“We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.” — W. H. Auden
Most people’s lives are a reflection of their past, rather than their future.
For most people, today will look quite similar to tomorrow. 2019 will look similar to 2018.
Most people’s lives are highly predictable. And there’s a very good reason. Your brain is quite literally a “prediction machine” designed to keep you from situations and scenarios filled with uncertainty and possibility of failure.
According to several psychologists, the foundation of all fears is the “unknown.” We want our lives to be predictable. We don’t want to deal with the intense emotions involved in doing something new and different.
Trying something new and attempting to change your life will, without a doubt, cause anxiety. But according to the philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, “To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self. Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”
In order to move forward in your life, you’ll need to embrace difficulty and uncertainty — or what you might typically consider “anxiety” which Kierkegaard called the “dizziness” of freedom.
Embracing a bigger future is how you change. And according to Albert Einstein, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
The only way to change is to stop explaining your life by your past and to start explaining your life based on your future.
You get to design your life and your future. But in order to do so, you must stop living from your past.
Today can’t be the same as what happened yesterday.
The food you ate today, if you really want to get healthy, probably can’t be what you ate yesterday.
Stop repeating the past.
Rather than repeating the behavior of your past, you need to act today based on the life you want to have tomorrow.
If you wait for tomorrow to start acting how you should today, then you really are just repeating yesterday. As Professor Harold Hill has said — “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”
Developing Confidence and Changing Your Life
You cannot have confidence in your life without positively moving forward toward a bigger and better future.
If you’re days, weeks, and years are a repeating of the past, then you’re not confident.
Living a comfortable and predictable life is actually a clear reflection of your lack of confidence.
You can only have confidence after you’ve begun living a better life — and then, that confidence allows you to think bigger about what is possible.
Confidence is the byproduct of prior success. This is one of the reasons it is completely essential that you begin your morning with a routine.
The purpose of a morning routine is to get yourself moving toward your grand and exciting future. If you don’t have an exciting future that you’re working toward, then you are literally stuck in the past. And when stuck in the past, you cannot change your life, but only repeat the patterns that got you here.
When you repeat the patterns that got you here, you’ll have a lot of empty yesterdays.
When you start the day in a higher and more powerful way, you’ll immediately begin turning your future a different direction from your past.
With this short morning routine, your life will quickly change.
It may seem like a long list. But in short, it’s really quite simple:
- Wake up
- Get confidence and motivation
- Get inspired and connected
- Get perspective
- Get moving
- Act courageously
- Move powerfully toward your dreams
- Put the right food in your body
1. Get A Healthy 7+ Hours of Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted surveys revealing that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders. Not only that, 60 percent of adults, and 69 percent of children, experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.
In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month — with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.
On the flip side, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to:
- Increased memory
- Longer life
- Decreased inflammation
- Increased creativity
- Increased attention and focus
- Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise
- Lower stress
- Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine
- Decreased risk of getting into accidents
- Decreased risk of depression
- And tons more… google it.
The very act of waking up earlier will create an enormous sense of motivation in your life.
Like confidence, motivation is the byproduct of action. You can’t be motivated without taking positive steps forward toward a desired future.
As Harvard psychologist, Jerome Bruner said, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feeling yourself into action.”
Waking up early has the power of making you “psychologically bulletproof.”
If you wake up early and — rather than getting sucked into the distraction of your smartphone or the addiction to stimulants — you start vividly imagining your desired future and boldly acting toward that future, then your life will quickly change. It’s not rocket science. It just takes having something worth striving for and taking action.
Motivation is something you must create every day. You can only be motivated if you’re moving forward.
2. Prayer and Meditation to Facilitate Clarity and Abundance
“When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” — Dr. Wayne Dyer
After waking from a healthy and restful sleep session, prayer and meditation are crucial for orienting yourself toward the positive. What you focus on expands.
Prayer and meditation facilitate intense gratitude for all that you have. Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.
People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attract more of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious.
Gratitude may be the most important key to success. It has been called the mother of all virtues.
If you start every morning putting yourself in a space of gratitude and clarity, you will attract the best the world has to offer, and not get distracted.
3. Write In Your Journal For 5–15 Minutes
When you write down your dreams in vivid detail, you begin to engage both your conscious and subconscious minds. Drawing out your dreams in the form of a mind-map is also very powerful for engaging both sides of your brain.
Writing down your dreams and deeply visualizing them will make them more emotional for you. Until your dreams become emotional, they won’t be powerful enough. You need to reconstruct your identity and memory by developing a new and emotionally-driven vision of your future.
As you write your dreams down every single day, write down the ways in which you will actually achieve those dreams.
As you write down your dreams and goals, the right people will start popping into your mind. A key part of your success will be learning how to position yourself such that you can connect and collaborate with the right WHOs.
You’ll need to first develop lots of personal capability yourself in order to be someone worth connecting and collaborating with. You need to:
- Make a firm and committed decision about what you want to become a master of
- Embrace fully the “process” of development
- Only care about what certain people think and ignore everyone else
- Become so good you cannot be ignored
- Help the right people further their goals
- Invest in the right mentorships
- Make it about your mentor’s goals
- Be a giver
- Never lose track of your WHY
- Never become complacent about the success you experience
- Make huge requests
- Ask to collaborate with your heroes once you’ve established credibility and helped them in incredible ways
All of this stuff can and should happen in your journal long before it occurs in reality. You then act and continue acting in powerful ways and watch as your journal entries become more vivid and clear. Watch as your goals become realities quicker and quicker and quicker.
4. Hard Physical Activity
Despite endless evidence of the need for exercise, only one-third of American men and women between the ages of 25 to 64 years engage in regular physical activity according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey.
If you want to be among the healthy, happy, and productive people in the world, get in the habit of regular exercise. Many people go immediately to the gym to get their body moving. I have lately found that doing yard work in the wee hours of the morning generates an intense inflow of inspiration and clarity.
Whatever your preference, get your body moving.
Exercise has been found to decrease your chance of depression, anxiety, and stress. It is also related to higher success in your career.
If you don’t care about your body, every other aspect of your life will suffer. Humans are holistic beings.
5. Act Courageously
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss
But you don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. Actually, Darren Hardy has said that you can be a coward 99.9305556 percent of the time (to be exact). You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time.
Twenty seconds of fear is all you need. If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.
Make that call.
Ask that question.
Pitch that idea.
Post that video.
Whatever it is you feel you want to do — do it. The anticipation of the event is far more painful than the event itself. So just do it and end the inner conflict.
In most cases, your fears are unfounded. As Seth Godin has explained, our comfort zone and our safety zone are not the same things. It is completely safe to make an uncomfortable phone call. You are not going to die. Don’t equate the two. Recognize that most things outside your comfort zone are completely safe.
You can’t change your life without courage.
If you start every morning by doing something courageous, then your life will quickly change.
6. Listen to/Read Uplifting Content
Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.
I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus.
Taking even 15–30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.
Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.
7. Do At Least One Thing Towards Long-Term Goals
Willpower is like a muscle that depletes when it is exercised. Similarly, our ability to make high-quality decisions becomes fatigued over time. The more decisions you make, the lower quality they become — the weaker your willpower.
Consequently, you need to do the hard stuff first thing in the morning. The important stuff.
If you don’t, it simply will not get done. By the end of your day, you’ll be exhausted. You’ll be fried. There will be a million reasons to just start tomorrow. And you will start tomorrow — which is never.
So your mantra becomes: The worst comes first. Do that thing you’ve been needing to do. Then do it again tomorrow.
If you take just one step toward your big goals every day, you’ll realize those goals weren’t really far away.
8. Invest In Your Key Relationships
In addition to moving your own life forward, you’ll want to deepen the connections with those you love.
Your relationships are a very clear indicator of your quality of life and character.
Relationships should be viewed as an investment rather than a cost. When they are viewed as an investment, then you start putting more into them. You start seeing their potential for growth and development.
When you invest in key relationships — both personal and professional — your life starts to change. According to Joe Polish, “Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker.”
If during your mornings, you proactively do something kind, thoughtful, and useful to someone important in your life, you’ll feel far more joy. You’ll also likely make huge progress toward your goals, because the more successful you become, the more your success depends on your relationships.
After you’ve done this, no matter what you have for the rest of your day, you’ll have done the important stuff first. You’ll have put yourself in a place to succeed. You’ll have inched toward your dreams.
Because you’ll have done all these things, you’ll show up better in life. You’ll be better at your job. You’ll be better in your relationships. You’ll be happier. You’ll be more confident. You’ll be more bold and daring. You’ll have more clarity and vision.
Your life will shortly change.
You can’t have mornings like this consistently without waking up to all that is incongruent in your life. Those things you despise will meet their demise. They’ll disappear and never return.
You’ll quickly find you’re doing the work you’re passionate about.
Your relationships will be passionate, meaningful, deep, and fun!
You will have freedom and abundance.
The world, and the universe will respond to you in beautiful ways.
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I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a peak-state, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.
Originally published on Medium.
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