I celebrated my 52nd year of life this past weekend. Although no one’s life is easy, I’ve had my share of blessings along the way and am thankful on this Martin Luther King morning for another week to live, love and try and make a difference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee–our little corner of the world.

I have been an early riser for as long as I can remember. When I was 8 years old, I would get up on Saturday mornings at 6 AM to watch my favorite cartoon The Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.). A few years later, unlike most college students, I found that I did my best thinking before the sun rose each morning. So, I would make the effort to get up and get started early to make the most of the day.

This past weekend I made a simple list of 9 things that I try and do every day before 8 AM that have proven to be game-changers for me—my list includes:

  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep
  2. Wake up at 5 AM
  3. Drink at least 2 cups of coffee
  4. Enjoy 30 minutes of prayer, Bible reading and journaling
  5. Work out by doing at least 30 minutes of something cardio
  6. Eat protein (i.e. eggs, bacon or smoothie) and avoid carbs
  7. Shower with warm/cold water (not too hot)
  8. Invest in 30 minutes of listening/reading nonfiction content
  9. Review the calendar on my phone and decide the first three things that I am going to do at the office, so it’s settled before I arrive

Life can get in the way, and these resolutions do not happen every day. But when they do, I know that I’ve have set myself up physically, spiritually, intellectually and professionally for a productive, well-balanced day.

By Shane Reeves
Chief Executive Officer