me, at least- it starts with…

  1. me acknowledging that the status quo is not cool, and that it’s holding me back from doing what i want to do
  2. realizing that there exists a hypothetical, achievable alternate state that is more optimal for me. It isn’t just better in a “would be nice” way, the way it would be nice to have sixpack abs. It affects my performance as a writer and as an employee of the company that I love. It affects my relationships with other people.
  3. identifying and executing the immediate next steps.

The immediate next steps for me-, right here?

First of all I need go carve out space and time for a hearty breakfast even if I’m not physically ready to have one. (I was a picky eater as a kid, always anxious and slightly nauseous. Mealtimes troubled me, I’d avoid them as long as I could.)

So I’m starting with a glass of water, a glass of chocolate milk, a banana, a granola bar, that sort of thing.

This needs to be my new routine, and I should X effect it the way I did non-smoking.

Having a support partner

I paused at this moment (while writing this) to message my wife to ask her to help me do the X effect. We both quit smoking together, and it’s awesome when your best friend commits to a lifestyle change with you. In the optimal future, both me and my wife will wake up early and have a hearty homemade breakfast together. That’s what’s at stake here, that’s what we could have. We could have happier, healthier lives and a happier, healthier marriage.

First we have to believe that it’s possible, describe clearly an alternate state where it works, then identify baby steps towards making it happen.

Us having a happy hearty breakfast starts with me making time for a glass of water every day.

Sounds silly, but true! Far sillier actually to make grandiose plans that never come to fruition because we didn’t have the skills, the capacity, the bandwidth. We need to make cupcakes before we can make wedding cakes. And sometimes cupcake solutions are all you need!

Thinking about wedding cakes when you haven’t baked a cupcake in your life isn’t just a cute, quaint distraction, I think. I think it’s something that becomes a sort of wishful, wistful escapism. We talk about about a hypothetical future instead of what we could be doing in the present. “I want to bake wedding cakes” is all you need to know. Going into extensive details about the nature of the wedding cakes you will bake is actually counter-productive- as a beginner baker, you don’t even really know what is possible or what is important or what is good about the wedding cakes that you would bake.

Focus on the cupcakes.


Focus on the cupcakes. Focus on the cupcakes. Make as many as you can. Make them as quickly as you can. Try them. Give them to others. See what other people think. Get feedback. Make more cupcakes. Wedding cakes are a distraction, really.

As always, this only applies to me. This post is shitty and messy but I don’t edit my vomits too much. I need to get to work. TTYL


[1] “Eventually”, like tomorrow, is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. No more eventually. My next word vomit- the one that I write on the way home from work later- will be about this distinction.

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