Ashley Horner knows exactly what it takes to build a successful life. Why? Because this Kaged Muscle athlete built her own—moment by moment, choice by choice, and brutal challenge by brutal challenge. While she's perhaps best known as a boundary-breaking athlete with an equal passion for heavy lifts and grueling distance challenges like ultra-running and triathlons, Horner is far more than just a physical being. She's also a business owner, mother, and philanthropist—and those three aspects of herself inform every physical feat she sets herself against.
Horner's success has been many years in the making. Each day, she works hard to create the best life for herself and her children, and even when she's resting, it's with purpose.
These are the daily rituals that Horner says have helped her continually improve. No matter what your goal is, do them every damn day, and they'll set you up for success.
Ritual 1: Make Your Morning Meaningful
There's no better way to set up your day for success than with a solid morning. If you're one of those people who wake up as late as possible and run out the door with a granola bar and a cup of coffee, you may want to take a leaf out of Horner's book.
"I always wake up before my boys do," she says. "This gives me a moment to have my quiet time, reflect, and journal. I drink a cup of coffee or two with cream and honey. My days can be hectic to say the least. As a mother, an athlete, and an entrepreneur, I'm constantly switching from one hat to the next. Having that quiet time to just sit is so good for my mental clarity."
Horner says that her quiet time in the morning is one of the most important aspects of her daily routine. Your time doesn't have to be totally quiet, though. If this is the only time in your day when training is a possibility, by all means use it! But save at least a few minutes for reflection.
Ritual 2: Devote 30 Minutes to Small, Goal-Based Changes
Yes, big accomplishments get big attention. But those who actually do the accomplishing know that everything big is built of countless small, consistent choices. Honestly, you don't know what you want or what you're capable of until you spend a little bit of time every single day working on it. That's exactly the kind of discipline that Horner preaches—and practices.
"Discipline closes the gap between who you are and who you want to become," she says. "And it starts with tiny changes that you can perform every day. Perhaps, if you're wanting to become more active, plug in 2-3 days a week that you can be active for 30 minutes. Then, build up to 30 minutes a day—but stay disciplined. Learning how to maintain those habits is, ultimately, more important than starting a bunch of new ones. Gradually, you'll begin to evolve."
No, it's not easy to make changes in your life. It's not easy to find or make success, either. But having the discipline to move forward each day, even—or especially—when you really don't feel like it, is how you grow.
Ritual 3: Disconnect
Many of us feel that, in order to achieve our goals, we need to all-out run at them 24/7. Although that's certainly admirable, it's not maintainable. Horner says she has had to learn how pulling back from her goals can actually help her move closer to accomplishing them.
"I don't go a day without playing with my boys in the ocean," says Horner. "But the bigger picture idea is disconnecting. I think that's incredibly hard for a lot of people, and it's taken me many years to learn and implement it into my life."
Kaged Muscle founder Kris Gethin, one of Horner's close friends and one of the most goal-driven human beings you'll ever meet, is also a huge advocate of disconnecting. If you were surprised to see him meditating on a paddleboard in the video "One Day in the Kage: 24 Hours with Kris Gethin," you shouldn't be.
Why? Because the payoff of maintaining this space in your life is huge and undeniable. Not only does disconnecting from your goals help you stay excited about them, it also helps you maintain everything else in your life: your family, your health, your social circle. You'd better believe having those elements in place matters when you're chasing serious goals. And if they're not in place, is your success really, well, a success?
Horner's attitude toward success is that it should be holistic. Being successful means having wellness in all parts of your life.
Ritual 4: Prep for Tomorrow
Nothing stalls forward momentum like a lack of preparation. And not just preparing for the parts of your day that feed directly into your big goals. If you go to bed each night without a thought for tomorrow, your big goal will get swallowed by a million small tasks.
Horner has a busy life. But many of the things that fill her day are the same things that fill the rest of our days: cooking, eating, taking care of her loved ones, and checking off all the unglamorous tasks that we all know well.
So, she takes some time before she goes to bed to start the next day positively: "Before shutting it down completely for the evening, I ensure the boys have laid out their clothes to ease a little bit of the morning chaos. I go over my schedule for the following day so I can prepare whatever needs to be done and lay out my clothes accordingly. I also prep any meals or snacks that I might need the next day."
Know you want to train in the morning? Lay out your clothes, supplements, and any other accessories you know you need. Know that you have an important meeting, call, or conversation ahead of you? Clear the road so you can focus on it when its time comes.
One Wasted Day Is One Too Many
Although 365 days in a year seems like a lot, it's amazing how quickly those days go by. Every single one of those days has meaning. A lazy Sunday and a nose-to-the-grindstone Monday are both chances for you to be better.
None of the habits Ashley Horner described above are extraordinarily difficult. In fact, they're easy. But Horner does them every single day without fail. That's what sets her apart.
Nail down the little stuff. Keep the big stuff in front of you. Keep building, and keep going.