"You are what you do every day, not once in a while."
These disciplined achievers value the solitude that these early morning hours offer. It's their chance to get start the day right and get ahead of those still asleep.
I've always known this yet it took me more than 26 years to acquire the discipline necessary to join the prestigious "5am club."
I'm the guy that slept through the SAT's the first time around.
I've since learned that there is an all important prerequisite for becoming an early riser: to get out of bed at 4:45 am you must have a strong reason "why?"
That's because the first thing that you're going to do when that alarm rings is ask, "Why am I doing this to myself?"
You must be working on something "big" or be so "inspired" that you're willing to give up sleep to make your dreams a reality. If that doesn't describe you then I'd suggest working on fixing that first.
If you continue reading I'm going to assume you've got a deep desire to make your life extraordinary.
In the rest of this post I'm going to share with you a powerful morning routine that can drastically change your life for the better.
I'm going to show you how I use the different aspects of this morning routine to wake up inspired, motivated, and ready to take on the challenges of the day.
Step one: Wake up & get out of bed
This is probably going to be your biggest challenge. For me every morning is a new battle. The alarm rings at 4:45 am and it's easy to start justifying why you deserve a couple extra hours of sleep. Don't do this.
Jump out of bed and leave your bedroom. For me that means going right into step two.
Step two: Water & bathroom time
After a night of sleep your body is dehydrated and needs water. Right after waking up force yourself to drink 1-2 large glasses of water. This will help you hydrate and wake your body up. I also spend the next 10-15 minutes in the bathroom.
Step three: Meditate
Meditating is one of the most useful things you can do at the start of your day. I do a priming meditation where I listen to a "Devi Prayer." While doing a gratitude mediation. The exact audio I listen to is in the YouTube video below.
While listening to this music I focus on three things I'm grateful for. I visualize these things and try to feel as if I'm reliving the moments I'm most grateful for. I end this 15-20 minute meditation by visualizing three things I'm trying to achieve. Specifically I visualize the feeling of accomplishing these things.
Starting your day with gratitude will change the course of your day. You'll be calmer, happier, and more ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way.
Do this for 10 days in a row for at least 10 minutes in the morning and I assure you that you won't need me to tell you to keep going after that.
Step four: Journal
Immediately after meditating I open up my journal and write down some thoughts. Typically I start by writing a quote that is inspiring me on this particular morning. I write down the three things I'm grateful for and then I write some positive affirmations. Lastly I write down three things I'm working towards achieving today.
Step five: Pomodoro time
I use the free tomato timer to do as many pomodoro cycles as I can before my 7am gym session. A pomodoro is a 25-minute work session (tracked with a timer) and a 5-minute rest at the end. I try to get three Pomodoro cycles in each morning.
During this time I'm either writing or tackling my hardest and most difficult tasks for the day. If you can get your toughest tasks out of the way first thing every morning, the rest of your day will seem much more manageable.
Step six: Hit the gym
Taking care of your body is a worthwhile investment. Personally I run and do Crossfit at least 4 or 5 times per week, sometimes more.
I don't need to explain the benefits of fitness to you. Your body is the vehicle carrying your brain around for the rest of your life. Take care of it.
After the gym I head home to spend some time with my wife before I head to the office to greet my team.
Establishing these habits took time and discipline. If waking up at 4:45 am is too much for you, find a time that's more doable. Slowly set your alarm earlier and earlier until you reach your desired time.
Lastly, don't try to add all of these habits at once. Focus on one at a time. If you want to change something, do it. This is about finding what works for you.
Have fun, enjoy, and may all your dreams come true.