8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.
Life is busy. It can feel impossible to move toward your dreams. If you have a full-time job and kids, it’s even harder.
How do you move forward?
If you don’t purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve — without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you’ll be old and withered — wondering where all that time went.
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.”
Rethinking Your Life and Getting Out of Survival Mode
This article is intended to challenge you to rethink your entire approach to life. The purpose is to help you simplify and get back to the fundamentals.
Sadly, most people’s lives are filled to the brim with the nonessential and trivial. They don’t have time to build toward anything meaningful.
They are in survival mode. Are you in survival mode?
Like Bilbo, most of us are like butter scraped over too much bread. Unfortunately, the bread is not even our own, but someone else’s. Very few have taken the time to take their lives into their own hands.
It was social and cultural to live our lives on other people’s terms just one generation ago. And many millennials are perpetuating this process simply because it’s the only worldview we’ve been taught.
However, there is a growing collective-consciousness that with a lot of work and intention — you can live every moment of your life on your own terms.
You are the designer of your destiny.
You are responsible.
You get to decide. You must decide — because if you don’t, someone else will.Indecision is a bad decision.
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 in the zone
- Get moving
- Put the right food in your body
- Get ready
- Get inspired
- Get perspective
- Do something to move you forward
- Get A Healthy 7+ Hours of Sleep
Let’s face it — Sleep is just as important as eating and drinking water. Despite this, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience insane problems as a result.
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 flipside, 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 rest of this blog post is worthless if you don’t make sleep a priority. Who cares if you wake up at 5 o’clock A.M. if you went to bed three hours earlier?
You won’t last long.
You may use stimulants to compensate, but that isn’t sustainable. In the long-run, your health will fall apart. The goal needs to be long-term sustainability.
- Prayer and Meditation to Facilitate Clarity and Abundance
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.
- 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.
- Consume 30 Grams of Protein
Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, also recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking up.
According to Tim, his father did this and lost 19 pounds in one month.
Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents spikes in hunger.
Eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings. These are the types of carbs that get you fat. Think bagels, toast, and donuts.
Tim makes four recommendations for getting adequate protein in the morning:
- Eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein
- Do it with two or three whole eggs (each egg has about 6g protein)
- If you don’t like eggs, use something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese
- Or, you could always do a protein shake with water
For people who avoid dairy, meat, and eggs, there are several plant-based proteins. Legumes, greens, nuts, and seeds all are rich in protein.
- Take A Cold Shower
Tony Robbins starts every morning by jumping into a 57-degree Fahrenheit swimming pool.
Why would he do such a thing?
Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. It can also increase weight-loss because it boosts your metabolism.
A 2007 research study found that taking cold showers routinely can help treat depression symptoms often more effectively than prescription medications. That’s because cold water triggers a wave of mood-boosting neurochemicals which make you feel happy.
There is of course, an initial fear of stepping into a cold shower. Without a doubt, if you’ve tried this before, you have found yourself standing outside the shower dreading the thought of going in.
You may have even talked yourself out of it and said, “Maybe tomorrow.” And turned the hot water handle before getting in.
Or, maybe you jumped in but quickly turned the hot water on?
What has helped me is thinking about it like a swimming pool. It’s a slow painful death to get into a cold pool slowly. You just need to jump in. After 20 seconds, you’re fine.
It’s the same way with taking a cold shower. You get in, you heart starts beating like crazy. Then, after like 20 seconds, you feel fine.
To me, it increases my willpower and boosts my creativity and inspiration. While standing with the cold water hitting my back, I practice slowing my breathing and calming down. After I’ve chilled out, I feel super happy and inspired. Lots of ideas start flowing and I become way motivated to achieve my goals.
Plus, it’s healthy to do something in the morning that kind of freaks you out! Get’s you feeling alive and sets the tone for living outside your comfort zone!
- 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.
- Review Your Life Vision
Your goals should be written down — short term and long term. Taking just a few minutes to read your life vision puts your day into perspective.
If you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest.
Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it. If you follow a simple pattern, you can accomplish all of your goals, no matter how big they are.
A fundamental aspect of that is writing them down and reviewing them every single day.
- 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 you big goals every day, you’ll realize those goals weren’t really far away.
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.
8 Things Every Person Should Do After 8 P.M.
Morning routines are all the buzz these days. Everyone has one, good or bad. Few people have considered a night routine. If you don’t have a night routine, you are missing out on the most rewarding and meaningful part of your day.
If you’re like most people, your nights are probably spent vegging out on social media, Netflix, drinking, and snacking.
Scientifically, these behaviors are not surprising. According to psychologist Roy Baumeister, we all have a limited amount of willpower we can expend each day — mental energy is depleted by every decision we have to make, whether small or large. Baumeister calls this decision fatigue.
So, by the end of our day, we’ve made countless decisions and exhausted our willpower. Is it any wonder we waste away our most precious time, struggle to be present with our loved ones, and ignore the resolves we made that morning?
This is a huge problem.
Fortunately, routines are the antidote to decision fatigue. When something is routine, it’s requires minimal mental energy. The decision has already been made. Willpower is no longer required. Life is on autopilot. You stop self-sabotaging. Unfortunately, evening routines are much harder to master than morning routines.
In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy argues that a person’s morning and evening routines are the “bookends” of a prosperous life. Without these bookends, your life will always be a disorganized mess. With them, you’ll create tremendous momentum towards the life of your dreams.
If Your Nights Are Bad, The Rest Of Your Life Will Suffer
As I recently wrote, morning routings are critically important. But your morning routine will always suffer if you can’t master your evenings. The hours before bed dramatically affect how well we sleep. And how we sleep makes or breaks our day.
Even more, how we spend the hours before we go to bed reflects the value we place on the most important things in life. Yes, our work matters. But work is a means to a much higher end — the people in our lives.
Our loved ones deserve more from us. Not only do they deserve better, but we deserve better. If we can take control of our nights, we will quickly change the entire course of our lives. We will also experience the rejuvenation and joy that evenings are meant to provide.
Are you ready to change the way you spend your evenings? Are you ready to change your entire life?
- Unplug 1–2 Hours Before Sleep
“In this media-drenched, multitasking, always-on age, many of us have forgotten how to unplug and immerse ourselves completely in the moment. We have forgotten how to slow down. Not surprisingly, this fast-forward culture is taking a toll on everything from our diet and health to our work and the environment.” — Carl Honore
The line between work and home is becoming increasingly hazy. Between phone calls, email, texting, and social media, it can be extremely difficult to unplug. More often than not, we bring our work home with us. Consequently, we rarely give our full attention to those we love.
Not only do we fail to live in the present, but study after study have found thatelectronic devices harm our sleep cycles. Dr. Verma advises turning off electronics at least 1–2 hours before bedtime (even e-ink devices like Kindle or Nook). Two hours is best, even though impractical for many people.
Mariana Figueiro and her team of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have shown that two hours of iPad use at maximum brightness can suppress people’s regular nighttime release of melatonin — a hormone in the circadian system which is the body’s clock.
Melatonin signals to your body that it is night, helping you become sleepy. When that signal is delayed you could delay sleep. Doing this frequently over a long period of time can disrupt the circadian system often inflicting serious health consequences.
- Eat The Right Foods, Sparingly
You’ve been told eating before bed will make you fat. That’s not exactly true. On the contrary, a light snack before bed can help you sleep more soundly without gaining weight — if you eat the right foods. Of course, if you regularly eat the wrong foods (like chips, cookies, or anything sugary) before bed, you will likely gain fat weight.
Stephanie Maxson, senior clinical dietician at the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, explains that if you eat dinner a few hours before bedtime and/or are physically active, snacking before bed will help stabilize your blood sugar levels during the long, meal-less night. Blood sugar and its related hormones can either boost or deflate your appetite and energy levels. Moreover, they can confuse your body’s efforts to store or burn fat. If you have low blood sugar when you wake up in the morning, you will likely feel lethargic. Furthermore, low blood sugar can disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night causing you to be in and out of sleep.
Cassie Bjork, a registered dietician and founder of HealthySimpleLife.com says it’s a myth that the body doesn’t need fuel before sleep. The right bedtime snack provides fuel your body needs to burn calories while you sleep in addition to releasing hunger hormones that cause your body to store fat.
Recommended night time snacks include:
- Complex carbohydrates like whole wheat bread
- Non-starchy vegetables
Maxson explains that these foods break down slowly, which stops blood sugar spikes or crashes that disturb sleep and appetite.
For athletes, lean protein, such as turkey and chicken, facilitate muscle repair during the night while also providing tryptophan, an essential amino acid which promotes healthy sleep.
Additionally, healthy fats before bed can also slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your system. If you commonly wake up tired or hungry, eat some avocado, a spoon full of peanut butter, or some melted butter on your popcorn.
- Account, Report, And Prepare For Tomorrow
At the end of each day, it is good to spend 5–10 minutes reviewing your day, briefly recording what happened, and making proper plans for tomorrow.
Reviewing your day keeps you accountable to yourself. Did you do all you planned to do? If you can’t be accountable to yourself, who can you be accountable to?
Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, writes in his journal daily to record his experiences, insights, and memories. He recommends writing far less than you want to — only a few sentences or paragraphs at most. Like most people who regularly journal, you’ll be tempted to write down every detail. This could take several minutes or even over an hour. If you do this, you’ll burn out quickly and stop after a day or two. It’s much better to jot down the key things every day. Before you know it, you’ll have several journals filled recording each day of your life.
Lastly, you quickly assess your planner and to-do list for tomorrow. This includes visualizing how your day will go. Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps claims that visualization is the key to his athletic success. He often speaks of his intense mental visualizations of a perfect swim the night before a race as being intimately tied to the wins that follow.
- Have Moments With The People You Love
“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe
Happiness comes from embracing the now. Not letting those moments pass you by. Nothing in life is permanent. Kids grow up. Friends move away. Our loved ones pass on from this life. Let’s live in the present and appreciate the most important things in our lives before it’s too late.
For most of us, it is our evenings that we get to spend with the people we love. If we don’t make that a priority, and guard it from other things (including our own exhaustion and distraction), we won’t do it.
It has been said that you can know a person’s priorities by looking at their planner. We plan our meetings, our lunches, and our workouts. Yet, most of us have never taken the time to put our loved ones into our planners.
- Enjoy Your Hobbies
Most of our day is spent working. It can be difficult to spend time doing things that provide joy and variety to our lives. It’s easy to brush these things off in our increasingly busy lives. Often, it is touted and praised to not have hobbies and to work ceaselessly. Yet, balance is key to happiness and success. Being serious all the time can increase stress and ultimately lead to depression.
Making time for playful relaxation can facilitate inspiration, gratitude, and even flow. Consequently, spending 30 or so minutes at night on a hobby can rejuvenate you and add some fun into your life.
- Tidy Up Your House
A common practice among successful business people is tidying up their workspace before they leave the office. That’s because nobody enjoys the feeling of walking into a mess.
Similarly, taking a few minutes to tidy up your house before going to bed allows you to sleep in a clean space and wake up to a clean environment. This will reduce stress and decision fatigue. It also facilities positive energy in the morning, which is essential for maintaining happiness and balance throughout the day.
- Send Love To Yourself And Others
It is a common meditative practice to meditate while lying in bed, just before going to sleep. You take some deep breathes and reflect on the love you have for yourself and other people. Not only do you reflect, but you purposefully send positive energy or vibes to other people. This deepens your connect with them. A similar practice is nightly prayer, where you give thanks for your blessings and pray for the wellbeing of other people.
These practice enhances your gratitude and perspective. They allow you to see life from a higher plane while connecting you with yourself and those you love.
- Go To Bed On Routine
A friend recently told me he wakes up early every day, regardless of when he goes to bed, “because waking up early helps him be more productive.” But he has way too many things going on to get to bed when he should.
“Like what?” I asked.
“Well, we just moved, we have kids, I’ve got work, and we have a dog…” he said before trailing off. People have endless excuses for not going to bed at a decent hour. These excuses reflect a mismanagement of life. Yes, things can be difficult. But the conscious person shapes their life to facilitate their success and wellbeing.
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle — your circadian rhythm — is crucial for achieving healthy sleep.
It is extremely important to go to bed at the same time every night. By keeping a regular sleep schedule, you will feel more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. Altering sleep schedules by an hour or two on the weekends can throw off your circadian rhythm. Consistency is key with sleep. As Dr. Verma has stated, “Many of my patients have such a different weekday/weekend wake schedule that they are experiencing the same sleepiness that people who are jet-lagged. Even two hours difference hurts, especially if they are already sleep deprived.”
There is no set time for when you should go to bed. Everyone is different. However, in order to maximize your morning routine, it is best to sleep before 11 P.M. The earlier the better.
Your evening routine reflects your highest priorities in life. Actions speak louder than words. Either you care about yourself and your loved ones, or you don’t. By carving out time every night to rejuvenate yourself, and spend moments with your loved ones, you’ll find greater balance and happiness in life.
Your morning and evening routines should be firm and consistent. However, your routines will likely change as you go through different seasons of life. Going to college, working full-time, and having kids all require adjustments to your routine. Having a routine becomes increasingly important as your life becomes more hectic and busy.
By Benjamin Hardy
Foster parent of 3 epic kids. Pursuing PHD in Org Psychology. Thanks for reading! Get his free eBook, Slipstream Time Hacking, at benjaminhardy.com