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Last Updated on February 25, 2018

Why I Have a Morning Routine and How It Makes Me Sharper Every Day

Why I Have a Morning Routine and How It Makes Me Sharper Every Day

Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, remarked that approximately 95% of our society settles for less than what they want in life. In fact, Elrod hit rock bottom after a tragic car accident. Then one morning he decided to go for a run and listen to a podcast and he was hooked. Once he committed to this newfound routine, he uncovered his path to success.

So, how can you avoid being in the 95% and join the 5% who live up to their potential in life? The answer is simple, you have to wake up! In the words of C.T. Fletcher,

“This is your wakeup call, this is your week to make it happen, wakeup the Hercules in you!”

My goal is to demonstrate to you why a morning routine will provide a literal boost in your life and how it will make you a mentally sharper person. I will then show you how to flip the switch and kickstart your own morning routine.

    Photo credit: Source

    My Crazy Morning Routine

    Consider this a revised edition to an article I previously published – 5 Ways My Crazy Morning Routine Will Transform You into Superman. Since I published my morning routine, I have continually tweaked it. I am attempting to manufacture the perfect morning routine, which will then manufacture the perfect day. Let me show you what my routine currently looks like.

    • 3:30 am: wake up, stretch, take a pre-workout supplement, do 80 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds or more, 30 bicep curls, and listen to an audiobook.
    • 4 am: take a nootropic, do 80 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds or more, 30 bicep curls, and run for 5 miles while listening to an audiobook.
    • 5 am: cool-down, shower, and personal hygiene while listening to an audiobook.
    • 5:30 am: use a posture belt and practice speed reading.
    • 6 am: write or research, do 80 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds or more, and 30 bicep curls.
    • 7 am: eat breakfast (unless intermittent fasting), drink Bulletproof coffee, write in 5-minute growth journal, and spend time with family before heading off to work.

      Photo credit: Source

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      Enter Beast Mode!

      Think about your normal routine. Do you find you are typically in a hurry, do you feel tired, or feel like your day always starts off poorly? This is how most people typically start their day.

      By entering Beast Mode and establishing a morning routine, you will set a positive tone for the day. In fact, it has been proven that morning types are more likely to report higher levels of a positive affect and are healthier than non-morning types.[1]

      Your morning routine should be your selfish time. This is time to spend improving you. If you wake up before everyone else, you will find you are free of distractions. If you carve out your own time every morning, you will find that you can focus on the important people in your life when they wake up. Think of it like putting your oxygen mask on first in the event of a crash landing.

      Increase Your ‘Aha’ Moments

      We should allow our brain to operate on autopilot every morning. People typically operate on autopilot when they mediate or go for a long run. When we do this, ideas just seem to just pop into our mind. Stop and think about what you were doing the last time you received an ‘aha’ moment. There is a good chance it came to you while you were meditating, exercising, or taking a shower. When you are on autopilot you are actually entering into what is known as the Default Mode Network (DMN).

      Andrew Smart, author of Autopilot: The Art & Science of Doing Nothing writes that our brain is more active when it is not focused on something specific; basically, it is idle. People typically think that we must be working and thinking all the time, however, neurologist Dr. Marcus Raichle found this to be dead wrong. In fact, he found that certain regions of our brain were deactivated during concentration, yet became super active when we were not focused on a task, where we were on autopilot or in DMN. [2]

      So, if you were ever looking for scientific proof for the importance of meditation or why taking a shower brought you a moment of brilliance, then look no further than DMN. Moreover, the most important thing I found with DMN is that I am able to maximize it with my morning routine. This in turn maximizes my creativity.

        Photo credit: Source

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        Kickstart Your Brain and Metabolism

        By waking up early, exercising, taking a cold shower, drinking a large glass of ice water, you will find that your brain and metabolism will function at a higher level. Again… think about it, you are doing more before 7am for your brain and metabolism than most people do in an entire day.

        Just as our brain is malleable, our metabolism is as well. Exercise physiologist Gary Ditsch remarked,

        “Your metabolism isn’t fixed. You can impact it significantly with your daily activity and diet.”

        Let’s look at how a morning routine can improve your brain and metabolism.

        • Exercising in the morning prepares the brain for optimal learning. Best-selling author and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, Dr. John Ratey found that exercise is strongly correlated with increased brain mass, improved cognition, and new brain cell production. Neurogenesis is sparked by a magical substance known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of this magical substance.
        • A morning workout will help you burn more calories in a day. Similar to our car, we burn less fuel at rest compared to when we are moving. Simply put, the more active we are during the day, the more we burn, and the higher our metabolism. It’s simple math, the earlier you start burning calories, the more you will burn in a day.

        Now that you understand the importance and the why of a morning routine, let’s take a look at how you can create your own morning routine.

          Photo credit: Source

          Hack Your Sleep

          Our ‘aha’ moments also increase the moment we wake up from a great night of sleep.[3]

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          So, how can you hack your sleep? Let’s take a look.

          • Avoid caffeine or sugar after 5pm.
          • Shut off your phone, TV, or computer 45 minutes before going to sleep.
          • Use a Fitbit (or similar device) to track your sleep.
          • Supplement with melatonin.

          Also, practice the following breathing exercise.

          The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

          For this exercise, sit with your back straight, place the tip of our tongue behind your front teeth (upper), inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Then do the following: [4]

          • Make sure you exhale completely through your mouth.
          • Close your mouth while you inhale through your nose (count of 4).
          • Hold your breath (count of 7).
          • Exhale through your mouth (count of 8).
          • Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

          Wake up Early the Easy Way

          Let’s now take a look at some tips for waking up early.

          • Take a cold shower as soon as you wake up. I guarantee you this will shock your body and wake you up!
          • If taking a cold shower first thing in the morning is too extreme, try simply splashing cold water on your face.
          • Drink a large glass of ice cold water as soon as you wake up. This will also fire up your metabolism.
          • Move your alarm clock across the room so you have to force yourself to physically get up.
          • Sleep in your gym clothing.

          The Bruce Lee Challenge

          There are many paths we can take when formulating a plan to achieve our goals. I recently came across a unique way provided by travismcashan.com. Travis McAshan calls this The Bruce Lee Challenge. McAshan poses the following question,

          “The Bruce Lee Challenge starts by asking yourself one question: If you could make one simple change on a daily basis that would make the most significant positive change in your life, what would it be? What happens next is up to you…”

          Here is how you can establish your morning routine using The Bruce Lee Challenge.[5]

          • Step 1: Choose your goal. This could be simply starting a morning routine.
          • Step 2: Decide your key objective. Here you are looking to break your goal down into specific and measurable metrics that you can track. For example, let’s say you have the following goals: 1) Wake up every morning by 5am; 2) Run 5 days a week (starting at 5:30am); 3) Read for 30 minutes every morning.
          • Step 3: Commit for 21 days. Human mind takes nearly 21 days to adjust to major life changes. So, try sticking to your new morning routine for 21 days and see what happens.
          • Step 4: Take immediate action. This one is simple… get started now!
          • Step 5: Make a decision. After you have committed for 21 days, now it is time to make a decision. Are you going to continue your new morning routine or not?

          You Have to Want It!

          You can create the best strategy, outline successful and achievable goals, and have the greatest intentions; however, you have to want it. You have to become obsessed with it.

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          The key to success with anything is discipline plus desire. Recently, I wrote an article about C.T. Fletcher. C.T. aspires to be the best and the baddest man on the planet. Let’s see what C.T. has to say about being obsessed with success. [6]

          “If you don’t have the mental capacity to be that obsessed about what you’re trying to get… then you’re never going to have it.” – C.T. Fletcher

          C.T.’s mom used to tell him all the time that sometimes if he’s just a bit too high, he must be brought down. He will be taught a really bad lesson because there’s someone out there just badder than him. But he said no, somebody had got to be the baddest and it would be him.

          Finally, if you remember anything from this article, remember this,

          “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” – Eric Thomas

          Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

          Reference

          More by this author

          Dr. Jamie Schwandt

          Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

          If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

          1. Breathe

          The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

          • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
          • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
          • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

          Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

          2. Loosen up

          After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

          Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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          3. Chew slowly

          Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

          Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

          Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

          4. Let go

          Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

          The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

          It’s not. Promise.

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          Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

          Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

          21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

          5. Enjoy the journey

          Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

          Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

          6. Look at the big picture

          The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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          Will this matter to me…

          • Next week?
          • Next month?
          • Next year?
          • In 10 years?

          Hint: No, it won’t.

          I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

          Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

          7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

          You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

          Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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          8. Practice patience every day

          Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

          • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
          • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
          • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

          Final thoughts

          Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

          Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

          Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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