What you do upon waking in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
If you get out of bed late, eat junk food and sit around in your pyjamas all morning it comes as no surprise that you’re probably not getting the results you want out of life because you’re starting every day the wrong way…
Habits Are The Key To Success
Habits can quite literally make or break a man. As cliché as it sounds the person you are when you look in the mirror today is a result of all the actions you’ve taken and the decisions you’ve made. A habit is initially a decision which over time becomes a repetitive action you perform virtually on autopilot – just like brushing your teeth in the morning.
Habits in your life have brought you to where you are today
Are you happy with where your habits have gotten you?
If not It’s time to change my friend
Habits can get you to where you want to be, regardless of where that is
If you look in the mirror atop your three story mansion and see a shredded, muscular physique I can guarantee you that at a stage early on in life you implemented successful habits designed to achieve your goals.
On the other hand if you gaze into the mirror located in the dingy corner of your run down caravan home to uncover an unhealthy, out of shape and poorly dressed physique it’s safe to say you’ve lived like an epicurean, focusing on the ‘moment’ (or what was the moment, which you’re now paying for later in life) rather than becoming an ancient stoic investor and sacrificing today for tomorrow’s betterment.
7 Morning Habits I Employ To Dominate
I’ve been performing the following 7 habits day in day out for well over a year now, give them a try and reap the results.
Wake Up Super Early (5am)
I’d like to introduce you to the club for winners, known as the 5am club.
To join the 5am club your past experience, qualifications, money in the bank and current or past circumstances don’t matter.
There’s no annual fees, monthly meetings, politics or selection criteria.
All you have to do is show up.
The 5am club accepts no excuses, you’re either there or you’re not.
The 5am club is always seeking new members, as the current count may be few, however all members are driven and committed. All members of the 5am club choose to be there, no one has forced them to join – they clearly see their future getting brighter and brighter with each passing day, even though the sun has not yet risen.
Wake up at 5am and work on your craft, every single day.
Read, write, get your workout in. Whatever you have to do to reach your goals… get it done early.
The majority of society are non existent in these early hours of the morning… your time is 100% your time. No phone calls, no requests, no distractive bullshit.
Just you and your will to win.
My physique, this blog, my books… none of these things would be possible if I slept in.
Take A 5 Minute Cold Shower
I attribute cold showers to many of my successes in life. The uncomfortable act of forcing your body to withstand the freezing cold temperature of the water gushing out of your shower as the faucet is turned as far to the ‘cold’ side as possible is not only invigorating, but also provides many health and well-being benefits for men.
Most men are unaware of the benefits of cold showers and miss out on an EASY way to improve their life!
Improved Hair & Skin
Warm showers, although enjoyable and relaxing, offer no tangible benefits to our hair and skin—unlike cold showers. The cold water from your shower will result in the tightening of pores and cuticles, which aids in detoxification (as bad toxins are essentially squeezed of out your skin during this process). During a cold shower our hair cuticles are also closed, resulting in stronger hair.
With an increase in testosterone levels, cold showers can turn you from a weak little boy into a man. In 1993 a study was conducted by the Thrombosis Research Institution of England which identified a correlation between individuals who take cold showers regularly and higher testosterone levels.
Although this rise in testosterone may not equate to instant increases in lean muscle mass, I can certainly attest to cold showers increasing both libido and overall energy levels.
Aids Post Exercise Recovery
Exposure to cold water and ice are known to reduce soreness and increase muscular recovery after strenuous exercise. This is why many elite athletes take ice baths. The logistics and process of setting up an ice bath is a handful—instead opting to take a more convenient cold shower will provide a similar boost in the recovery process after exercise.
Relief of Depression
The Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine performed a study that suggests regular cold showers assist in battling depression. The “blue spot” of the brain is said to be stimulated by cold water therapy. This is due to noradrenaline, a chemical in the brain that has been linked to the mitigation of depression.
Increase in Discipline
There is no greater discipline-builder than the cold shower. Our body can withstand the cold water without a problem, but the mind will quickly want to abort and get you out of there. If you start your day with a 3-5 minute cold shower, I guarantee you that you will not be making excuses or delaying other tasks you have been avoiding undertaking. Instead, you’ll be setting the tone for a successful day.
Insane Levels of Energy & Invigoration
After stepping out of the shower you’ll feel like you’ve just ingested a double-shot espresso. Regardless of how lethargic you’re feeling in the morning, the moment that ice cold water hits your skin your heart and breathing while dramatically increase. As your body attempts to adapt to the situation at hand you’re left feeling completely energized.
Review My To-Do List (That I Made The Night Before)
Years ago I came to the conclusion I was drifting through each day, I knew what I needed to do but I never did it… after reading a handful of self development books, all of which embodied the exact same message (write down your goals and what you need to do each and every day!) each morning I’d make a monumental list of all the things running through my head that I needed to get done.
I was doing it wrong
Your to do list should contain ideally only 3 – 5 items.
Focus on tasks that produce big results.
If it only takes a couple of minutes it should not be on your list, if it’s recreational then get your to do list first… then you can spend the rest of your day however you please.
A large list is a sign of poor organization and often leads to decreased willpower and paralysis by analysis.
Although multitasking has been proven to be inefficient it’s still preached and performed from the college to the board room.
In order to crush your list you need to dedicate focus to each item, one at a time.
Get one job done right at a time.
Don’t try and tick off 2 boxes by half assing a bunch of separate tasks, as chances are you’ll have to redo them correctly later.
Read For 15 Minutes
I like to read both paperback and Kindle books, if I’m travelling I try to avoid carrying any thick paperbacks with me and opt for my Kindle (which is currently loaded with 100~ titles that’ll keep me busy for quite some time!). If I’m not on the move I always prefer to pick up a physical paperback when possible, just personal preference (stop debating which is better and just pick up one or the other and start reading!).
When I Read I Make Sure I….
The first time reading though a new book I’ll either use the highlight function on my Kindle or a pen/highlighter within my paperback book, highlighting and underlining the ‘golden nuggets’ I find throughout the book – these may be quotes, ideas, factual information… anything I find relevant that I can or should be applying to my life.
A properly read book should be highlighted, underlined and have notes sprawled throughout the side margins of the page. While recently reading ‘You, Inc.’ by Gene Simmons on an overseas flight the woman sitting next to me asked why I was ‘ruining such a new book’. The majority of people read a book and keep it as pristine as possible. We’re not the majority of people – we want to read and absorb the information as best as possible. Highlighting, underlining and notetaking throughout the book is the way to go (if you’re doing this to a paperback make sure it’s a book you own, not one borrowed from a friend or library!).
After reading through the book for the first time I’ll go back through and take more detailed notes based on what I’ve highlighted into a A4 paper journal.
Summary and or review
Through a combination of my notes journal, highlighted and underlined sections and points within the book and my thoughts reading through the book I’ll type up an 800~ word summary which either gets filed away or published on IgnoreLimits.com with an accompanying YouTube video review depending on how many gems I pick up on within the book and how relevant it is to this site. From my experience the vast majority of modern self-help books are rehashes of the greats such as Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Frank Bettger etc.
Action taking goes here
It’s time to take action. I implement any actionable points I picked up on throughout the book – BEFORE I think about moving onto another book. This is where the majority of people fail – they jump from one book to the next assuming the ’52 books in 52 weeks’ is the way to go. Reading a variety of books is great however time spent reading is time that isn’t spent DOING. Reading a book a day without implementing the advice or at least taking notes on what you’ve learnt is a waste of time – unless you’re consciously working with the information you’re reading the amount you’ll retain (from my experience) is quite minimal.
Eat That Frog (As Long As It Takes!)
Studies prove that our willpower is at its highest within the first couple of hours of the day.
Getting started with the miniscule tasks may leave you feeling good first thing in the morning however as the day progresses and you begin to slow down you’re only just beginning to approach your hardest and most important tasks… this is a recipe for failure.
Hard tasks require willpower.
Willpower is at it’s strongest early in the morning.
Do your hard tasks first thing in the morning while your willpower is strong.
Perform 10 Minutes Of DIY Trigger Point Therapy
Muscle pain and joint problems can be nipped in the bud with trigger point therapy – this is exactly what I’m going to show you in this guide; how to use a run of the mill tennis ball to release pressure from your trigger points, resulting in immediate relief.
By locating your trigger points (which are essentially knots in your muscle) and applying pressure to these aggravated muscle fibers for 30~ seconds at a time you’ll feel an instant relief, and you can quite often rid yourself completely of pain in one session (I speak from experience!).
The tennis ball assists us with myo-fascial self relief, similar to a foam roller.
Regardless of whether you’re a hardcore gym-goer or a relatively sedentary office worker (I’m at both extremes) you can and will benefit immensely from incorporating a bit of tennis ball self massage in your daily routine.
Over the years I’ve been lifting my left shoulder has caused me repeated issues (due to a rotator cuff impingement) through a combination of shoulder dislocations and tennis ball self massage I’ve been able to fully heal my shoulder without any expensive visits to the physio or the massage parlour – all I literally used was a tennis ball I found laying around in my garage.
Since then I’ve sworn by self trigger point therapy and I’ve found an overall decrease in soreness coupled with an increase in mobility since I regularly begun my mobility and tennis ball self massage routine.
Hit The Gym (45 Minutes)
Getting up early and get your workout done before the majority of the world have even crawled out of their beds to debate what they’re going to do that day is such a rewarding and empowering feeling.
The mental sharpness post-workout blows the effects of a coffee out of the water, you’re ready to kill whatever comes your way for the remainder of the day because you’re not stressed, your energetic and you’re focused.
If I don’t train in the morning I more often than not feel lethargic, unenthusiastic and lack the usual energy I have… this is essentially how the majority of society feels all the time – don’t be like that. We’re different.
I haven’t even mentioned that you’ll have free run of the gym, how many guys do you think are at the gym using the power rack, leg press or cables at 5am? None, now you don’t have to think about how packed the gym is going to be when you roll in late in the afternoon, or how fatigued from work or study you are.
Just about every college football team performs their strength and resistance training early in the morning. Why is this? Well it builds discipline for one, but there are also a lot of scientifically proven advantages to training in the morning such as:
Your Testosterone levels are higher in the morning
Intense training in the morning boosts Testosterone throughout the day
Training in the morning will increase your metabolism
Training in the morning will reduce food cravings
If you haven’t already I highly suggest you give training in the early hours of the morning a try, I can guarantee you’ll feel great for it and your productivity will be at an all-time high, you’ll also build discipline. The first few days you won’t have the best workouts admittedly as your body isn’t used to training at such a time, but after the first few days you’ll be smashing through your PRs.