How you spend your morning determines your success in life.
How you spend your morning determines who you will become.
How you spend your morning determines whether you become world-class at something, or remain merely average.
How you spend your morning determines how well you:
- spend your time
- choose your friends
- choose your lover
- choose your career
- perform in your work
- influence the world
To quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
To quote Jeffrey Holland. “You make or break your mission every morning.”
You make or break your life between 5 and 7 a.m.
“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” — Richard Whately
If you don’t prioritize and maximize your morning hours, you’ll always be left wondering what your life could have been. You’ll never know what you could have had.
You’ll never watch yourself accelerate and advance at rates that are possible, but seem impossible.
You’ll always settle for less in your choices, relationships, eating, environment, income, and life.
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Many people reading this article have kids and other responsibilities that are immediately pressing upon them, usually around 7 a.m.
If you start your day at 7 a.m., you’ve already lost the most important hours of your day. You’ve already lost your chance to radically separate yourself from the masses.
When you upgrade yourself intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, you’re enabled to see the world from a more elevated plane. You’re empowered to deal with the difficult and challenging emotions required for growth and evolution. You quickly learn how to work with people, solve problems, and create an amazing lifestyle where you’re making great money.
What do you do between 5 and 7 a.m.?
If you could give yourself two hours, every morning, solely dedicated to learning, thinking, planning, meditating, praying, and writing in your journal, your life would change.
How a person spends the hours of 5 to 7 a.m. are a pretty clear indicator of how successful they’ll be. Is this always the case? Of course not. Are there certain circumstances, such as people who work night shifts, when these exact hours don’t apply? Sure.
But for most people, the hours of 5 to 7 a.m. make or break their entire life.
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How you start something is very important. Consequently, how you start your day is extremely important. It is indeed possible to correct your course mid-way through the day, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t often happen. Momentum — good or bad — is hard to reverse.
Waking up at 5 a.m. isn’t enough, then, if you wake up at that time and you start yourself down a non-optimal path.
First things should come first. Some things are good, other things are better, and other things are best.
Given that your morning hours are your most important, you shouldn’t dedicate those golden hours to activities which are merely “good.” As Jim Collins has said, “Good is the enemy of great.” Similarly, Dallin Oaks has said, “We should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best.”
Every person has 24 hours per day. However, what each person does with those 24 hours determines who they become and what they do. How you spend your 24 hours is the difference between being happy and being miserable.
There are endless choices you could make. Endless activities you could engage in. Endless people you could surround yourself with. Endless goals you could pursue.
Most choices are bad choices.
Most activities are unimportant.
There are a lot of things which are “good.” But those activities should NOT come first thing in the morning.
Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following sleep. Your mind is clearest in the morning. Your energy is highest.
A lot of people wake up first thing and head to the gym. This is certainly a good activity — it will wake you up and get you moving. But fitness is not the most optimal thing you could do in the morning.
If you’ve already accomplished more in your morning than most people do in a month, you’ll be SO PUMPED to workout. You’ll push yourself so much harder. You’ll feel so much more fulfilled. You’ll feel so good it will feel like beating the system — which is actually what you’re doing when you live on your own terms.
Your workout should be a mental break — a way to break up your day. The physical and mental can push each other upward. Once you workout, you give your mind a rest and allow your subconscious to synthesize and organize all the work you’ve done throughout your morning.
Indeed, stepping away after several hours of hard thinking is where you’ll get your best insights. Don’t waste those epic insights by working out first thing in the morning! Instead, workout during the afternoon and get even more insights WHILE YOU’RE working out as a byproduct of the thinking and mental work you’ve done that morning.
Another benefit of working out later in the day is that it does energize you — and thus you can add a couple extra hours of good mental energy that you won’t get if you exercise first thing in the morning.
So what should you do first thing in the morning?
If you want to quickly set yourself apart in life, you should make it your first priority to read lots of really good books. If you spend 1–2 hours per morning reading, you’d read 50–100 books per year. Do this for 5–10 years, and as they say, you’ll become an “overnight success.”
In our incredible age of information and technology, it’s never been easier to access information. Of course, it’s also never been more distracting.
There are many REALLY good books. There are also MILLIONS of books that aren’t that great.
The quality of books you read matters. To quote Ryan Holiday, “If you read what everyone else reads, you’ll think like everyone else thinks.”
Some books are classics for a reason.
Some books have shaped culture for a reason.
Some books are continually recommended by people who have achieved wealth and success for a reason.
And when you start really reading, you’ll be guided by the books themselves. The right books will pop-up and stir your heart. You’ll intuitively know — I need to read that book, which will then lead you to the next book and the next.
Reading isn’t enough though.You need to spend plenty of time thinking, meditating, praying if so inclined, and writing in your journal.
Rather than just reading for 1–2 hours straight, it’s good to shift between reading, thinking, and writing down your insights. Listening to audiobooks makes this process even easier.
While either listening or reading, it’s good to allow spaces of time to really think about what you’re learning, and to measure what you’re learning against your current worldview, priorities, and goals.
Hopefully, if you’re open to learning, you’ll allow what you’re reading to alter and enhance your current mental model. You’ll allow your learning to hone and improve your current priorities, goals, choices, and daily behaviors.
Thus, while you’re learning, it’s good to ponder and think about the goals you’re currently pursuing. Writing your goals down in the morning, and emotionally visualizing their completion is powerful. It’s awe-inspiring and humbling to read old journal entries and realize that many of your former goals have since been attained and accomplished.
While listening to or reading powerful information — your mind will be primed to get lots of really good ideas.
While listening/reading, you’ll get lots of REALLY GOOD ideas about how you can better accomplish your goals. Ideas will come to your mind about how you can better help the people in your network accomplish their goals.
You’ll want to immediately act on these ideas. The longer you hesitate, the more likely you will be to forget about your key insight. The longer you wait, the less power your idea will have.
This is how you make quantum leaps, day-by-day, in your progression. When you’re getting powerful insights that improve how you live, your life changes. That’s why learning every day is so important.
If you read good books every morning, visualize and strategize your goals, and write your insights in your journal, you’ll have an amazing life.
You’ll become a highly creative person.
You’ll be a brilliant decision maker and strategist.
You’ll become financially successful.
You’ll learn from your mistakes, and not continue the same unhealthy patterns.
What do you do between the hours of 5–7 a.m.?
Join the 5 a.m. club!
If you haven’t yet joined the 5 a.m. club, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s the equivalent of me telling you how good a certain chocolate cake is. You can only really know if you taste the cake yourself.
You won’t know how motivating, clarifying, and empowering it is until you experience it yourself. Your identity and personality are shaped by your behavior. Change your choices, change your life.
Will waking up early sometimes suck?
But if it doesn’t suck, it’s not worth doing. Robert Greene explains in his book, Mastery, that you can learn to love this internal resistance. In his words, “You find a kind of perverse pleasure in moving past the pain this might bring.”
And if you immediately put yourself in a different environment — the fog and tiredness will go away within 5 minutes.
Drink a huge cup of water and go somewhere you can be alone. Throw your shoes on. Wake yourself up and deal with the few moments of pain in order to unlock a life most people could never imagine.