Do you roll out of bed, get dressed and grab your coffee and bagel and run out the door in the morning and wonder why you’re dragging only a few hours later? Do you hit a wall later in the afternoon that only large doses of additional caffeine and sugar can cure? Do you want something simple and natural that puts your whole day in perspective, gives you the strength and inner calm to get you through just about anything the day can deal you? Without unhealthy foods and stimulants?

The solution is simple. If the scenario above is you, it may not be easy but it’s definitely possible, if you want it.

The three steps are:

1. Exercise

Get up, get dressed and get out. Before you eat anything, have a glass of water and exercise. If you don’t exercise at all now, don’t even consider jumping into a 30 or 60 minute aerobic, weight lifting or any other regime. You’re destined for failure before you start. Everything great starts with baby steps.

The easiest, cheapest and healthiest form of exercise is walking. You can do it anywhere, any time. If you have a dog, make it your responsibility to walk the dog. Get out and walk. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Just start somewhere. You can also try any number of types of exercise: easy yoga stretches, pilates, aerobics, nia, zumba, whatever.

To up your odds of sticking with something, find a friend or family member that will commit to this exercise routine with you. It’s much harder to skip things when you know someone is waiting for you. And it can be a lot more fun with two or more of you.

Start small. Make it something you enjoy that you’ll actually do every day. Start with 5 or 10 minutes each day for a week or two and build from there, adding 5 or 10 more minutes every week or two. For many, starting a new exercise routine can be painful – sometimes physically and sometimes just to the ego-enforced comfort zone. There’s a saying that if you can keep something up for 21 days, it will become a habit. Commit to making it through those first 3 weeks. Your body, mind, friends and family will be grateful that you did. What is initially challenging becomes fun and something you’ll look forward to. Really.

2. Meditation

After you have exercised and cooled down, sit on the floor or on an upright chair, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths through your nose. Focus on your breath. Notice how it feels as the air passes in an out of your nose. Feel your heart beat slowing.

There are many methods of meditating but the focus of almost all of them is to slow the mind and release it from the thousands of thoughts that inevitably occupy it. You can focus on your breath, a candle in front of you, a mantra (i.e. one word like peace, love, openness, joy). Play around with what works for you. Take this time to clear your mind and set your intention for the day. How do you want to feel today? Make a conscious choice and make it happen.

When those random thoughts come flying in, and they will (pretty quickly), just notice them. Don’t judge yourself or the thoughts. They’re not good or bad. They just are. Pretend that they’re just clouds in the sky and you are the open, blue space of the sky. As they come up, notice them, give them a label and put that label on a cloud and watch it drift away. Do the same with any emotions that come up. They aren’t you and you aren’t them. They’re just things like thoughts that come and go. None of these are permanent. Just let it all go.

How long you meditate is up to you. Start with a couple minutes if you’ve never tried it before. Like exercise, take baby steps to increase the time. Just 5 or 10 minutes each day makes a huge difference.

This will help you to be more focused and centered all day. When you’re caught in a stressful moment during the day, sit down, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths to re-center yourself. Put whatever is stressing you on a cloud and watch it float away. Get grounded and come up with ideas to handle the situation instead of allowing it to handle you.

3. Eat a great breakfast

What you eat for breakfast determines how you’ll feel the rest of the day. What happens when you have that coffee and bagel or muffin for breakfast? The caffeine increases your heart rate and constricts your blood vessels. The carbs in the breads turn to sugar in your body (along with the sugar in the muffin) which cause your blood sugar to spike. So, basically you just freaked your body out, making it use up what little energy it had in the first place. So you crash just before lunch. This causes you to make unhealthy choices in the foods you eat the rest of the day because your mind is trying to control the roller coaster your body is on, trying to counter the last peak or valley.

Why not start it off on an even keel in the first place? Proteins and complex carbs are the way to do it. An easy way to accomplish this is with a bowl of oatmeal with some healthy extras. This does NOT include a packet of instant oatmeal which has almost more sugar than oats in it. I’m talking plain oats. Ideally the Irish oatmeal kind of steel cut oats but if you’re in a hurry (which you shouldn’t be at this point), the quick cooking oats work too. Add some fruit, nuts and protein powder to your oatmeal.

My favorite recipe is to put a couple cups of whole or steel cut oats in a crock pot with water, chopped apples, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, agave nectar and protein powder. Let this cook overnight. In the morning you’ll have a delicious breakfast with enough left over for the week. Put the leftovers in the fridge and each morning just scoop a bowl out and heat it up.

It takes your body much longer to process the protein and complex carbs so you have more sustained energy throughout your day. No pre-lunch crashes. And thinking about what makes a health breakfast will get you thinking about what makes a healthier lunch that will sustain you through the rest of your day.

Snacks are important too. Anything healthy and about 100 calories makes a perfect snack. Make sure you have one between breakfast and lunch and another between lunch and dinner. If you’re trying to lose weight by depriving yourself of food and think you can’t have snacks, you’re on the path to another diet failure (I have coached many people through successful weight loss programs).

So that’s it: exercise, meditation and a great breakfast. Almost sounds too easy. Give it a shot for the next 3 weeks and see how you feel. Feel the difference. Ask others close to you how you’re different. Once you make it a habit, your body will beg you for it every day.

Author's Bio: 

Paige Burkes has worked with many individuals to take the baby steps necessary on a consistent basis to move toward their personal goals. She uses these skills to coach others to achieve their goals and live the life of their dreams. You can receive inspiration for taking baby steps toward your own breakthrough at her blog at