In Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, almost all of the people he interviewed had amazing morning rituals, including working out, meditating, goal setting, and gratitude exercises. It became very clear to me that if I wanted to increase the odds of having great outcomes in all aspects of life, I really needed to have strong morning rituals.
By 6:30/7, I need to be in Dad mode: helping get the kids ready for school, making breakfast, etc. This meant waking up by 4:30 am as opposed to 6:30 am. Needless to say, I struggled with this quite a bit. I was able to do it, and here’s my story.
Created clarity on WHY to motivate me
I knew I was getting up early because it would enable me to workout and meditate in the morning, which I knew would make me more fit, productive, and happier. But it’s when I focused on more tangible outcomes, it became more compelling. For example, I knew that if I could pull this off, that in 1 year I would be strong enough to do push-ups with my kids on my back, which they love. I knew that we’d be able to enjoy our trips abroad more because I would be more active (Ruchi likes to do a ton on vacation). I knew that I would be able to make better decisions at work (as my mind is much sharper), which leads to more margin which allows me to give raises and invest in growth.
It’s the same reason that Susco and many other successful businesses not only have a compelling mission, but they also have clear “3 year pictures”, big hairy audacious goals (BHAGSs) that help drive the team during difficult times.
Changed my perspective
I used to think of myself as a “night person” and therefore not a “morning person”. By wrapping my identity around the behavior I was inadvertently creating unnecessary resistance. Instead, I reframed it as I’m simply shifting my sleep schedule.
Used the 5-second rule to stop hitting the snooze button
When trying to get up, the snooze button used to be my best friend/worst enemy. This can be rather demoralizing. There’s a wonderful hack called the 5 second rule. Basically, all you do is start saying 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… when you’re about to hit snooze (or procrastinate in any form), and almost like magic, you’ll get out of bed. Check out Mel Robbins*, she literally wrote the book on it.
*no relation to Tony.
Shared my journey to create accountability
I leveraged social media, specifically the trend of taking a picture of my watch and posting it online with a #0445club tag. This was immensely powerful after a week or so because people noticed and I didn’t want to break the pattern. One can achieve the same effect by just having a (1) workout buddy or (2) just individuals you text when you get up. (Learn more about #0445club and Jocko Willink history here).
Was patient with myself
Shifting one’s sleep schedule is hard. That’s why jetlag sucks! Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not enjoying the initial mornings. It’s not a sign that you’re “not a morning person”, it just means you haven’t adapted yet. It took 2 — 3 weeks for it to get “easy” for me to get up. The key for me was not rushing feeling good about it.
Remember, while the only limits you have are those you’ve placed on yourselves, since you’ve spent so much time reinforcing them, it takes time to remove them! Go crush it!