Choosing a positive mental state today is the most important decision of the day and the key to get mentally fit therefore my early morning ritual becomes imperative in achieving that. If I can get mentally fit and ready for the day I believe I can do anything. One of my favourite web authors is Benjamin Hardy and his Mission journal often provides me with the foundation for such a day.
In the first of this two part series inspired by Hardy, I have selected 10 suggestions that I have adopted or should adopt to help me to get mentally fit and develop my mental toughness routines and habits.
1. MAKE ONE AUDACIOUS REQUEST PER WEEK (WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?)
Hardy starts this suggestion with a quote from Ben Arment
“Rainmakers generate revenue by making asks. They ask for donations. They ask for contracts. They ask for deals. They ask for opportunities. They ask to meet with leaders or speak to them over the phone. They ask for publicity. They come up with ideas and ask for a few minutes of your time to pitch it. They ask for help. Don’t let rainmaking deter you from your dream. It’s one of the barriers to entry, and you can overcome it. Once you taste the sweet victory of a positive response, you’ll not only become comfortable with it, you might even enjoy it. But making asks is the only way to bring your dream to life.” — Ben Arment
I got into graduate school way after applications were due because I asked. I’ve gotten free NBA tickets by asking a few players I saw at a hotel. I’ve gotten my work published on high tier outlets because I ask. Very few things in life are just randomly given to you as an adult. In most cases, you need to earn it and/or ask for it. Yet, there are many opportunities currently available to everyone if they would muster the courage and humility to ask.
The entire crowdfunding industry is based on making asks. Start making bold and audacious asks. What’s the worst that could happen? They say “No”? What’s the best that could happen? When you don’t ask, you lose by default. And you’ll never know the opportunities you missed out on. Don’t sell yourself short. Ask that beautiful girl on a date. Ask for that raise or big opportunity at work. Ask people to invest in your idea. Put yourself out there. You’ll be blown away by what happens.
2. HAVE NO MORE THAN 3 ITEMS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST EACH DAY
When you shift your life from day-to-day reactivity to one of creation and purpose, your goals become a lot bigger. Consequently, your priority list becomes smaller. Instead of doing a million things poorly, the goal becomes to do a few things incredibly — or better yet, to do one thing better than anyone else in the world.
“If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.” — Jim Collins
So, instead of trying to do a million small things, what one or two things would make the biggest impact?
Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, explains that there are two economies: The Economy of Hard Work and The Economy of Results.
Some people think hard work is the recipe. Although this is completely true, the effort is often misplaced. Most people focus on the process or work first, and the result second. Conversely, those who determine the outcomes their seeking first can better discern which strategy will be most effective. Sure, that strategy may be out of your comfort zone, but as Tim Grover has said in Relentless, “When you crave the end result, the hard work becomes irrelevant.”
Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, explains what he calls Minimum Effective Dose (MED), which is simply the smallest dose that will yield a desired result and anything past the MED is wasteful. Water boils at 100°C at standard air pressure — it is not “more boiled” if you add more heat.
What is the fastest way to get your desired outcome?
3. STOP OBSESSING ABOUT THE OUTCOME
Research has found that expectations in one’s own ability serves as a better predictor of high performance than expectations about a specific outcome. In his book, The Personal MBA Josh Kaufman explains that when setting goals, your locus of control should target what you can control (i.e., your efforts) instead of results you can’t control (e.g., whether you get the part). Expect optimal performance from yourself and let the chips fall where they may. The organic output will be your highest quality work. Put most simply: Do what is right, let the consequence follow.
4. MEDITATE IN THE MORNING
In a recent interview at the Genius Network mastermind event, Joe Polish asked Tony Robbins what he does to get focused. “Do you meditate? What do you do?” Joe asked. “I don’t know that I meditate. I don’t know that I want to meditate and think about nothing,” Tony responded, “My goal is clarity.” Instead of full-on meditation, Tony has a morning routine that includes several breathing exercises and visualization techniques that get him to a state of clarity and focus. For me, I use prayer and pondering (my version of meditation) as the same vehicle.
Whatever your approach, the goal should be clarity and focus. What do you want to be about today? What few things matter most during the next 24 hours?
I’ve gotten the best results as:
- My morning prayer and meditation are motivational
- My afternoon prayer and meditation are evaluative and strategic
- My evening prayer and meditation are evaluative and reflective
5. DO SOMETHING EVERYDAY THAT TERRIFIES YOU..FOR 20 SECONDS
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss
But you don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. Actually, Darren Hardy has said that you can be a coward 99.9305556% of the time (to be exact). You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time. Twenty seconds of fear is all you need. If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.
Make that call.
Ask that question.
Pitch that idea.
Post that video.
Whatever it is you feel you want to do–do it. The anticipation of the event is far more painful than the event itself. So just do it and end the inner-conflict.
In most cases, your fears are unfounded. As Seth Godin has explained, our comfort zone and our safety zone are not the same thing. It is completely safe to make an uncomfortable phone call. You are not going to die. Don’t equate the two. Recognize that most things outside your comfort zone are completely safe.
6. GIVE AT LEAST ONE GUILT-FREE HOUR TO RELAXATION PER DAY
In our quest for success, many of us have become workaholics. However, relaxation is crucial for success. It is akin to resting between sets at the gym. Without resting, your workout will be far less than it could have been. Foolishly, people approach their lives like a workout without rest breaks. Instead, they take stimulants to keep themselves going longer and longer. But this isn’t sustainable or healthy. It’s also bad for productivity and creativity in the short and long run.
7. NO MORE YES. IT’S EITHER HELL YEAH! OR NO.
Learn to say “No” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on
“No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.” — Derek Sivers
Your 20 seconds of daily courage will most consistently involve saying “no” to stuff that doesn’t really matter. But how could you possibly say “no” to certain opportunities if you don’t know what you want? You can’t. Like most people, you’ll be seduced by the best thing that comes around. Or, you’ll crumble under other people’s agendas.
But if you know what you want, you’ll have the courage and foresight to pass up even brilliant opportunities — because ultimately they are distractors from your vision. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”
8. REPLACE WARM SHOWERS WITH COLD ONES
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.
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.
Here’s a tip if you’re just starting out: start your shower warm, as usual. Let the warm water on your muscles allow you to stretch them out. After you’re stretched and washed, completely turn-off the warm and completely turn-on the cold. It really isn’t too bad at all. It feels incredible. Just do it for 60–90 seconds, then get out. You’ll be very pleased.
9. REMOVE ALL NON-ESSENTIALS FROM YOUR LIFE (START WITH YOUR CLOSET)
“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — Greg McKeown
Most of the possessions you own, you don’t use. Most of the clothes in your closet, you don’t wear. Get rid of them. They are sucking energy from your life. Also, they are dormant value waiting to be exchanged for dollars. Getting rid of underutilized resources is like injecting motivation and clarity into your bloodstream. While all of that untapped energy gets removed, a new wave of positive energy comes into your life. You can use that energy in more useful and productive ways.
10. MAKE YOUR BED FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
According to psychological research people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t. If that’s not enough, here’s more:
- 71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy
- While 62 percent of non-bed-makers are unhappy
- Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested
- Whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.
11. STOP CONSUMING CAFFEINE
Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When we’re off it, we underperform and become incapable. Isn’t this absurd?
In his book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer argues that your energy should come from within — from your why — not from external stimulants. The scientific backing is substantial and unsurprising: intrinsic motivation destroys extrinsic motivation every day of the week. Motivation aside — healthy eating, sleeping, and intensive exercise produce higher quantities and quality of energy than caffeine ever could. A holistic approach to life is essential. Garbage in, garbage out.
Give up the caffeine and see what happens. To avoid withdrawal headaches — which are mostly placebo — replace your caffeine with something else (another placebo). After a few days without caffeine, you’ll develop confidence in your ability to function without it.
12. STOP CONSUMING REFINED SUGAR
If you stop consuming sugar, your brain, will radically change. Actually, study after study is showing that refined sugar is worse for our brains than it is for our waistlines. According to Dr. William Coda Martin, refined sugar is nothing more than poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals.
Refined sugar has now been shown to make us cranky, make us make rash decisions, and make us stupid.
Again, like caffeine, if you stop eating refined sugar, you will experience some negative withdrawals. But, like any good habit, the effects of this will be seen in the long-run. What would your health be like a year from now (or five) if you were completely refined sugar-free?
Said Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,
“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.”
13. FAST FROM ALL FOOD AND CALORIC BEVERAGES 24 HOURS ONCE PER WEEK
One-day (24-hour) food fasts are a popular way to maintain health and vigor. Fasting leverages the self-healing properties of the human body. Radical health improvements occur when the digestive system is given rest and the organs get ample time to repair and heal themselves.
A regular practice of fasting can:
- Improve digestive efficiency
- Increase mental clarity
- Increase physical and mental vigor
- Remove toxins
- Improve vision
- Give a general feeling of well being
Like all the other habits, fasting gets easier with practice. I’ve been fasting for years and it’s one of the best things I have done for my health. Fasting is also one of the most recognized techniques in religious and spiritual practices. I also use fasting to get spiritual clarity and refinement. Honestly, I could go on for hours about this one. Give it a try. You’ll never be the same.
14. FAST FROM THE INTERNET 24 HOURS ONCE PER WEEK
Your body gets an intervention when you fast. Your mind and relationships could use one too. Unplug yourself from the matrix. If you haven’t caught on already, human beings are highly addictive creatures.We love our coffee, sugar, and internet. And these things are all great. But our lives can be far more enhanced by using these tools in wisdom.
The purpose of the internet fast is to reconnect to yourself and your loved ones. So, you probably shouldn’t do it the same day you do your food fast. Because eating is one of the strongest ways to form bonds. You’ll be blown away by how much more connected you feel to your loved ones when you can give them your undivided attention. It may even feel awkward for a while having a real-life conversation without looking at your phone every three minutes.
15. STOP CONSUMING THE NEWS OR READING THE NEWSPAPER
Although the amount of warfare and deaths by human hands are reducing globally, you will not get that message watching televised news or reading the newspaper.
On the contrary, these media outlets have an agenda. Their goal is to appeal to your fears by inflating extreme cases — making them seem normal and commonplace. If they didn’t do so, their viewership would plummet. Which is why Peter Diamandis, one of the world’s experts on entrepreneurship and the future of innovation has said, “I’ve stopped watching TV news. They couldn’t pay me enough money.”
You can get high quality news curated from Google news. When you detox from the toxic filth that is public news, you’ll be startled as your worldview becomes radically more optimistic. There is no objective reality. Instead, we live in perceived realities and are thus responsible for the worldview we adopt.
16. GO TO BED EARLY AND RISE EARLY
According to countless research studies, people who go to bed and rise early are better students. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that early sleep/risers are more proactive and are more likely to anticipate problems and minimize them efficiently, which leads to being more successful in the business.
Other benefits of going to bed and rising early — backed by research — include:
- Being a better planner
- Being holistically healthier as individuals
- Getting better sleep
- More optimistic, satisfied, and conscientious
Waking up early allows you to proactively and consciously design your day. You can start with a morning routine that sets the tone for your whole day. You show self-respect by putting yourself first. In your morning routine, you can pray/meditate, exercise, listen to or read inspiring content, and write in your journal. This routine will give you a much stronger buzz than a cup of coffee.
17. GET 7+ HOURS OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT
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 more than 70 different sleep disorders;furthermore, 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 flip side, 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.
18. CONSUME 30 GRAMS OF PROTEIN WITHIN THE FIRST 30 MINUTES OF WAKING UP
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.
19. CONSUME A TABLESPOON OF COCONUT OIL ONCE PER DAY
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Here are 7 reasons you should eat coconut oil every single day:
- It boosts HDL (good) cholesterol and simultaneously blocks LDL (bad) cholesterol buildup
- It has special fats that help you burn more fat, have more energy, and maintain healthy weight
- It fights aging and keeps you looking and feeling young
- It reduces fever and acts as an anti-inflammatory
- It is antibacterial and thus wards off possible illnesses
- It improves memory and cognitive functioning (even for people with Alzheimer’s)
- It can boost testosterone for men and balance healthy hormones level for both men and women
Coconut oil is a healthy alternative to caffeine. Eating a small amount will give you a shot of energy without the side-effects.
20. DRINK 64–100 OUNCES OF WATER PER DAY
Human beings are mostly water. As we drink healthy amounts of water, we have smaller waistlines, healthier skin, and better functioning brains. Actually, as we drink enough water, it’s safe to say we’re better in every way. It’s a no-brainer. If you’re not drinking the healthy amount of water each day, you should critically assess your priorities in life.
21. CHECK YOUR EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA AT LEAST 60–90 MINUTES AFTER YOU WAKE UP
Most people check their email and social media immediately upon waking up. This puts them in a reactive state for the remainder of the day. Instead of living life on their own terms, they’d rather respond to other people’s agendas.
Hence, the importance of having a solid morning routine. When you wake up and put yourself, not other people first, you position yourself to win before you ever begin playing. As Stephen Covey has taught in his book, Spiritual Roots of Human Relations, “Private victory always precedes public victory.”
Make the first few hours of your morning about you, so that you can be the best you can for other people. My morning routine consists of prayer, journal writing, listening to audiobooks and podcasts while I workout, and taking a cold shower.
After I’ve had an epic morning, and I’m clear on the direction of my day, I can utilize email and social media for my benefit rather than detriment.
For more on the importance of a morning routine and building mental toughness contact us.
Original Post from Mental Toughness Partners