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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.

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          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 January 21, 2020

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

          your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

            Why You Need a Vision

            Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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            How to Create Your Life Vision

            Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

            What Do You Want?

            The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

            It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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            Some tips to guide you:

            • Remember to ask why you want certain things
            • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
            • Give yourself permission to dream.
            • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
            • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

            Some questions to start your exploration:

            • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
            • What would you like to have more of in your life?
            • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
            • What are your secret passions and dreams?
            • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
            • What do you want your relationships to be like?
            • What qualities would you like to develop?
            • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
            • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
            • What would you most like to accomplish?
            • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

            It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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            What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

            Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

            A few prompts to get you started:

            • What will you have accomplished already?
            • How will you feel about yourself?
            • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
            • What does your ideal day look like?
            • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
            • What would you be doing?
            • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
            • How are you dressed?
            • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
            • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
            • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

            It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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            Plan Backwards

            It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

            • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
            • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
            • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
            • What important actions would you have had to take?
            • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
            • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
            • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
            • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
            • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

            Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

            It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

            Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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