I remember where I was when I started eating breakfast. And no, I don’t mean time and place, although I remember that, too. I had just graduated college and was about to pursue a career in professional baseball. Going undrafted, the odds of succeeding were slim to none, but I was hard-headed enough to believe in myself anyway.

But baseball was what I was doing, not who I was. In a way, though, I felt like it defined me. Little did I know, that was more a result of the lack of depth I had anywhere else in life than a tribute to the game of baseball.

I was shallow. I didn’t have a job, my parents were paying for my rent, I woke up with no real purpose, and I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. To some, no responsibilities to hold someone down may seem like freedom, but it was that very freedom that held me hostage.

I didn’t work. I didn’t read or get smarter. I didn’t do things for others. I was of no use to anyone but myself.

Then someone told me to eat breakfast.

I was told this in my first spring training - if you would call it that. Being among a collection of guys who all shared the same pipe dream as me, we shared information. Some shared business knowledge, some shared fitness knowledge. It was a good place to learn things. While there, I learned about health. The guy that taught me talked about all meals - counting calories, cutting carbs, increasing protein intake - everything.

But for some reason, all I really heard was the breakfast part.

To be fair, I never claimed to be a good listener. But I listened to the part about breakfast. Turkey bacon or Canadian bacon with scrambled eggs got you your lean fats and protein to start off the day. He also said avocado, but I hate vegetables, so I got my veggie intake in the form of a chewable supplement.

I also hated cooking breakfast.

In my college days, my breakfast consisted of… whatever was in the fridge. If it didn’t heat up in the microwave, I didn’t want it. Having to grease a pan, crack open some eggs, stand there until they were done - all while waiting on bacon to cook. It just seemed like a lot of work.

But I grinded through it, I did it three days in a week.

Then four.

Then six.

And soon, I was making eggs and bacon everyday.

I did it for three weeks, 21 days, and I had developed my first good habit. As a result, my body fat percentage dropped, my energy level rose, and I just felt better. I could tackle days without feeling sluggish and lethargic. I had given my body the natural energy it needed to get out of the house and do things.

And then something crazy happened.

After about two months, I started craving breakfast. I woke up yearning for it. The taste of scrambled eggs with some cheddar cheese drizzled on top clung to my tongue like a parasite that wouldn’t be satisfied until it had what it desired. And I realized that it was more than just my body that was different.

My mentality had shifted, too.

I realized that with a few weeks of forced work that I could change my nature. The things I did on a daily basis didn’t define me because I could change the things I did whenever I wanted to. I just had to want it bad enough.

Eating breakfast opened the door for more habits and routines to seep into my life. It was a job. Then it was a gym routine. Then I began working on developing skill sets (such as writing). And all of a sudden my days were fueled by positive stimuli and the negative, static lifestyle I once lived was gone. Forever. My routines were too ingrained in me to disappear. They were there to stay, and so was a new, improved version of myself.

Healthy, studious, contemplative, confident, and compassionate.

All from a plate of scrambled eggs.

The physical benefit of routine is great. But the mental benefits are life-changing. They open your eyes to what you’re truly capable of. They force you to put your head down and focus on the process of living rather than being paralyzed by the image of where you want to be.

Great things don’t simply poof into existence. Jealous because you don’t have the same physique as the guy benching next to you at the gym? That’s because he’s put in more work than you. So catch up. Mad that you’re living paycheck to paycheck and your coworker just came back from a vacation? Find a plan to live less expensively and tackle it one day at a time.

Whatever it is, it’s possible. You just have to put in the secret ingredient: energy.

And maybe some scrambled eggs.