your morning routine.
To change my life, I broke the habit of waking up at the last minute and wasting the first few hours of my day.
Hitting snooze, waking up at the last possible second, and starting my day in a rush were all just habitual parts of my morning. The habit of sleeping in and then flying through my morning to prepare for the day did not serve me. It was a daily habit that drained my focus, took away my ability to direct and set intentions for my day, and robbed me of my most creative and productive hours.
I decided it was time to change this habit after reading the book, The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma. The 5 AM Club details a philosophy about waking up daily at 5 AM and the science behind it’s ability to increase productivity and performance. I decided I wanted to harness the power of the 5 AM wake up call and become part of the high performance club.
But, I have never, in my life, been a morning person. Up until reading this book, I think I tried getting up early to workout once and hated it. I was groggy, tired and my body knew it should still be in bed.
Luckily, this time around I had a lot more information about habit formation and committing to repeatable changes to create a lifestyle for myself.
To change the habit that is your current morning routine, there are two ways to approach the switch to make it as easy as possible.
- Gradually work back the time you are waking up by 15 minutes each week. For the first few weeks, do nothing when you wake up except get out of your bed. Form the micro-habit of actually getting up when your alarm sounds. When you get to the week when you would have enough time in the morning to do what you are wanting to do- journal, read, plan, workout, etc- again, start by committing to something small and repeatable. For example, if you want to become a morning exerciser, don’t plan to do a crazy long and difficult workout on day one. You may be used to getting up earlier, but your body will still need to adjust to moving and sweating at that time.
- In this approach, you will start waking up at the time you want to right away. But again, you don’t have to take any action. Start by setting a super easy minimum baseline for yourself. At first it can be to make yourself an iced coffee and sit on the sofa. Then add in your reading, journaling and exercise as you are ready. But no matter what, everyday you wake up and drink a coffee on the sofa at that time! Eventually, drinking coffee will become a trigger habit to initiate the rest of your routine.
By changing your morning routine, not only will you give yourself another 2-3 hours in your day to get things done, but you will find yourself in a better mood, more awake and lively during the day, and with much less stress.
By addressing aspects of your self care first thing in the morning, you are showing yourself your value by investing in your mental and physical health, but also generating momentum for your day as by 8 AM you are already able to check items off your to-do list.
your internal work.
To change my life, I stopped ignoring and putting off the work I needed to do, every single day, on my mental health.
Whether you find the time to journal and invest time in personal development in the morning or not, to change your life you must eliminate the habit of overlooking your mental health.
To create a habit out of doing my internal work, I used my new found habit of the 5 AM wake up call to get some reading and journaling done first thing in the morning. Compounding habits is a great hack to trigger action.
Even before that though, I made it a habit to listen to self help podcasts everyday on my commute to work and school and would use any extra minutes in the day to learn more about my brain and why humans think, feel, and do the things we do.
When you know better, you do better. As I learned more and more from the podcasts, I was able to change little micro-habits in my life that had huge compound effects.
To change my life, I switched the story I was telling myself about fitness and exercise.
My old habit was to only exercise when I was really down on myself, or felt fat. This pattern created an association between feeling like crap and exercising.
I wanted to create a new habit around exercise that allowed me to feel good and do it from a place of self love.
To start changing your habits around exercise, I think it is important to first switch your thoughts about it. Instead of thinking I needed to exercise to lose weight because I was fat, I started thinking about things that made me feel happy and proud.
I was never athletic, so I started to shift why I wanted to work out from “to stop being fat” to “I want to get stronger, faster and in better shape.” This helped me to adopt the mentality of someone who was an athlete and who loved to move.
Creating a positive ‘why’ and following through a daily movement has been a game changer in my world. My body and mind have never been healthier and I have never felt more confident.
your self talk.
To change my life, I broke the habit of thinking negative thoughts.
If negativity and thinking thoughts that don’t serve you seem like the automatic wiring of your brain, you have fallen into the habit of believing negative self talk. Like anything else, the way you think and respond to the circumstances of your life is completely habitual.
Even though these thoughts and beliefs seem so fixed and out of your control, you can change the habit of your current self talk.
It is hard- I know it is hard- but to really start to think new things you must be willing to correct a negative thought about a zillion times before being able to believe something new. Be fully open to releasing your victim mentality and the all the benefits your negative thinking provides to you.
Think about it.
If you think you are fat and ugly, than you have an excuse not to date and deal with the discomfort of relationships. If you think you are stupid, than why put in the effort to get the degree or pursue your dream career and risk being rejected? If you think you are worthless, than why put forth the energy to take care of yourself and live at the highest level?
Thinking and believing these lies is easy because your brain wants to get you to exert as little energy as possible. But on the back end it is robbing you of the experience of being fully alive.
When we believe our negative stories, our lives become a tiny fraction of what they could be, and when we live a life out of alignment with our passions and dreams we are simply spectators of life.
To break the habit of thinking negative thoughts you must decide what you want to be thinking instead. Use the thought model to analyze which thoughts you need to be thinking to get the results you are craving in your life.
If you think your life sucks, it is because of the way you are thinking about it- period.
To change my life, I stopped breaking promises with myself.
To keep it short and to the point- to reach your goals and realize your potential you must break the habit of not following through with the things you say you will do.
This lack of trust is poison in your life.
Imagine if you never broke a promise with yourself again. Imagine what it would feel like to be able to bet on yourself to get things done and show up for what matters.
Your life would be everything you ever wanted it to be.
To break the habit of breaking promises, start by collecting some evidence that you can follow through. This is done by creating small commitments and executing them without all the mental drama and “I don’t knows.”
Start showing up for something small that makes you feel good about yourself and make it a non-negotiable in your life. If you make a mistake and break the commitment, you get right back on it the next chance you get.
You likely have a lot of evidence telling you that you can’t trust yourself that has been accumulated from years of giving up and quitting. But from now on the only thing we are quitting on is quitting.
To make showing up and following through a habit in your life- just start doing it. Create little opportunities everyday to start collecting some new evidence and build that foundation of trust with yourself. Even more important, commit to things fully and don’t quit on them. You need to start filling your “I can trust myself” cup and stop pouring into the cup of self doubt.
Be all in on changing these habits in your life and you will experience a transformation, both physically and mentally, that will empower you to live at the highest level and to your fullest potential. Habits are the key to taking back control of your life and creating the results you dream of.
You get to be in control of it all- so change what sucks and invest fully in what serves you.
Successful people have a core set of habits that propel them. The average person confuses success with luck. But luck has nothing to do with it.Dean Graziosi