6 Morning Rituals That Help Me Own My Days

“Control your mornings and you’ll control your days, control your days and you’ll control of your life.”

-Jami Rassmussen

We need to quote ourselves more often:)  A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to watch Sean Stephenson speak.  If you don’t know who he is do yourself a favor and look him up.  He is a 3 foot giant.  One of my biggest takeaways was creating a “when life works” list.  The idea is to write down everything you were doing when things were really clicking in your life.  Then look for reoccurring behaviors.  For me, that behavior was doing a morning ritual.

I’ve found it’s the best thing I can do to ensure my day is enjoyable and productive.  During this time I am able to ground my mind, choose my focus, and get more done in a short time than any other time through out the day.

The specifics of my ritual have changed over these 2 years.  And what I’ve found is that there are several things that need to happen to avoid this turning into everything else we start, get serious about, then quit.  And believe me, when that alarm goes off your bed will never feel more comfortable.  Everyone knows the feeling.  If your reason for getting up is not more powerful than the pull of your comfort and exhaustion it will never work.

The takeaway here is to create a strong “why” for getting out of bed and to create a routine that you could enjoy.   The third powerful tool you could use to make sure this works is to enlist an accountability partner.  Get your spouse on board, tell your friends, get someone else to do it with you, make it a challenge.

Here is my routine and the logic behind it.  Like I’ve said I’ve tweaked it over the years and I currently love the one I’m doing now.  Which is not to say I won’t get bored with this one and have to spice it up. The point is I’ve created something I want to do.  I’ve also got my wife on board, which has been huge during a few of my weaker moments.

5AM alarm goes off- no snooze, rip that bandaid off and get out of bed. Once I’m up I make the bed.  Psychologically it gives you an immediate sense of accomplishment and sets the table for an orderly day.

5:00-5:15 I hang upside down with gravity boots for 2-5 minutes.  This is sometimes coupled with inverted sit-ups or pull-ups on the bar.  The point of this is to get blood flowing to the brain.  Thoughout the week I do a significant amount of weight training which compresses the spine.  The gravity boots decompress the spine.

5:15-5:30 I pour myself a large glass of filtered water with fresh squeezed lemon, chug it, then sit down for meditation.  This used to be one of my biggest struggles – thus the reason I’ve quit the practice of meditation multiple times.  Now it’s something I actually look forward to thanks to an app called Headspace which is a simple, enjoyable, guided meditation.

5:30-5:35 I write in my journal.  A common theme you will notice with me is that I am a big fan of making things systematic and easy.  For my journal I use the “The Five Minute Journal” which is essentially a fill in the blank structured way of journaling.

5:35-6:00 I create something.  Right now I’m writing this blog entry.  Tomorrow I might work on my website.  Two years from now I might be working on my first hip hop record:)  It’s only 25 minutes but during this time you are crazy productive.

6:00-6:15  I read something.  Since building a solid foundation for my day is important choosing the right material is important.  The topics of the books and articles are all different but they have one underlying theme.  They either give me knowledge to be better at my passions or they give me motivation to take action on that knowledge.

If you don’t have a morning ritual/routine it’s time to start one.  Comment below and let me know how it goes.  If you already have one let me know what works best for you.

3 SEEDS

1.  A morning routine will lead to more productivity and better focus throughout the day

2.  When creating a morning routine, make the reason for doing it big, make it enjoyable, and get an accountability partner

3.  It won’t be perfect at the beginning.  That’s not the point.  Start.  Find your groove.

Giving Credit/Inspiration/Additional Info

What 200 parents wanted to know.

Yesterday I spoke to 200 parents at Target HQ on the topic of raising health children.  It’s a talk I’ve given dozens of times in the last year.  But this time it was different. I had an insider.

My wife works for Target.  She received a ton of feedback and questions most of which centered around getting started and putting these ideas into practice.

The talk is centered around chemical, physical, and emotional stresses that are having a devastating effect on our childrens’ health.  When I share the statistics of how sick our children have become, it’s not a giant leap for attendees to understand things have to change.

The overwhelming part is most in attendance realize a lot of things need to change if they are going to give their kids the best chance to grow up healthy.   Some even beat themselves up for things they’ve already done that have been compromising their kid’s health.  So two things need to be addressed here.  First, if you chunk it down and make conscious, small, gradual changes over time it’s easy to implement these changes.  Second, we all do the best with the information we have at the time.  Thankfully we are exposed to new knowledge (my talk) and we can alter our course based on better information.  There is absolutely no benefit to beating yourself up over choices you made in the past.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today”.  It’s not about the choices that were made in the past.  It’s about taking what you’ve learned and systematically implementing it into your lives.  Here are some tips to make that easier

1. Determine what changes will have the biggest impact on your life.  Make a list of all the changes that you would like to make over the next 12 months.  Then pick one item from the list.  It should be the game changer, the one item that will make the biggest impact.

2. Write it down.  If it’s not written it doesn’t exist.  This list must be written.  The game changer should be circled, highlighted, underlined, and starred.  And it should be in a place you see it often.  Under or around the game changing change you’ve made add at least 3 measurable actions that need to be done to accomplish this goal.  And give each of these actions a trigger.  A trigger is something you do immediately before you do the action step.  For example, if the goal is to “Eat at home 5 nights a week with the family” an action step might be to sit down Saturday morning and prepare a meal plan and the trigger would be after cleaning up after breakfast.  So now every Saturday after you clean up after breakfast, you will sit down and make a meal plan for the week.

3.  Write down why you are making this change.  The more personal the better.  If you’ve written down something that gives you a visceral response when you read it, you’ve nailed it.   

4.  The changes should be small.  Once you nail them, choose another game changer from the list you created.  Set yourself up for success. Once it’s a habit (66 days) you can make it more difficult.

5.  Show your work.  Let others know what you will be changing and then submit your work.  Tell a friend, tell coworkers, or tell all of social media that you will be doing x,y,z.  And weekly or monthly let them know how you’re doing.  I use the app Way of Life which is a simple tracking device that you can export data to share with others.

There are hundreds of resources out there of those who have done this already.  Countless shortcuts and hacks have been developed to make the process easier and with a little research you can find the plan that works best for you.  Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”.  So go!  And let me know how much better your life has become.

This Kid Dresses Up Like Me

When Fin first came to my office he was making monthly trips to the hospital for severe asthma attacks.  He didn’t sleep through the night and every bug that he was exposed to turned into a life threatening crisis.

Mom was understandably skeptical.  It’s my belief that if more parents shared that same skepticism for mainstream medicine our children would be healthier but that’s a subject for a different day.  She asked me if chiropractic could “cure” asthma.  I said no.  Two minutes later she scheduled her son for a consult and examination.

If I said no, chiropractic doesn’t cure asthma, why in the world would anyone with half a brain still schedule that appointment?

Because I explained to her that our own bodies are designed to self heal and self regulate. In fact our own bodies are the only thing that can heal.  It comes from inside.  That strips any doctor, pill, or potion from claiming cures.  Without manipulating the chemical composition of the body to fit into an ever changing perceived “normal” range or removing “spare parts” in the body, chiropractic care works with optimizing the body’s natural healing ability.

The adjustment removes interference between the brain and the body, and the body works better.  Sometimes it works so well that things like asthma drastically improve or go away.  It’s a simple concept, maybe too simple.

Either way mom, got this simple idea, or maybe she just trusted me and was willing to try anything.  Regardless of reasoning, the outcome was incredible.  Fin’s trajectory in life has been changed and it’s beautiful.

The other day mom came in and told me something that many moms have told me before and that was her child was pretending to be Dr. Jami at home.  But Fin took it a step farther.  Mom pulled out her phone and showed me a picture of Fin dressed up like me.   I smiled and told her how awesome it was but I choked up inside and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  The gravity of all of it hits me.  Fin is such a special kid and now he gets to fully express that.  And I got to help.  #Blessed.

Are you successful?

Without much thought you could probably rattle off a dozen or more people we consider successful.  But have we ever stopped to ask why we consider them successful?  Are they successful because they have money or a great job?  Is it because they’re famous?  Or have a great marriage?

Success is primarily defined as the accomplishment of one’s goals.  The secondary definition is success is an attainment of wealth, position, and honors.  Do you think these two definitions reinforce each other?  Or is it possible that they could be polar opposites?

Most of us never go this deep with our analysis of success.  So in our minds we’ve merged these two definitions of success.  That’s the fatal flaw.

I believe the secondary definition is completely unnecessary.  Is it possible to accomplish a goal where wealth, position, and honors are not outcomes?  Was Mother Theresa successful?

Lewis Carroll said “If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there”.  I believe this quote is universally applicable to many ideas but none more than clarity and goal setting.

If you haven’t clearly defined success how will you know who to look up to?  Or more importantly how will you know where you are going?  Is it possible to set goals without first clearly defining where you want them to take you?

My definition of success is centered around making a positive impact in the world, helping lots of people, raising a healthy strong family, and creating freedom in my life.  Therefore my goals are focused on accomplishing the major goal, success.  Now when I set goals I don’t have to pluck then out of the air willy nilly.  I have a litmus test to hold them up to.  I ask myself if these goals move me closer to success.

Your definition of success will likely be different.  So here’s your exercise.  Write down what success is to you.  Congratulations! You’ve created the foundation to accomplishing your dreams.  Now instead of all those roads (goals) taking you anywhere, they will take you to where you want to go.

PS.  Throughout our lives our definition of success will change and minor tweaks may be necessary.  Make a habit of routinely checking in on your north star (your definition of success) and a rerouting when necessary.

When someone asks me if I consider myself successful without hesitation my reply is yes and I’m becoming more successful everyday.

Are you successful?

3 Things Your Pediatrician Won’t Tell You About Your Child’s Ear Infection

Middle ear infection, or otitis media, is one of the most common childhood afflictions, impacting up to two thirds of children at least once before the age of 3 and up to 90% before the age of ten.(i) Ear infections are the number one reason a child visits the emergency room.  The most common treatments for ear infections are antibiotics and if that doesn’t work, ear tubes.

Your pediatrician likely has the best intentions when they prescribe your child antibiotics or recommends ear ventilation tubes but there are three major flaws with these recommendations.  A simple PubMed or CDC search yields all the information you need to determine ear infection management is not as black and white as you have been lead to believe.

These are the 3 things your pediatrician likely did not tell you when recommendations were made in managing your child’s ear infection.

1.  Most ear infections are viral. which means using an antibiotic (kills only bacteria) doesn’t work.(ii)

illness-chart

This is from the CDC’s website antibiotic recommendations page.  As you can see, the usual cause is a virus and antibiotics are NOT needed.

2.  Antibiotics and ear tubes can be dangerous.  Antibiotics in children are linked to asthma(iii), obesity(iv), overall lowered immune function(v) and adult disease.(vi) Ear tubes do not improve long term hearing(vii), learning, cognitive, or academic outcomes(viii).  Studies show that ear tubes lead to scarring and have been linked to poorer hearing 6-10 years later.(ix)

3.  Antibiotics do not treat the cause of ear infections which is poor drainage.  Using antibiotics, or even tubes, are merely a band-aid approach.  Ear infections are caused by the Eustachian tube not allowing fluid to properly drain from the middle ear.(x) When the fluid becomes stagnant it becomes a hotbed for viruses and bacteria.  Killing the bugs is not a long term solution.

If you are looking for a safe, long term-solution that addresses the cause of ear infections, pediatric chiropractic is the answer.  How does that work you ask?

There are 4 muscles that are closely associated with the Eustachian tube.  These muscles help open and close the tube.  The muscles are the tensor veli palatini, levator veli palatini, salpingopharyngeus, and tensor tympani.(xi)  When these muscles spasm and lose their normal tone, their function is lost and the ability to open and close the tube is compromised.

What would cause these muscles to spasm and lose function?  Improper nerve input.  This is caused from upper cervical (neck) misalignments.(xii)

The chiropractic adjustment restores normal motion and alignment to the spine which, in turn, restores normal nerve function and normal muscle function to the Eustachian tube which ultimately allows the tube to drain appropriately.(xiii)

A few quick hitters to wrap this thing up.

  • But isn’t cracking my baby’s neck dangerous?
    • Most adults associate a chiropractic adjustment with a loud cavitation (gas releasing from joint) sound.  Although the adult adjustment is completely safe(xiv), parents believe this would be dangerous for their children.  The force applied when adjusting an infant/child is significantly less.  The typical force applied to a child’s neck is the equivalent of the force you can rest from your finger over your closed eyelid without discomfort.
  • How do I find a chiropractor that is trained to check my child?
    • In MN mychildschiropractor.com is a great place to start
    • Another great place is http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/
    • If the above two methods don’t yield results you will need to do a little research.
      • Check out their website.  Make sure it looks like a place that specializes in kids.  The website should include articles about kids and chiropractic as well as pictures and testimonials showcasing success with kids.
      • Read their reviews.  Look through their online reviews.  If it’s 100% adult and back pain oriented look elsewhere.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below—but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about getting back your child’s’ health!

BE Well,
Jami Rassmussen, DC

Top 5 Reasons I Check Kids’ Spines

This is my first blog post, and I could have started with any topic but I wanted to start with Colorful children hand painted over whitewhat I’m most passionate about and that’s getting kids checked by a chiropractor that focuses on kids (like me).

I’ll get into the science of why everyone should have their kids checked in an upcoming blog.  But I’ll give you the cliff notes here.

From conception to childhood, kids these days are exposed to a massive number of chemical, physical, & emotional environmental stressors.  This exposure ramps up the part of the nervous system that prepares them for fighting or escaping that stress.  But this comes at the expense of the complimentary part of the nervous system that is responsible for rest, digestion, immune function, & healing.

This imbalance is called sympathetic dominance and it can play a role in many childhood health challenges.  What I have found is the misalignments in the spine are at the core of sympathetic dominance.  Not only will they contribute to sympathetic dominance but they prevent the body from adapting to the fore mentioned stressors.

So the million dollar question is how do you know if that’s what your child has?  The answer is measure it.  Who measures it?  Most Chiropractors who focus on children have tools in their office that measure this.  If they find sympathetic dominance during your child’s evaluation they will make a recommendation for care (which is very safe and much different from adult adjustments).

Below is a list of the top 5 reasons why parents bring their kids in to get checked.  Numbers 1-4 usually are the result of sympathetic dominance and we see great results with these kids.  Number 5 should be the number one reason, however, we are not wired this way and nobody told us this is a good idea (that’s what I’m doing now).

The top 5 reasons people bring in their kids to have me check their spines are:

1.  Ear infections & Frequent Cold/Flu Symptoms

2.  ADHD & Focus Issues

3.  Colic

4.  Bedwetting

5.  General Wellness (keeping the nervous system working the way it’s designed to)

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below—but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about getting back your child’s’ health!

BE Well,
Jami Rassmussen, DC