Do you have a morning routine?
Good morning. I hope you’re well and enjoying the journey that you’ve embarked on. A journey that is meant to be interesting and fulfilling, is also one where not everything goes your way immediately. If the Springboks had run through the English without so much as being tackled, then we’d have been happy, but there would not have been any signs of overcoming a struggle, and the prize would not have felt as sweet as did when Kolisi lifted the cup at the end of their campaign. It’s the same with your challenge. I can help you by pointing you in the right direction. I can assist you by offering support when you feel that you’ve fallen off the wagon. — but at the end of the day, this journey is yours and I hope you’re reveling in the daily little hardships that the program presents. You are meant to be tested, or it would not be called a challenge.
Some programs are all about the workouts. Other programs concern themselves with other parts of the puzzle. The internet is full of diets and other nutritional advice. When I looked at what I have done to create a physical and mental environment where I felt inspired and invigorated, I did look at the food part of life. — The point I’m trying to make is that you can’t look at just one component. There are inter-dependencies that just can’t be ignored.
If I was to send you a food table and become the guy who told you what to eat, this would be great and you would walk away with results. — for sure. My aim though is not to be your kitchen gate-keeper. I want you to be blown away with just how effective this challenge is on the whole, so I want to throw as much as possible of the stuff that works at you.
— To place a fasting schedule ontop of your eating schedule (feasting) and you’ve already magnified the efficacy of this program. — This is why the 4 pillars work so well. Small changes along the way, gently spread out over 4 areas of your life, and you arrive at a place where you have transformed your overall landscape completely. The 4 pillars are linked together. To completely lean into one area, would be to ignore other important aspects of a transformation. We can capitalize on the subtle interdependencies of each area, if we acknowledge that they affect each other. — In other words, a fasting plan, placed ontop of an eating plan, ontop of a workout plan, rounded of with a better sleep plan, is going to amplify your results exponentially and the changes which occur are exponential, — Your drop in belt sizes may be traced back in part, because you are sleeping better and producing less cortisol.
TODAY IS YOUR DAY OFF — so chill, there’s no need to sweat. Let’s do some other pull-ups instead.
My commitment to this challenge is slightly different to yours. It involves an early wake-up. Over the past 30 days, I have come to enjoy my morning ritual of waking and writing. I like knowing what I need to do. It removes…decision fatigue…
Imagine you are given a box of smarties at the outset of each day. There’s a finite amount of smarties in the box. As you go about your day, there are decisions which need to be made. Each time you make a decision, you hand over a smartie.
Apparently, (I read this yesterday), your brain burns a number of calories with each decision made… literally. A 10 second deliberation will cost your brain about 14 calories.
As our day progresses, and smarties are handed out, making this that or the other choices, we are either pacing ourselves, so that we have enough decision smarties to make it to the end of the day, or we run out of smarties. If we’ve been too liberal with our smarties, having listened to the pitch of a call centre funeral cover sales person. We’ve spent time handling various unannounced decisions. The end result is that we’’re mentally exhausted, and feel drained.
As you can see, there is method in the madness of less being more. Why so cryptic? If you keep your smarties as much as possible, you will have some left by the time the evening arrives. This comes when you are able to place certain routines on auto-drive. Now I’m a guy whose box of smarties gets dropped on a regular basis. By the time the evening arrives, I have not one attention smartie left to speak of, and I’m bushed.
So, I have created a morning routine that I know sets me up for the day and it saves me from having to place my attention on the brain sapping incidentals of life.
These are the 6 things that I try to cover every morning. I regard scoring 3 out of 6 a win. Sometimes life gets in the way.
I make my bed when I rise.
If your energy is going into a million directions at the same time, but you feel you’re only traveling a millimeter in a day, then this is a great place to start. I learned this tip after listening to Tim Ferriss podcast where he interviews Naval Admiral William McRaven.
“If you make your bed every morning you’ll have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
No matter how shitty your day is, no matter how catastrophic it might become, you can make your bed. And that gives you the feeling, at least gives me the feeling, even in a disastrous day, that I’ve held on by a fingernail off the cliff and I haven’t fallen. There is something I’ve controlled, there is something that has maintained one hand on the driver’s wheel of life. And making your bed, it’s a very small thing. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
All I do is I have say a blanket or a duvet. I don’t tuck in the sheets and whatever. I kinda just hide it, and I think that’s a typical dude move, hide it under the blanket, pull up the blanket so that the pillows are either kind of symmetrically under or on top of the blanket and you’re done. That’s it. It’s very, very simple. And if you work from home, this serves double duty, especially if you work in or near your bedroom. ***If you see a distraction externally, again, speaking personally, you end up creating an internally distracted state. So you make your bed, you have accomplished that one tiny task, you’ve controlled something that you can absolutely control. And then at the end of the day, the last experience you have is coming back to something that you’ve accomplished. It’s hard for me to overstate how important this ritual has become but number one, I make my bed.
How come 80% of the world’s top performers meditate? Arnold Schwarzenegger even did it for a year and then found those benefits to persist past that year. So he felt like he had sort of locked in a phase shift.
I do a Krya from Sad Ghuru. During the 16 minutes, he takes you through 2 mantra’s whilst inhaling and exhaling. — like a mantra.
Repeating a mantra in your head acts effectively as white noise to block out other thoughts. I will just say the practice is bringing your attention back to the mantra. So if you have a session, that is a 16-minute session, I typically meditate for 15 minutes, about a minute to get settled and then 15 minutes of meditation. And if you think about that kid who punched you in 6th grade and the dick you have to have a conference call with at 4:00 pm that day, if you think about those types of things for 13 minutes or 15-and-a-half minutes but you notice it and bring your attention back to the mantra, that is a successful session because the muscle you’re working is bringing your attention back to something. You are developing your powers of concentration and it is definitely like a muscle that needs continual conditioning and reinforcement.
Other good guided meditations you could check out include Tara Brach B-R-A-C-H who’s been on this podcast. Great episode talking about a lot of these issues and topics, and Sam Harris.
So just to re-cap… make your bed, settle into a meditation, and then make yourself a cup of ….
Keto Coffee with Collagen
After the meditation, I boil some water, drop some quality coffee into it, as well as a helping of collagen, MCT oils and a dollop of butter. Blend the lot until it has formed a creamy delicious warm liquid. If you’re on the go, then make some extra and pour it into a thermos, which you can have within easy reach until it’s mealtime. The coffee will prep your brain for action (that’s the oils doing their work), while the coffee will wake you into your day. The collagen, by the way, is for us slightly older peeps who go to the gym and need some help with the joints and with recovery.
Keep a 5-minute Journal
You’ve made your bed, meditated, prepared some coffee, and now you need to take 5 minutes to journal …
If you can do this in an analog format, all the better. Open your book and cover these topics with a good ‘ol ballpoint pen or pencil.
What am I grateful for? — It’s impossible to worry and be grateful at the same time. You need only write a line per gratitude. If you’re grateful for just having the sun on your face in the morning, then that’s cool too. And then you’re also establishing gratitude for what you already have or have done or the people around you. This is very important and it’s easy to become obsessed with pushing the ball forward as a type A personality and you end up a perfectionist who’s always future focused. The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least because I am that person, that allows me to not only get more done during the day but to also feel better throughout the entire day, to be a happier person, to be a more content person, which is not something that comes naturally to me. I think a lot of my drive comes from constant dissatisfaction so this is very helpful medicine.
Next, write down what you want. Repetition is the way to forge the neuro pathways. Keep knowing what you want and you will know if your daily activities support your goals.
Plan your day
Here I want you to brainstorm the various things which you think, require your attention. Once you have a list of a few points, I want you to apply Paretto’s 80/20 principle, which states that 80% of your results, come from 20% of your actions.
Ask yourself this question:” Which single action, if completed today, will make most of the other not-so-important actions, become obscure. If you suffer from a feeling of overwhelm, take a few extra minutes out of your day to prioritize your actions. It will save you from doing the 80 of things that make up for 20% of the results
Take a cold shower
Once you’ve got your ToDo’s sorted out, it’s time to get outa your PJ’s and get the day going. Have your normal shower, but at the end of it, turn off the hot water and take a cold shower. Let the water flow onto the base of your neck.
Cold showers actually offer benefits to the body and could help improve health in a dozen ways, from relaxing the mind to improving the skin and to reducing fats.
Here are 12 reasons to embrace the cold to enjoy the benefits of a cool shower:
1. Promotes fat loss — Yes, simply pouring ice cold water to the body can help cut weight. Cool showers activate brown fat, which generates heat around the body, according to Menprovement.The increased activity of the “good fat” burns calories to keep the body warm. Research showed that cold temperatures can boost brown fat by 15 times higher than the normal amount.
2. Improves immunity — A study in England showed that regular cold showers trigger an increase in the metabolic speed rate and the amount of white blood cells in the body, which then help fight diseases.
3. Gives better circulation- An improved circulation means better overall cardiovascular health. Among the benefits of taking cold showers is a good blood flow. It allows the blood to rush down to organs to stay warm.
4. Drains lymphatic system — Cold showers help boost the activity of the lymphatic system, which works to carry out waste from cells. This then reduces the risk of infections.
5. Promotes emotional resilience — A study showed that cold showers can help develop a nervous system that is resilient to stress. The effort alone serves as a small form of oxidative stress, which the body would adapt overtime and teach the brain to prepare for stress.
6. Lowers stress- As the brain learns how to deal with stressful situations, cold showers could also help cut the levels of uric acid and boost glutathione in the blood, which help reduce stress.
7. Lowers chances of depression- Cold showers have been found to relieve symptoms of depression by stimulating “the blue spot” on the brain that releases noradrenaline, a chemical which plays a role in alleviating depression.
8. Increases testosterone levels — For men, even a small amount of heat can affect the DNA, RNA and protein synthesis in the testes. One study found that 15 minutes of increased heat in rat testes led to a significant decrease in testosterone. Which then suggested that cold temperatures could reverse the effect.
9. Improves fertility- Cold showers have been found to boost sperm count and increase fertility. Researchers said that it could also reverse the effects of hot baths that have been considered to be an effective male contraceptive.
10. Promotes faster muscle recovery — A 2009 study showed that an ice bath after intense training improves circulation and helps remove some lactic acid, which could speed up the body’s recovery.
11. Enhances skin and hair — The benefits of taking a cold shower not only give better health, but also make people look better. Ice cold water can help reduce the risk of losing too many natural oils on the skin and hair, according to dermatologist Jessica Krant.
It also helps make the hair appear shiny and strengthens their grip to the scalp.
12. Ensures better sleep at night
This routine takes between 30min and 60min to complete.
Make your bed, meditate, make your coffee, write your journal, plan your day, and finally remember your cold shower.
Abraham Lincoln lived by the motto that it’s better to sharpen the Axe so that the tree could be felled in half the time. If you get into a habit of sharpening your ax every morning, the rest of your actions will come more easily and you will have more focus to concentrate on what’s important.
Life gets busy and crazy, so aim to score at least 3 out of your 6 morning rituals.
Try it… it has done wonders for me. — and enjoy your rest day out of the gym.